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Case Studies

Environmentality case studies

Rebuild Case Study 


The Rebuild Site, Kingmoor Park, Carlisle




Giving the Rebuild team a lift by donating one of our Forklift trucks.

Jungheinrich truck donation gives The Rebuild Site a lift

They say there’s nothing so powerful as an idea that has found its day. The Rebuild Site is the idea that is making a difference to the community and the environment across Cumbria and the Scottish Borders, and now, with the donation of a refurbished Jungheinrich counterbalance truck, The Rebuild Site’s team can do even more to support the circular construction economy.

Emma Porter was frustrated. “I work in construction,” she explains, “and I saw so much surplus material ending up in skips. The industry’s done a lot to prevent construction materials going to landfill, but they still don’t always get put to their most valuable purpose. “My day job is working with Story Contracting, a family firm in Cumbria, an area that’s been hit by a lot of floods over the past few years. We’re asked to support a lot of local community projects with flood recovery and I was thinking ‘surely somebody can connect the dots here [between surplus materials and need] and do something about this’. For a long time ‘somebody’ meant somebody else. Then I decided I was going to have a go .”

Rebuilding Cumbria

Emma and a core team (“This is a real team effort,” she emphasises, “Rebuild wouldn’t exist without Maisie, Helen and Debbie”) came together to launch the The Rebuild Site community interest company. The initiative encourages the construction industry to make sure reusable materials don’t end up in a skip , so that used, excess and nearly-new materials can either be used in community projects, donated, or sold at reduced prices to local trades and the public.

The Rebuild Site has to date seen over 130 community projects supported across Cumbria andDumfries and Galloway, and supported more than 12,000 people. It has diverted 1500+ tonnes of materials from ‘downcycling’ (ensuring the materials are put to their highest value use) and stopped 1700+ tonnes of CO2e embedded in those materials from being released.

It has also led to series of award wins, from CSEP Innovation Enterprise of the Year 2022 and Best New Business of the Year at the in-Cumbria Awards 2023, to the BBC’s Make a Difference Awards, where The Rebuild Site won Green Category 2023 and Best New Business at the in Cumbria Awards 2023.

Giving The Rebuild Site a lift

Storing, loading and offloading the donated and recovered materials has, however, always been a sticking point for The Rebuild Site.

“Early on we got a little bit of funding to buy a second-hand forklift,” explains Emma. “That was vital because the materials are heavy and our warehouse racking is three bays tall. We couldn‘t reach the third bay without a working forklift, but the old truck never really worked very well. One day I was driving it and thought I could smell burning. When I lifted the seat it was on fire. Not smoke; actual flame.

“It’s been a real problem because we’ve had things on the third level of racking that we can’t recover because the forklift has been down. We’ve lost sales because of it. It’s really been holding us back. There have been times we have been unable to accept materials without a forklift and we’ve frequently had to handball materials on and off the trailer. Three or four months ago it broke again and I just thought ‘I can’t deal with this anymore’.

“I emailed every forklift manufacturer I could find and Jungheinrich replied saying ‘we might be able to help’. When I got a call to say our counterbalance truck was in the workshop and was asked what colour we would like I realised this was actually happening.”

An idea that found its day

The Rebuild Site team took delivery of their refurbished Jungheinrich forklift earlier this month and it already making a big impact. “We’ve got a poster in the office that says ‘there’s nothing as powerful as an idea that’s found its day’. I think that’s why The Rebuild Site works, but for it to work well we need the support of so many people: the construction industry, our brilliant volunteers, our partners – and now Jungheinrich. We really are so grateful for Jungheinrich’s help. It’s going to make such a difference, and not just with the loading and unloading; it will allow us to divert more materials from going to waste and enable us to make much better use of our space.”

John McIntyre, Jungheinrich UK Area Sales Manager, was the person who received Emma’s email.
“The Rebuild Site’s achievements in creating a circular economy for construction in their local area and supporting so many community projects struck an immediate chord with me given our Environmentality mission. When I received Emma’s email, I immediately saw it was something we should be keen to support.”