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Unit 7 Managing Sustainability in Construction


Section 1. Introduction to Sustainability

Section 2. Sustainable Legislation

Section 3. Waste Management



Information and Guidance is available on how you should study

Study Guide


Assignment for Unit 7

Before Submitting your assignment you MUST read and conform to

Instructions for

Submitting Assignments


Additional Learning Resourses



Additional Information

You should relate your responses to any of the tasks set in this unit to the documents listed below; these will provide information about the type and size of the project.  

Section 1

Additional Information


Section 2

Useful websites 


Section 3

Unit aim: This unit is designed to meet the needs of construction managers, to provide them with knowledge of how to manage sustainable construction.

This unit has an Introduction and is divided into 3 study sections
7.1 Introduction to Sustainability 
7.1.1 Introduction
7.1.2 Impact of Sustainability
7.1.3 Ways to Facilitate Sustainability
7.1.4 Selecting and Using Sustainable Materials
7.2 Sustainable Legislation 
7.2.1 Development of Policy
7.2.2 Legislation Relating to Sustainability
7.2.3 Sustainable Development Strategies
7.2.4 Implementing Standards 
7.3 Waste Management
7.3.1 Waste Management Plan
7.3.2 Evaluating a waste Management Plan 


Unit Recommended Reading

Ma, Uly (2011) No Waste: Managing Sustainability in Construction
Gower; Farnham 

Books can be ordered from most bookshops or online from Amazon.

Before starting you should read the ‘Study Guide’ accessible from the link on the left.


To understand sustainability, you should start by considering a simple system or process and describing the qualities by which it could be defined as sustainable. This may suggest that a sustainable system or process is one that:
  • is based on resources that will not be exhausted over time
  • does not generate unacceptable pollution
This suggestion however concentrates on qualities that emphasise environmental sustainability but over the last decades’ sustainability has more generally been applied to ‘maintaining life on Planet Earth’. But then Planet Earth itself sustains innumerable eco-systems on which life depends. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest global environmental organisation, offered the following definition, “Sustainability is about improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems”.
It has to be recognised however that human life is constantly evolving. It is on a path of continuous growth and development and this brings with it social and economic challenges. Accordingly, later definitions concentrate on sustainable development and the universally accepted definition was offered in 1987 by the Brundtland Committee to the United Nations, “Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.


Please Note

All information contained in this Study Unit was considered correct at the time of writing but Students must not rely on information contained in the Study Unit and/or references for any purposes other than use within this CIOB qualification aim as legislation and working practices are constantly being revised and updated. Students are advised therefore to continually up-date themselves as to current legislation and construction practice and must not to rely on information contained within the Study Unit and/or references for practical applications in the workplace. Where legislation or construction practice has been superseded to that contained in the Study Unit Students should note this within their responses to the tasks.

Section 1. Information

Learning outcome: Learning outcome:  On completion the learner will know the factors relating to Sustainability.

7.1.1 Introduction
7.1.2 Impact of Sustainability
7.1.3 Ways to Facilitate Sustainability
7.1.4 Selecting and Using Sustainable Materials

7.1.1. Introduction

The Earth’s eco-systems are being stressed by the effects of human inhabitation. The exploitation of fossil fuels was inextricably linked with the development of the industrial world, particularly in the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, but the stark reality is that these resources are finite and they pollute.

The depletion of the ozone layer, with global warming and climate change its consequence, has been the principal focus of inter-governmental strategies. They have given commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help developing countries make similar commitments but without damaging their economic development and future living standards. See web reference ‘Climate Change’.

It is clear that action is required across a broad front. The continued rise in global population and the unsustainable consumption of the Earth’s resources present serious challenges. These include:
  • Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases whilst preserving the Earth’s forests that absorb much of them.
  • Improving the efficiency in use of energy and natural resources whilst developing renewable sources of energy and renewable resources.
  • Maintaining bio-diversity, which considers all living things and their habitats,
  • whilst reducing pollution to land and water.
Sustainability Issues on Site

Sustainable means “maintaining something’s viability by using techniques that allow continual reuse”. So if we are looking at the methods of work that will ensure sustainable quality on site we need to look at the following:
  • not damaging the environment with the work
  • not depleting natural resources
  • supporting long-term ecological balance

The way that this is done is through the following:
  • minimise waste
  • re-cycle materials
  • minimise energy in construction & use
  • conserve water resources
  • avoid pollution
  • preserve & enhance biodiversity
  • respect people & local environment
  • monitor & report, (i.e. use benchmarks)

In order for these factors to be effective all personnel need to be aware of the effect that each of the points listed above will affect the project. This will involve the training of personnel in the methods of work to be used so that the environment is considered.

