Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Master of Construction Management
Construction and demolition waste is the third largest waste stream in the world and the largest waste stream in Auckland, says Rohit Gade who is currently completing a PhD in built environment engineering and is looking at ways to minimise this waste.
“To landfill construction and demolition waste at a global level, we require a venue the size of Eden Park per second, and at a local level we require one Eden Park per fortnight.
“My doctoral research aims to minimise construction and demolition waste by introducing a lifecycle approach. I’m developing a waste minimisation framework for designers, engineers, contractors, local council bodies and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. The framework will improve our understanding of construction and demolition waste, and enhance public-private partnership in minimising the waste.”
Rohit’s PhD research has been supervised by Dr Jeff Seadon and Dr Mani Poshdar from AUT’s Built Environment Department. Expecting to finish his studies later this year, Rohit already has a clear idea what his next step will be.
“I’d like to contribute to Aotearoa's sustainable future, and am looking forward to working with Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities after finishing my studies.”
Tackling waste with tech
Rohit’s passion for reducing waste goes much further than just his PhD – together with two fellow students he also developed a new web-based platform that can assess waste generation in real time.
“Our idea, SmartBinS, aims to minimise construction and demolition waste by using a web-based platform to calculate real on-site waste generation rate through the Internet of Things (IoT) technique. The precise waste assessment will help deliver a feasible waste minimisation framework considering the project's lifecycle.”
The trio has already successfully taken this idea to the X Challenge business idea competition, and they have big plans for the future.
“Our team was one of the top eight finalists in the Accelerator stage of the X Challenge competition in 2020. X Challenge offers a great platform to interact with industry professionals and validate the potential of your business. During the X Challenge, we already received some interest from angel investors.
“We’re currently working with the AUT Ventures team to help us take our idea further and are looking for seed funding and refining our business model before we start our business.”
A modern university environment
He would highly recommend doctoral study at AUT, says Rohit who came to AUT as an international student from India.
“I highly recommend studying at AUT to prospective students who want to chase their greatness. The university infrastructure, administration, teaching and extracurricular activities at AUT are all student-friendly and give you experiences of a lifetime.
“There are numerous things that have amazed me at AUT, starting with the lab where I’m located. Traditionally, doctoral students from the same discipline sit together in one lab, however AUT has done a fantastic job of bringing together students from different disciplines. I’ve enjoyed being able to discuss construction-related problems with colleagues who are computer scientists.”
The level of support available to students has been another highlight of Rohit’s time at AUT.
“The quality of support I’ve received from library staff was great, particularly during the lockdown period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m also really grateful to the administrative team and the Graduate Research School for their help during the pandemic. Lastly, I’ve enjoyed attending the online lectures, workshops and community events at AUT. I always strive to be a better version of myself, and AUT has supported my dream through such events.”