5 Reasons Why Aggregates Are So Important in Construction

5 Reasons Why Aggregates Are So Important in Construction

What would a construction project be without aggregate? For one, it would not have a rock-solid foundation. And without a solid foundation, a construction project would not last very long.

Aggregate is one of those sorely underestimated elements of the infrastructure we see around us. Whether it’s a parking lot, a motorway, or the bridge you drive across every day, aggregate is a key element that holds these structures together.

Expand your knowledge of aggregates and their importance in this blog.


What Are Construction Aggregates, Anyway?

Every construction project starts off with a foundation. And for most projects, aggregate is a key material that forms this foundation. Essentially, aggregate is a type of raw material that’s used in the construction of major forms of infrastructure. From the streets we drive on, to pavements, buildings, bridges, and even the tiles we use in our homes.

Today, there are several different variations of aggregate used throughout the construction industry:

  • Crushed rock — generally metamorphic, igneous, or sedimentary rock
  • Gravel — used for constructing roads, manufacturing concrete, and for decorative purposes
  • Sand — found in nature and also used for the construction of roads and concrete manufacturing
  • Recycled concrete — used as a solid base for many construction projects due to its hardy nature

Aggregate plays a fundamental role in boosting most local economies, too. Simply because it is always in high demand due to the large variety and scale of construction projects throughout society.


The Benefits of Construction Aggregate

Aggregate materials come from local quarries, mines, deposits, and underground sediments. When it comes to construction materials, you’ll find that aggregates form the base for asphalt, concrete, and mortar.

Here’s why aggregate is so important in construction:

  1. Aggregate forms 60-75 percent of the volume of concrete. This makes it extra compact and robust. It also increases the resistance and weight-bearing property of concrete.
  2. Using aggregate to form construction materials, like concrete, significantly reduces production costs.
  3. Aggregate helps to reduce the permeability of many construction materials. In other words, these materials are far more water-resistant.
  4. Aggregate is essential in the management of heat absorption across many construction projects. Using the right type of aggregate ensures each structure does not absorb excessive amounts of heat.
  5. Finally, aggregate helps to create a more aesthetically-pleasing construction material. For example, aggregates define the colour and pattern of the tiles you use in your home or the granite countertop you choose.

It’s worth mentioning that aggregates are not only important in construction. In greater society, they assist with drainage, the control of erosion, as well as water filtration. They might not be obvious to the naked eye, but aggregates are literally the building blocks of the world we live in today.


Looking for Aggregates for Your Construction Project?

No matter the type of construction project you’re planning, aggregates should be your first and most important consideration. If you want your structure to withstand the elements, you’ll need a rock-solid foundation.

With AJ Grab Hire we offer a plethora of aggregate types for your needs, including delivery to your worksite! Learn more about what we offer, here.

AJ Grab Hire

Head Office:
Langdale Farm
Cambridge Road


Opening times

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm
Sat 9am – 12pm

T: 01763 233493

Going Green in the Construction Industry

Going Green in the Construction Industry

It’s not easy being green, but as a construction business, it’s becoming ever more vital. 

In October 2021 the UK Government launched a road map to achieving zero avoidable waste in the construction sector by 2050. The heat is on, for every business to take a serious look at how it’s managing waste and adding to the growing problem of carbon emissions in the UK.

As advocates for a circular economy, and an industry that recycles first, we know there is no simple solution, but even the smallest changes can make a big difference when you’re playing your part in reducing environmental impact and becoming more green.

In this feature, we’ve covered the areas that can be changed with ease, so you can then focus on thinking long-term at the bigger solutions we all need to find together. 

Be Fuel Efficient 

The fuel crisis in September 2021 created a major struggle for many construction companies who rely on fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel to keep their vehicles running. 

No vehicles to get to site or bring materials, no way of getting the job done, let alone completed on time. 

As fossil fuels become increasingly unstable and are yet another way of contributing to environmental pollution; it’s no wonder more companies are looking at eco alternatives such as electric vehicles. 

While electric vehicles may feel like a major investment, especially as the UK doesn’t have the developed infrastructure to support electric charging units, it is something to consider, especially with smaller vehicles. 

Aside from eclectic vehicles, it’s also about getting fuel-efficient. Are you making the most of a tank, and are all journeys necessary? 

Planning effectively is part of reducing fuel consumption, and this can play a part in helping decrease your company’s own carbon emissions. 

Recycle Waste 

As a company Registered with the Environment Agency we know that much of the waste created from sites can be recycled. Not every piece of ‘waste’ needs to enter landfill. 

As seasoned waste removers, we know this is easily done when you have a skip as the team just pile any old ‘waste’ into the skip, which immediately gets taken to a landfill site. 