It is important that systems are in place to ensure that work carried out is consistent with the factors to reduce the negative effects and promote the positive ones. In many companies the requirements will be specified in the Environmental Policy which the site manager must be familiar with and incorporate into the methods of work for each project. In order to ensure that personnel conform to the requirements specific individuals will need to be made responsible for adhering and confirming that the work is carried out in a manner that is sympathetic to the requirements. Although as a site manager you would be responsible to ensure that all aspects relating to sustainability during the construction phase are considered, actioned, monitored and enforced and that any appropriate records are maintained.

The failure to consider these can have an adverse affect on the quality of the work produced, the perception of the company by the public and, if a breach of any legislation results, in the imposing of a fine. Consequently the site manager will need to ensure that any breaches are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

7.1.2. Impact of Sustainability

Sustainability and sustainable development have been described as achieving a better standard of living while:
  • Using the resources of Planet Earth efficiently
  • Realising continued social progress
  • Enabling continuous economic growth and removing poverty
  • Protecting the environment

It is clear from this description that if the inhabitants of the Planet wish to benefit from its aspirations then all must take actions towards the sustainability goals it outlines. These actions and benefits are considered in terms of the users of the energy and resources and the providers of the energy and resources.

Sustainable Housing and Products

The Government strategy for Sustainable Construction 2002 sets out 10 requirements for developments procured through central and local government offices. These were adopted into the OGC Achieving Excellence in Construction: Procurement Guide on Sustainability. In relation to energy, water and waste it requires developers to:
  • Actively contribute to targets on reducing CO2 emissions
  • Define targets for energy and water consumption during construction and use.
  • Assess any impact on local water, gas and their distribution networks
  • Assess the impact on local sewerage systems and the risks to water pollution
  • Locate developments in zones with little or no risk of flooding
These requirements bring obvious benefits to the consumer and in addition a great deal of research and innovation is taking place. Modern methods of construction and energy efficient building products are reducing emissions and the carbon footprint during construction and during the building’s life-cycle usage.

Government strategies on energy efficiency and climate change have encouraged changes in housing and construction in general. For example, Part L of the Building Regulations that outlines requirements on energy consumption has been extended by the Code on Sustainable Homes. It introduced a sustainability rating system for homes built after 1 May 2008 and includes minimum standards on energy and water efficiency that correspond to the 9 categories of sustainable design.

7.1.3. Ways to Facilitate Sustainability

All providers of energy, heat and water are seeking alternative and sustainable sources and taking measures to conserve supply quality and capacity. Consumers are also acting to reduce consumption not only by improving efficiency of use and reducing waste but also through changes in lifestyle. Developing technologies are providing the alternative sources of energy and their contributions will increase in significance at all levels including industrial, commercial, SME, community and household.

Energy and Heat Supplies

The Government is encouraging the development of a nationwide network of public fuelling stations for alternative fuels. Grants of up to 30% of the cost of equipment, construction and land purchase may be available through the Energy Saving Trust.

Some commercial organisations have developed micro-generation plants using technologies including:
  • Biomass
  • Biofuels
  • Fuel cells
  • Photovoltaics
  • Water (wave and tidal)
  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Geothermal
  • Combined heat and power
  • Any other agreed source that cuts emissions of greenhouse gases
Under the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme they may write off the whole of the capital cost of their investment against their taxable profits in the same period. SMEs may also benefit from interest-free Energy Efficiency loans of up to £100 000 for the replacement or upgrading of energy related equipment. Applications are administered by the Carbon Trust.

Legislation has also been put in place for Parish Councils and Community Groups to promote micro-generation projects. E.ON, the power and gas company, is offering grants of up to £30 000 to UK communities with projects that reduce carbon emissions.

The Government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme (closed to new applicants in Autumn 2010) provided grants towards the installation of micro-generation equipment as long as energy was not being wasted elsewhere by the user(s).

Energy Efficiency

The Government is encouraging home owners to introduce sustainability measures by providing grants and supporting the dissemination of information.

Grant aid for Home Renewable Projects is available to most households and allows such measures as improvements to roof and wall insulation. It also offers further assistance and support for households on income related benefits. A Guide to Home Energy Saving has been produced by the Renewable Energy Centre as an introduction to the subject and the Energy Saving Trust manages 52 Energy Efficiency Advice Centres across the UK; see website references.


Improving water efficiency, reducing water consumption and the volumes of water going to waste and encouraging water recycling are key themes for Defra and the Environment Agency. They are promoting the dissemination of information and customer guidance to encourage sustainable actions at all stages in the water cycle.

