The first step to ensuring the success of such an operation is the hiring of a site agent. A site agent is a person who has knowledge and information about various environmental safety concerns and legislations and can oversee projects, inform the relevant personal and ensure that all projects meet environmentally safe standards. They are constantly trained on an ongoing basis in the company to ensure they are up to date on their legislative information. Their main goals are now directed towards fully integrating all environmental procedures into their company policies.
In order to do this they have ensured that they will consider the environmental risks when considering any project, safe work method statements in order to ensure that damage to the environment is as less as possible, the close observance of environmental matters and their incorporation into health and safety measures as well as ensuring they are overseen by a site agent. They have also reserved strict guidelines for reviewing the environmental impacts at these sites, including planning in terms of any environmental issues present.
They have also made various rules within their company as a pre-prevention measure. Firstly they have ensured that all materials they use will be done so according to the instructions of the manufacturer. They have also ensured that all of their mechanical equipment is maintained and silenced in order to avoid noise pollution. They have made arrangements to protect the habitats of animals where they are doing construction work even transplanting species if necessary and making sure they are aware of their protected status.
They have also created controls to ensure that pollutants that are used at construction sites such as hydrocarbons, silt, paints, cement based products; chemicals and contamination are kept within procedural limits. They also realized that construction work can of course cause the production of dust. Additionally any materials that can be a cause for human health concerns are taken into account. They are also carrying out guidelines for limiting the amount of noise and vibrations at construction sites (Adroit Construction Services 2005).
There are also new guidelines that are being passed down from the government which are compiled under the Site Waste management plans. This template is geared towards creating environmental standards that go far beyond the regulations that exist in legislation in the realms of housing and civil construction projects. The template is in 14 steps and encompasses instructions that run from pre design to the final review after completion.
It is designed to not only fit into any existing procedures set by the company but it also allow authorized company personal to make decisions to minimize the waste that is produced and also create an environment where they can reuse waste more efficiently and reduce the amount that is going to landfills (Waste and Resources Action Program 2008) (http://www. defra. gov. uk 2008). The Waste and Resources Action Program has estimated that current trends are leading to 13 million tons of fresh material being thrown away every year.
A news story said that the Graham Company was one of the first companies to half the amount of waste that is taken to landfills by 2012. According to statistics nearly I million tones of construction waste end up in landfills in Northern Ireland (Irish Industry News 2009). The Environmental protection laws are taken so seriously by the government that the Environmental Agency and its contractors May Gurney Ltd were also fined a sum of thirty five thousand pounds. They were fined due to the polluting of the river Barle in Devon (Crowhurst, Co, Murphy, & Building.
2006). The agency has also encouraged companies to think outside the box and come up with ideas that will recycle even more waste and avoid its disposal in landfills. They have actually sought to use twice the amount of waste product in the building of projects and motorways are to be recycled as well (Schoon 1994). The British Government has studies which show that continued savings for efficient waste management from companies can actually net them a collective savings of 6. 9 billion pounds a year (Envirowise 2007).
In addition the United Kingdom has actually pledged upwards of ten billion pounds towards improving their waste recovery and treatment infrastructure by 2020 ( AMA Research 2009). They eventually will have to continue to improve if they ever which to reach the sheer efficient disposal methods achieved by the Netherlands or Denmark. The Netherlands currently reuse or recycle 80% of their waste while Denmark is at 90% (Drechsler 2006). It cannot be denied that the Environmental Protection Act has had a huge effect on the outlook and procedures of construction companies today.
With the continued support of the government and coming legislations which will hopefully create better waste disposal methods while catering to the company’s bottom line. It is only a matter of time before we see how this story will continue.
List of References
AMA Research. (2009, January 21). AMA Construction in the Waste Industry report. Available from Building Talk: <http://www. buildingtalk. com/news/ama/ama198. html> [Accessed on May 6, 2009] Adroit Construction Services. (2005, July 5).
Adroit Construction Services PLC Envrionmental Policy. Available from Adroit Construction Services: <http://www. adroitconstruction. co. uk/downloads/POL%2016%20-%20ACS%20Environmental%20Policy%2017%2010%2006. pdf> [Accessed on May 6, 2009] Crowhurst, G. , Co, C. &. , Murphy, J. , & Building., H. (2006, August). UK’s environmental watchdog brought to heel . Available from Clyde and Co. : <http://www. clydeco. com/knowledge/articles/uks-environmental-watchdog-brought-to-heel. cfm> [Accessed on May 6, 2009]