However, this isn’t the case with a grab hire service, as we’re proactive about educating you on what can be recycled and ensuring your team separate waste materials so that everything has the best chance of being recycled. 

Much of the material you have on-site can actually be recycled and even re-used. 

Housing projects are a perfect example, especially on a large commercial scale, as there are often leftover flooring, doors, windows, bathtubs, sinks, cabinets and much more, all of which can be recycled, or used on a future project. 

Even waste can be re-used. For example, rubble can get filtered and made into cement, or even aggregate. Don’t just presume that everything has its own use. The reality is, there are now many innovative ways you can give things a new life, you just have to get savvy with choosing a conscious waste remover. 

At AJ Grab Hire we work with a network of partners who enable us to take your waste to the best place to ensure it doesn’t go into landfills. We try to give everything a second life. 

Re-Use Materials 

Don’t ditch good materials. It’s not only an environmental waste, it’s also a financial waste. 

If you have the ability to store materials that are in good condition, make it a habit of creating a stock room of materials that you can go back to, rather than just putting that one door in the waste pile. 

You could also sell waste products and make a small bit of your cost back. There are now many circular construction sites that try to connect people with odd bits to ensure that nothing is going to waste. From bathtubs to kitchen sinks and doors, these sites enable construction companies to move odd pieces that are no longer in use, and consumers to grab themselves a deal. 

On the other hand, if you want to get creative, your team could donate, or build things from your waste materials and give them to local communities or charities. For example, one local building contractor in Cambridgeshire recently used much of their waste materials to build mud kitchens for local nurseries. 

Switch to Digital

Still, using paperwork? – Stop! 

We know that the construction industry is still stuck in its ways when it comes to paperwork. Most tradespeople love a bit of paper to make things official. But the truth is, our reliance on paper is a major damage to the environment. 

Instead, by switching to digital methods you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. 

Thanks to easy to use devices such as tablets and smartphones, there’s just no need for paper to be present in the office, or on-site. 

While it may take time to do this switch, start with something simple, and work your way through each of your paper processes. 

It’s also important that you get your team on board with this switch, so ensure to take the time to educate them on how to use these new devices, and above all, why you’re switching to digital. 

Many construction companies use the excuse that “it’s the way things are done around here”, which just isn’t good enough. We know that change is hard, especially in an industry that’s steeped in so much tradition. But as soon as you take the step, you’ll be surprised at how it inspires others around you. 

You can do everything digitally now; sign contracts, manage your accounts and send invoices, buy materials, manage health and safety.  

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials 

There has been a sharp rise in environmentally sustainable materials as more companies look to reduce the waste coming out of the construction sector. 

While bricks made from plastic may not feel like something you’re willing to experiment with yet, you can speak to your suppliers about how they acquire materials. By doing your research you may be able to find suppliers who value environmental friendliness and sustainability that won’t cost more than your regular supplier. 

Start doing your research, and make the effort to understand more about the materials you are purchasing. 

Invest In Your Local Environment 

Many traders like to donate to local charities, or play their part in supporting the community, so why not also support the local environment. 

As many environmentalists and conservationists will explain, it’s more important for us to protect and support our local environment than it is to invest in the rainforest or the glaciers in the Antarctica. 

If we all supported the area that was most local to us, we would all be having a greater impact on the environment, and we would see the difference. 

With this in mind, you can start to collaborate with your local council or charities on ways in which you can give back to the local environment. Whether that’s planting more trees or donating bird boxes. 

Consider connecting with locals and getting involved with maintaining and protecting the environment around where your business is based. 

Get Your Team Onboard

Environmental change is all about people power. The collective makes the biggest change. So while you may be passionate about transforming your company and championing a more eco-conscious business, it won’t happen without your people. 

The trouble is, you can’t just inflict this eco way onto them, you really need them to take this environmental change to heart. After all, we make decisions with our hearts, not with our heads.  

Begin trying to show your team the impact of not being environmentally conscious. Take them to local landfill sites, get them to see areas of pollution that have been devastated. 

It may sound dramatic, but until people really see for themselves what is happening even in their local area, they won’t make a change. 

Once everyone is on board with wanting to make a change, begin to initiate new trainings and processes in the company to support this shift. 

Contact our team today to discuss how we can help you make your waste removal greener. 

AJ Grab Hire

Head Office:
Langdale Farm
Cambridge Road


Opening times

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm
Sat 9am – 12pm

T: 01763 233493

Last Minute Christmas Clean Up on Your Site

Last Minute Christmas Clean Up on Your Site

The countdown to the festive season is officially on. As the Christmas deadlines loom closer, and the frost begins to settle, it can mean that you’re in a rush to get the site clean and clear before you clock off. 

With sites around the county prepping for the Christmas and New Year break, you may be wondering how to get your site cleared before everyone arrives back in the new year.