Water Efficiency

Waterwise, a UK NGO which is the leading authority on water efficiency in the UK, provides information and guidance for all consumers. Two of its reports entitled ’Water Efficiency in New developments’ and ‘Evidence Base for Large-scale Water Efficiency in Homes’ give clear guidance on water savings from water efficiency measures. Many of these measures are an integral part of the requirements in sustainable housing. These can be found at the web site Waterwise shown below.

The EA are encouraging manufacturers of fittings, fixtures and appliances to provide water efficiency information on their products. In response, the Bathroom Manufacturer’s Association (BMA) have introduced a voluntary Water Efficiency Product Labelling Scheme to allow comparisons of products that meet the industry standards on water efficiency. It also provides information that enables consumers to reconsider how, when and to what extent they should use water.

Water Consumption and Waste Water

The Department of Communities and Local Government have developed the ‘Water Efficiency Calculator for New Buildings’ that is required under Part G of the Building Regulations and the Code for Sustainable Homes. In addition to the calculation of wholesome water consumption it also enables assessments to be made of the value of Rainwater Harvesting and the collection and recycling of Greywater. See website references.

Waste Treatment

Alternative systems are also available for the latter part of the water cycle. Composting toilets can be installed on a domestic scale to produce waste that can be used as a fertiliser in the garden. On the other hand, Reed Bed sewage treatment systems offer secondary treatment of sewage that can provide very low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing wildlife habitats. See the website reference for Renewable Energy Centre

Renewable Energy Centre

Is an industry-sponsored website that provides information, guidance and indicative costs on alternative and renewable sources of energy at both industrial and domestic level. It includes methods of reducing energy use and of improving water efficiency and alternative sources of providing water and space heating. In addition information is offered on grants and funding along with useful websites for further advice on renewable energy and energy saving.

In addition to the detailed advice they offer on the practical application of micro-generation technologies, information is also offered on improving the household. Measures such as cavity wall, loft and under floor insulation are outlined along with links for further information and commitment. Other actions are similarly outlined as are options for glazing, under-floor heating and the concept of environmental design.

A further section is included for waste water recycling, sewage treatment and rainwater harvesting. See website reference for the Renewable Energy Centre.

Sustainable Building

All construction projects should be planned and delivered in a way that best promotes sustainable development. The Government responded in 2000 when it established its Strategy for Sustainable Construction that encouraged the construction industry to:
  • Re-use existing built assets
  • Design for minimum waste
  • Aim for lean construction
  • Minimise energy in construction
  • Minimise energy in use
  • Prevent pollution
  • Preserve and enhance biodiversity
  • Conserve water resources
  • Respect people and the local environment
  • Set targets to monitor and benchmark performance

It also recognised that all decisions within this strategy involve balancing the conflicting needs of the Social, Economic and Environmental aspects of sustainable development.

Under the Office of Government Commerce initiative ‘Achieving Excellence in Construction’ two high level guides, three core guides and eight supporting guides were offered for use with central and local government construction projects. One of these guides, the Procurement Guide for Sustainability adopted the aims of the 2000 strategy and helps clients to follow an appropriate process towards a sustainable construction. It governs the process of procuring and constructing all significant government (central and local) buildings.

The Code for Sustainable Homes has been introduced by the Department of Communities and Local Government to reduce carbon emissions and create sustainable homes. Its Technical Guide 2010 sets out the process by which the standards of the Code Assessment can be reached. Its guidance is in 9 sections including Energy/CO2, Water, Surface Water Runoff, Waste and Pollution.


New technologies and innovative products significantly help the construction industry and the UK in their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the construction industry is very much project led, each one unique and generally involve temporary teams. This allows little time for, or investment in research and development.

In 2008, the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (now the Department of Business Innovation and Skills) backed 5 pilot projects so that UK business could benefit from the specialist expertise of FE Colleges. Within each pilot, projects were identified for research into innovative components and practices and expert advice offered on their use in improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. In one such pilot, six East Midlands colleges combined to produce ’Innovation in Sustainable Construction’ which gives expert advice on a variety of products and processes.

The ‘Sustainable Construction Innovation Network (iNet)’, part funded by the European Union and the East Midlands Development Agency, is raising the level of innovation in small to medium-sized construction businesses. Its advisers offer assistance in researching, developing and implementing new sustainable services, products and processes. It encourages skills development, networking and can provide access to appropriate grants.


Task 7.1.1 Minimising Environmental Impact
Discuss how buildings may be constructed to minimise the environmental impact during construction and life of the building. Including the potential challenges faced by the incorporation of Low Carbon technology into existing buildings.