After all, with a clean site, you can get straight back to work when you arrive back on-site without any delays.

To help you feel ready to ring in the new year and prepared to move your project forward, we’ve listed some simple ways to help you manage your Christmas clear up. 

Emergency Grab Hire 

If you’ve still got piles of rubbish to be cleared on-site, from muck to hardcore, at AJ Grab Hire we often have last-minute availability. 

To ensure your site is clean and clear before the Christmas break call our team who can arrange a last-minute collection and ensure your rubbish is taken to a certified recycler or landfill site

Our grab hire lorries take up to 20 minutes to clear 16 tonnes of rubbish, which means your site can be rubbish-free within an hour of our arrival. 

Grab hire is much more efficient than a skip, and with notoriously bad weather during the winter season, it is much safer than a skip. For example, with high winds, an exposed skip may mean rubbish or muck flies out of the skip and back onto the site, or even in a neighbouring land. This is not what you want when you come back in January. A messy site, and complaints from neighbours. 

Call our team to arrange a last-minute grab hire rubbish collection, and take a break knowing that your site is ready for work as soon as you get back. 

Site Safety 

No matter the site you are working on, be it a large commercial site or a domestic site, it’s paramount that you ensure the site is locked and secure before you take your Christmas break. 

Site safety not only ensures that nobody can trespass, but will also ensure that people do not come into harm if they accidentally enter the site. 

Once your site is clean and cleared, it is your priority to ensure all tools and vehicles are locked away and that the site is cordoned off from the general public securely. 

Signs should also be displayed around your site detailing that there is a potential danger to trespassers, especially if there are large holes in the ground, or even scaffolding, or other temporary structures. 

In regards to temporary structures, these should also be checked before you clock off, as bad weather conditions may make these unsafe. Ensure they are securely fixed down so that they do not cause any damage to the site, or come down during bad weather. 

Protect Materials 

Lastly, any materials that you wish on using in the new year should be stored away securely to ensure they do not become damaged by the elements during your break. 

From weather to potential theft, locking your materials away in a locker unit will ensure that you have everything to hand for when you arrive back in the new year.

At AJ Grab Hire we hate to see precious materials go to waste, so make it your priority to protect and store all good materials that can be used. 

Even materials that are in good condition but may no longer be needed for the job can be sold on or recycled, so think wisely about what you have lying around the site, and get savvy about keeping it safe. In the new year, you can either recycle these materials, sell them on, or even store them for another job. 

Contact our team today to arrange your last-minute grab hire waste collection.

AJ Grab Hire

Head Office:
Langdale Farm
Cambridge Road


Opening times

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm
Sat 9am – 12pm

T: 01763 233493

The Cost Impact of Poor Waste Removal

The Cost Impact of Poor Waste Removal

You may think that proper waste removal is a ‘nice to have’, but the truth is, no matter the size of your project, considerate waste removal is a must-have.

Whether you’re an independent contractor managing a home renovation, or a large commercial construction company working on a multi-site project, we’ve supported a variety of customers to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to waste management. 

While it can be tempting to cut costs and not follow the guidelines when you feel up against tight deadlines, we hope this feature will make you think twice about taking a shortcut, and instead invest in a waste removal partner who can keep you and your waste on the right side of the law. 


Unfortunately, rogue traders are a common occurrence in the waste removal sector and it’s an increasing problem here in the UK. 

Rogue traders are not certified waste removers, and often illegally dump your rubbish and waste in the local area causing great harm to the natural wildlife. 

Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence in the UK, for which you can be prosecuted. 

Many believe that it’s only the rogue trader who receives the fine or prison time, but householders and contractors who employ these rogue traders can also be fined. 

At present householders can be fined up to £400 if they pass their waste onto an unlicensed waster carrier, however, the government is reviewing this to continue to deter people from using rogue traders. 

The rogue trader if caught can receive up to a £50,000 fine and up to five years in prison. 

Pest Control 

Leaving waste around your home renovation or project without proper management can cause a serious pest problem. Especially if you have household rubbish around which makes an ideal home for rats and other vermin. 

On average in the UK the cost of pest control can go up to £250, but this all depends on how bad the infestation has become, and how much time and bait needs to be used. The cost can go much higher if you have a severe problem. 

Dealing with pests around your waste is not just an expensive problem to deal with, it can also take time to remove them, and impact your neighbours. 

 While there is a financial cost, there is also a cost to the project and to your environment. 

Environmental Fines 

The Environment Agency has the power to bring a company to court for breaching environmental legislation. 

While fly-tipping is the most common offence, there are many other crimes that the Environment agency can pursue, such as polluting local waters or land and moving large amounts of waste to other countries. 