7.1.4 Selecting and Using Sustainable Materials
It is important to remember that the use of sustainable materials should not compromise quality or contribute to indirect energy consumption or emissions during the manufacturing process. Material specifications must play an important part in the selection of materials which are fit for purpose and result in the use of materials which do not contribute to maintenance requirements during the life of the building.
Care must be taken by all those with responsibility for specifying materials that the entire process of manufacturing. It should be borne in mind that transportation, storage and the incorporation into the structure and lifetime maintenance are incorporated into the evaluation of the materials used.
Consideration must be given to the fact that materials may be environmentally friendly and green but fail to recognise that durability is reduced by using these materials or that the manufacturing process uses vast amounts of energy and produces emissions which are unacceptable.
Materials which need replacement during the lifetime of the building may be environmentally favourable initially but overall the life of the building may be more expensive and produce a negative environment impact. Such is the dilemma faced by those who specify, most construction projects are on a tight budget and it is important to ensure that sustainable construction is suited to the specific site and form of construction.  It may well be that initial investment in materials which are durable and increase the thermal integrity of the construction will over the lifetime of the structure prove to be a sound investment; however convincing Clients of this may prove a challenge, many see a building as a purely commercial decision and do not consider the lifetime of the of the structure or its energy consumption and apply minimum standards to meet and satisfy Regulations and Codes of Practice rather than producing a structure to exceed these standards.
Materials and the overall construction should be considered holistically and every aspect of the material sourcing, manufacturing process, transportation and incorporation into the structure needs consideration as does durability and final recovery and recycling of materials on completion of the lifespan of the building.
Most would agree that sustainable construction is desirable; finding the facts about the material is far more difficult most manufactures will make statements about the materials they produce but it is in reality the responsibility of the Specifier to determine the whole lifecycle of materials used in construction and taking each in turn establish and analyse the environmental impact from source to reclaim or recycle; a daunting task for Specifiers.
The Site Manager usually has little or no involvement in the selection of materials for a construction project however it is important to understand the need to ensure that materials are incorporated into the structure as specified and detailed and to ensure that waste is minimised, recycling should be promoted on site whenever possible.



Task 7.1.2 Selection of Materials

Discuss how the selection and use of materials can contribute to sustainable construction in a project - Describe the form of construction to which your response refers.

Section 2. Sustainable Legislation

Learning outcome: On completion the learner will be able to explain the Policy and Strategy relating to sustainable development.


7.2.1 Development of Policy
7.2.2 Legislation Relating to Sustainability
7.2.3 Sustainable Development Strategies
7.2.4 Implementing Standards 

7.2.1 Development of Policy

Over the last 25 years the world has become more aware of the environmental problems its development is causing and resolved to rectify the areas that are likely to contribute to these problems. The main concerns related to:
  • Air pollution from energy production,
  • Transportation
  • Consumption of natural resources
  • Production of waste
  • Reduction of air quality
  • Acid rain
  • Global warming
  • Ozone depletion

Governments recognised that the level of environmental degradation and current practices of economic development could not be sustained without significant impacts upon future generations.

This was highlighted in 1987 by the Brundtland Report, (also known as Our Common Future) which alerted the world to the urgency of making progress toward economic development that could be sustained without depleting natural resources or harming the environment. It recognised that economic development taking place could no longer compromise the development needs of future generations. This concept of sustainable development aimed to encourage people to consider the harm economic development was having on both the environment and on society.

Building upon this, the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 represented a major step forward towards the goal of achieving sustainability, with international agreements made on climate change, forests and biodiversity. Out of this Summit was formed Agenda 21, which was a blueprint for sustainability in the 21st century. It championed the concept of sustainable development and provides a framework for tackling social and environmental problems, including air pollution, deforestation, biodiversity loss, health, overpopulation, poverty, energy consumption, waste production and transport issues. Agenda 21 required each country to draw up a national strategy of sustainable development.

7.2.2 Legislation Relating to Sustainability

The legislative framework regarding sustainability in the UK has emanated from the Government’s legally binding commitment to three tiers of sustainability policies. In other words, those commitments have been given at global, European and domestic levels.

Inter-governmental (global) Legislative Framework

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992. It was forged after taking key scientific input from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was created by the United Nations in 1988. The Kyoto Protocol committed developed countries, including the European Union, to targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012. It also committed them to helping the developing nations through the provision of funds.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and became legally binding in 2005; essentially ratified by nations responsible for 55% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

European Policy and Strategy

EU Emissions Trading Scheme created a mandatory cap on CO2 emissions by energy intensive operations. It requires large CO2 emitters to monitor and report on emissions and to return to the Government an amount of emission allowances equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced. Its requirements have been applied over two trading periods, Jan 2005 – Dec 2007 and Jan 2008 – Dec 2012. The third is planned for 2013 – 2020 and is likely to be extended to include other greenhouse gases.

Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme created a mandatory CO2 emissions cap and a carbon trading scheme on non-energy intensive organisations; generally defined as organisations with electricity bills in excess of £500 000. It required organisations to register by 2008 and to commence trading from January 2010.

Climate Change Levy (2001) introduced a tax on industrial and commercial (non-domestic, non-charity) energy bills and is intended to encourage the pursuit of renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. It was introduced under the Finance Act 2000 and effectively replaced the Fossil Fuel Levy.

Climate Change Agreements enable significant discounts on the Climate Change Levy for energy intensive sectors that meet targets for energy efficiency or reducing carbon emissions. The agreements cover ten main energy-intensive sectors, as defined by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000, and over 30 smaller sectors.

UK Domestic Policy

To give effect to EU directives the following legislation was introduced in the UK:

Renewables Obligation came into effect in April 2002 under the Utilities Act 2000. It placed an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion (updated annually by Statutory Order) of electricity from renewable sources; currently 15.4% by 2015/16

Sustainable Energy Act 2003 requires energy conservation authorities (local authorities with housing responsibility) to take measures for energy efficiency in residential accommodation and for reducing fuel poverty. It also requires Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets) to continuously consider the reliability of energy supplies in relation to any significant new policies. Under the Act, targets were set for the amount of central government electricity that must be sourced from combined heat and power generation plants.

Water Act 2003 reviewed licensing for water abstraction (including water for irrigation) and required water companies and public bodies to take measures to conserve water. Water companies were also required to submit Water Resources Management plans and Drought plans that outline how supply and demand will be managed over the next 25 years.

Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 encourages heat and electricity micro-generation installations (with corresponding Building Regulations amendment) and imposes carbon emissions reduction targets on gas and electricity suppliers. It encourages parish councils and community groups to promote micro-generation, bio-mass production, bio-fuels and energy efficiency measures. It also requires the Secretary of State (DEFRA) to formally report on greenhouse gas emissions and measures to cut them.

Energy Act 2008 enables private sector investment in off-shore gas supplies, carbon capture and storage projects and extends requirements on energy from renewable sources through to 2037. It also requires gas and electricity distribution and supply license holders (utilities) to install smart meters to different customer segments, including private households.

Climate Change Act 2008 established the world’s first legally binding long-term framework to cut carbon dioxide emissions from a 1990 baseline (26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050). It includes provisions for measures on bio-fuels, incentive schemes for household waste and charges for single-use carrier bags. It included powers for extending the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme that requires gas and electricity suppliers to reduce combined energy savings by assisting domestic consumers to take energy efficiency measures.

Planning Act 2008 established an Infrastructure Planning Commission to take over the planning review responsibilities of nationally significant energy and fuel developments including gas, oil, nuclear, water supply, waste treatment, fossil fuels, renewable energy and electricity networks.

Planning and Energy Act 2008 placed in law the principles of the Merton Rule by enabling local planning authorities to set local energy requirements for new housing and commercial developments. Under this act Local Plans can specify the proportion of energy for any new industrial, commercial or housing development to come from ‘on-site’ renewable sources. It can also specify requirements for on-site low carbon electricity and stipulate energy efficiency levels that exceed the standards in the Building Regulations.

Energy Act 2010 enables the construction of pilot carbon capture and storage projects in relation to the decarbonisation of electricity generation in the UK. It includes further measures for tackling fuel poverty by lowering the energy bills of the most vulnerable consumers. The energy companies will be required to make funds available for these measures by 2013-14.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order (2010) tackles CO2emissions not covered by the Carbon Commitments Agreement or EU Emissions Trading Scheme. It is enacted under powers in the Climate Change Act 2008 and is a mandatory greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme for large private and public sector organisations that are consumers of large amounts of electricity (greater than 6000MWh per year). It also includes other public sector organisations that are mandated to participate. It imposes a cap to limit the total number of carbon emissions by participants and will publish a league table on their energy-efficiency performances. It will be operated in 7 phases; seventh starting 2036.

Professional Institutes / Institutions
All of the major institutes or institutions connected to Construction and the Built Environment have policies or guidance relating to Sustainability. This can be obtained from the links under Additional Information below.
7.2.3. Sustainable Development Strategies

United Kingdom Sustainable Development Strategy

In response to Agenda 21 the UK and all participating nations developed national strategies for their sustainable development. The UK Government based its vision of sustainable development on four broad objectives:
  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone;
  • Effective protection of the environment;
  • Prudent use of natural resources; and
  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

The policy statements relating to sustainability are responsible for the development of codes and legislation which is being introduced in the UK: These include the following:
  • The Carbon Reduction Commitment (the "CRC")
  • Post-Kyoto Protocol
  • The Energy Act 2008
  • The Planning Act 2008
  • The Climate Change Act 2008
  • The Marine Bill 2008-2009
  • Draft code of best practice for carbon offset providers
  • The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales)
  • Regulations 2007 (the "Regulations")
  • The Sustainable Communities Act 2007
  • The Climate Change Levy (the "CCL")
  • The EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Climate Change Agreements ("CCA")
  • The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006

The details of each can be viewed at the Olswang website below.

The objective of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy is to provide a healthy, clean and safe environment. It aims to do this by reducing pollution, poverty, poor housing and unemployment. Global environmental threats, such as climate change and poor air quality must be reduced to protect human and environmental health. The use of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels cannot be stopped overnight, but they must be used efficiently and the development of alternatives should be used to help phase them out.
The UK Sustainable Development Strategy recognises the need for a new, more environmentally sound approach to development, especially with regard to transport, energy production and waste management and this has lead to a number of codes and legislation including legislation relating to the following:
  • Environmental Protection
  • Water Pollution
  • Dealing with Waste
  • Contaminated Land
  • Noise
  • Wildlife and the countryside
  • Land Drainage
  • Planning – Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Building Regulations

EU Sustainable Development Strategy

The EU has been responsible for a great deal of legislation relating to the environment. The UK government has been required to adopt this which is having a significant effect on the construction industry.

The EU Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted by the European Council in June 2006. It is an encompassing strategy for all EU policies which sets out how it can meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The Sustainable Development Strategy deals with economic, environmental and social issues and lists the following seven key challenges:
  • Climate change and clean energy
  • Sustainable transport
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Conservation and management of natural resources
  • Public health
  • Social inclusion, demography and migration
  • Global poverty.

Task 7.2.1 Evaluating Function against Cost

Evaluate the methods for examining function against cost, making reference to industry reports and initiatives’.


7.2.4. Implementing Standards

Building Regulations

One form of legislation which has been in force for many years is the Building Regulations. These are a set of Government approved documents giving technical guidance on all types of construction work, including aspects that relate to sustainability. The document that deals with fuel and power is Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) which lays down the requirements that must be adhered to. If you visit the website entitled ‘Planning Portal’ below you will be able to access the Approved Documents. You should determine which apply to sustainability and view the requirements.

Task 7.2.2 Building Regulations

List and describe the Sections / Parts of the current Building Regulations which are primarily concerned with sustainability and environmental protection.

Taking ONE of these sections describe in detail how it applied to the contract you are currently managing. 

Sustainable Communities Plan

In 2003, the UK Government launched the Sustainable Communities Plan which set out a long-term programme of action for delivering sustainable communities in both urban and rural areas.

The Plan included major reforms of housing and planning and a new approach to building, in order to bring about development that meets the economic, social and environmental needs currently and for future generations.

Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan

On the 12th June 2006, the Government published the National Action Plan: Procuring the Future. This aims to deliver sustainable procurement to stimulate innovation through public procurement and deliver sustainable procurement by complementing and building on existing activity.

The Code for Sustainable Homes

From 1 May 2008 the Government introduced a mandatory code to measure the sustainability of new homes. The Code for Sustainable Homes provides a comprehensive measure of the sustainability ensuring that new homes deliver real improvements in key areas. These are measured against categories in order to give the home a ‘whole home’ rating. The code uses a 1 to 6 star rating which gives an overall sustainability performance to the new home.

The nine categories of sustainable design are:
  • Energy efficiency/CO2
  • Water efficiency
  • Use of materials – major elements of construction need to achieve a BRE Green Guide 2006 [8] rating of at least D.
  • Surface water management – maintain site run-off rates to pre-construction values.
  • Site waste management – site waste management plan and adequate waste storage space.
  • Pollution – a selection of measures that provide credits.
  • Health and well-being – a selection of measures that provide credits.
  • Management – a selection of measures that provide credits.
  • Ecology – a selection of measures that provide credits.

The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use and provides information to home buyers. It also offers builders a tool which enables them to improve sustainability.

You should be aware of the fact that the code is continually developing and the date of registration of a home will depend on the version it must conform to. The requirements can be found in ‘Code for Sustainable Homes: Technical guide’ accessible from the link below.