In 2015, one company was fined £25,450 for illegally exporting 187 tonnes of waste to six African countries. 

 If large fines don’t scare you, the Environment agency can, in some rare cases, order the closure or suspension of a business until an environmental breach has been rectified. 

Contractor Delays 

If waste builds up over a long period of time, or just isn’t removed quickly enough it can cause serious delays to projects. 

For example, if you have multiple contractors all working on one site, waste can sometimes delay others from starting their phase, which then results in a delay for all the other contractors and the project overall. 

In one survey on project management by the Institute of Purchasing and Supply, delays can cost companies up to 20% more than the estimated cost on the project. 

To mitigate these substantial costs to any project, waste management is an essential part of any project plan and execution. 

Reputational Damage 

While the fines and prison time may put the fear into you about proper waste management, nothing really costs more than when your reputation as a business is ruined. 

Even one small mishap or accident can leave your business open to public shaming. 

Local newspapers are quick to report on construction firms not following the rules, and now with social media, people can quickly take to their profiles to share their stories and instantly ruin a company’s reputation with just one bad review. 

Many businesses struggle to come back from bad PR or negative reviews, so being considerate about your waste removal really is a better safe than sorry situation. 

To get support or help with your waste removal from a certified Environment Agency waste carrier, contact our team at AJ Grab Hire today. 

AJ Grab Hire

Head Office:
Langdale Farm
Cambridge Road


Top Locations

Saffron Walden


Opening times

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm
Sat 9am – 12pm

T: 01763 233493
M: 07931 142198

Waste Removal Tips for Your Home Renovation

Waste Removal Tips for Your Home Renovation

Whether you’re completing a grand design style renovation on your home, or just completely transforming one space, the thing you can be certain of, is waste.

Waste will always begin to pile up and slow your project down if you don’t think about efficient and safe waste removal. 

At AJ Grab Hire we’ve supported customers with both large and small home renovations, and are well aware of the importance of keeping the site clean and clear so work can continue without delay. As well as green waste clearance we have our full muck away service.

To help you keep your project on time, and to save you the headache of worrying about where your waste is going; we’ve listed the best ways to keep your waste moving during your home renovation.

Donate Old Furniture 

As you begin your project there may be pieces of old furniture that will no longer be needed in your new space. 

To help reduce the clutter before your work begins, it’s wise to remove these items from your home so that you have more space for the work to begin, and you’re not panicking about where to store them. 

Donate or sell old pieces of furniture before any work begins, and truly think about decluttering your home so that you’re ready for the dust and mess that will inevitably come with it. 

Donating and selling furniture that’s in good condition helps to give it a second life rather than going into landfill. 

Create a System 

It’s a good idea to think about the system you will use to remove waste from your site as work begins. 

Ideally, you should discuss this with your builder or contractor about entry and exit points for waste removal. This ensures that you have a clear system in place, and that waste is kept to an area so that it doesn’t begin to filter into other spaces of your home. 

If waste needs to be piled high, also consider how easily it can be accessed or moved. 

You will also need to think about how the waste materials will be separated. Again, your builder should advise you on this, but having a clear system increases the amount of waste that can be recycled, and reduces the waste going to landfill. In some cases, your contractor may also be able to even use old materials in the new build. 

Call Your Local Council

For some items that cannot be moved easily, such as garden furniture or dangerous items such as gas canisters, you can contact your local council who will be able to guide you as to which service you need. 

As we’ve mentioned previously on our blog about toxic items, there are some things you may find during your home renovation that needs to be handled with extreme caution. For example, if you find asbestos. 

For any of these items, you feel unsure about, you should contact your local council. 

Hire a Grab Lorry 

While you may be thinking about hiring a skip for your home renovation, they can be less efficient than a grab lorry. 

A skip can take days to empty, slowing the process down as you wait for one skips to be emptied and another skip to arrive. 

Skips also have a limited capacity, so once they’re full, they’re full. 

However, at AJ Grab hire, we have smaller 4-wheel grab lorries which can easily manoeuvre on smaller sites, such as home renovations and collect up to 16 tonnes of waste within just 20 minutes. You can find this by viewing the vehicles in our grab lorry fleet.

You don’t have to have a skip blocking your driveway, and our grab lorries can reach over fences or walls. 

With any home renovation, it’s important to keep your waste management under control and that you use accredited waste removers. 

There are huge fines linked to rogue traders, which means you could be at risk of a fine should you use an unregulated waste remover. 

A certified waste remover will also be able to give you guidance on your waste removal process. 

If you’d like to book a grab lorry for your home renovation talk to our team today. 

AJ Grab Hire

Head Office:
Langdale Farm
Cambridge Road


Opening times

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm
Sat 9am – 12pm

T: 01763 233493


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