A number of publications are available from the Communities and Local Government website shown below which explain the code and provide guidance on how to comply with it. These documents can be accessed from the website and can be down loaded.
You should also visit the site below to watch the ‘Web based videos’ to gain another perspective on sustainability.
You will also find an excellent article on at the web link ’Towards Sustainable Homes’.

The Passive House (Passiv Haus) Standard

The Passive House (Passiv Haus) standard is a voluntary standard which relates to an ultra-low energy building design system. This uses an energy efficient building envelope which reduces the energy consumption in a structure.

In order for a building to be classified as a Passive House a set of requirements have to be met. Although the standard specifies housing it also relates to a variety of other types of buildings such as offices, schools and supermarkets.

In order to find out more about this you should visit the website Passive House Standards below.

The Merton Rule

The 'Merton Rule' is a planning policy, developed and adopted by Merton Council in 2003. It requires the use of renewable energy onsite to reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the built environment in that new commercial buildings over 1,000 square meters must generate at least 10% of their energy needs using on site renewable energy equipment. It has subsequently been implemented by a number of other Councils and has become part of national planning guidance.

Task 7.2.3 Application of Legislation

Describe how you would ensure that the relevant legislation is applied to a project


British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

BREEAM is used to assess the environmental performance of new and existing buildings. Its aim is to set standards for sustainable developments and to measure environmental performance. It is predominantly used at present at the design stage although construction stage assessments are an optional extra.

A BREEAM assessment currently involves inspections by a licensed BREEAM assessor who measures the performance of the building in several areas and ensures that the mandatory minimum requirements for energy and water consumption are adhered to. The areas of assessment relate to:
  • the overall management of the building
  • energy use
  • health and well being
  • pollution
  • transport
  • land use
  • ecology
  • materials
  • water.

The assessment looks at each of these areas and awards credits according to the performance of the building against specific criteria. The credits in each of these areas are then added together to produce an overall rating based on a weighting system. Currently the available ratings are Pass, Good, Very Good and Excellent.


Task 7.2.4 BREEAM

Evaluate the use of environmental assessment standards on construction works and the effects of BREEAM on the designers of construction projects.

The site manager must be aware that materials which appear green or environmentally friendly do not necessarily produce the best quality of construction and may well result in additional maintenance and repair throughout the life span of the structure. Similarly, materials which are of composite construction may use vapour barriers and other materials which must be incorporated into the structure in a defined and certainly careful manner if the integrity of the units are to be preserved.
Quality means setting a standard and monitoring that standard to ensure that the work incorporated into the structure meets a predetermined specification. Where substandard materials are accepted or specified materials incorporated into the structure in a manner which does not comply with specified standards of workmanship, the object of the use and incorporation of sustainable materials may be defeated.
Sustainability is also about minimising waste; construction design should take into account standard panel sizes produced by the manufacturer ensuring that these fit into an integrated system without undue waste. Minimising waste would be enhanced by the use of Integrated Modular Design Systems of construction whereby all components are prefabricated to be fitted together on site.
Any waste should be collected and recycled as far as possible to recover materials or seek an alternative use, as an example: whilst short ends of timber cannot generally be used they can be used in chipboard production or similar and as a last and final result clean timber can be used to produce energy.  Quality monitoring and effective Site Management will ensure that waste is minimised and recycling is a factor which everyone to must promote. 
In many respects the key to quality on site is good leadership and management by education of the workforce; most operatives know and understand what quality is and how sustainability can be enhanced by maintaining a positive response; the trick is to ensure that all are pro-active and never complacent.
It also must be appreciated that sustainability is not just about materials and workmanship, other factors which all form part of sustainability are the responsibility of the Site manager all result in improved quality of site presentation, workmanship and reputation of the company. 


Task 7.2.5 Sustainability on Site

Discuss the ways in which Site Managers can monitor materials and workmanship on site in a manner which maintains sustainability and maximises the opportunity to Recycle and Recover Material.

Section 3. Waste Management 

Learning outcome:  On completion the learner will be able to identify, implement and evaluate the administrative systems relevant to waste for a project at site level.


7.3.1 Waste in the Construction Industry
7.3.2 Site Waste Management Plan
7.3.3 Evaluating a waste Management Plan 
7.3.1 Waste in the Construction Industry
The Construction Industry consumes a large amount of resources and produces landfill materials at an alarming rate much of it from materials which could be recycled or which are waste products from the actual construction process.
If the voluntary code of site waste management is accepted by contractors they in conjunction with their clients must determine how materials will be efficiently utilised on site at all stages of the construction process and the process by which materials which are no longer required can be disposed of legally; recycling and the reuse of materials should be at the heart of the SWMP to minimise possible waste. An assessment of the quantity of waste and the percentage of reuse or recycled material is required. Materials which are on site or excavated spoil further need consideration under SWMP.
Sub-contractors and personnel (as far as reasonably possible) engaged on the contract must be consulted when producing the SWMP. The SWMP should be part of Site Induction and training and should be constantly reinforced throughout the contract.
Site waste management audits should be completed as a continuum with a view to updating the plan and ensuring that site personnel are aware of the vigilance of the contract management team. Audits and SWMP if kept current will, result in control and feedback from which an enhanced and more efficient SWMP can be produced and land fill waste reduced whilst increasing that portion of waste which can be recycled or reused.

7.3.2 Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP)
The Waste Management Plans Regulations (2008) which required all construction projects over £300,000 to have a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) before a contract could commence were repealed as part of the government’s attempt to cut red tape in favour of a Voluntary Code.
However, some contracts do still require SWMP to comply with the British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEM) and some local authority requirements and are considered by some contractors as an environmentally responsible initiative.
An EU Directive provides an up to date detailed assessment of environmental management and waste disposal, this can be accessed from the EU Directive link below.
Whilst there is no formal requirement to submit SWMP to the statutory bodies some local Authorities may request these as part of their own sustainability plan and to incorporate the SWMP as part of the requirement of planning consent.
Guidance on Site Waste Plans can be obtained by visiting the site below. In addition, the Simple Guide website shown below whilst somewhat out of date does contain valuable insight into SWMP and is included here to give additional information and background.

Waste Identification and Action
Waste is anything which in financial terms is being lost. This is certainly not just waste which is visible, but also materials which are over specified, over ordered, not used in a correct manner and similar misuses of vital resources. It goes unnoticed almost accepted within construction but it is totally unacceptable; waste within the construction cause financial burden on the client and loss of profitable activity by the contractor.
Waste is not confined to the site; a lax approach at the tendering and buying stages can in overall terms cost a company much more than site waste. Therefore, recognised and accepted policies and procedures must be instigated by organisations to ensure they are working efficiently at the tender stage requesting material quotations and when purchasing materials.

This will include:
  • Procedures for inviting enquiries
  • quotation comparison
  • order production and issue
  • order progression
  • order delivery and receipt
  • feedback of information
Records/Schedules/Requisitions and similar paperwork must be in a standardized format agreed and understood by all parties to the administration and management of the contract.
Site Waste
This may take many forms but is usually considered under the headings of:
  • Deterioration
  • Theft
  • Misuse
  • Lack of care
The commonest and most costly waste is simply poor management.
Everything reasonably possible should be done to eliminate waste, yet it is often considered as all part of the process; which it is; however it is the excessive amounts of waste which need addressing. Excessive and avoidable waste in all its forms must be prevented.
Current waste factors allowed by estimators against actual waste produced may well be grossly inaccurate.
Waste occurs due to:
  •        Poor ordering and taking off procedure
  •        Damage to materials – in stock, transit and use.
  •        Poor specification
  •        Poor workmanship and practice
  •         Surplus materials left on site
  •         Excessive handling and transportation of materials
  •         Arson
  •         Theft and poor site security
  •         Plant abuse
  •         Inclement weather
  •         Poor or inappropriate storage
  •         Damage to completed work
  •         Failure to transfer materials from one point to  another
  •         Worker attitude and morale
  •         Variation orders
  •         Cutting waste
  •         Poor design
  •         Over design
It is the duty of all construction management, the Site Manager playing a central role in this activity; to examine all activities and assess the waste being produced and take immediate steps to minimise waste on current and subsequent contracts.
Waste means or may mean:
  •         Removal of existing work
  •         Replacement of work
  •         Small quantity orders required resulting in cost and delay
  •         Paperwork generation
  •         Loss of work flow – programme implications
  •         Removal of defective materials from site
  •         Worker frustration
  •         Lowering of morale
  •         Loss of faith in management ability
  •         Loss of company reputation.
Simple solutions to reduce waste production include:
  • Planning of all processes and activities.
  • Secure areas, protection covers for materials and similar provision; all ready prior to delivery.
  • Materials storage areas pre planned, suitable and ready for use.
  • Avoidance of congestions of materials, storage area – easy access/egress.
  • Protection of the material to avoid – splashing and contamination.
  • Stack to sensible heights only.
  • Avoid double handling.
  • Ensure handling systems are available and compatible with delivery systems.
  • Delivery vehicle and drivers must accept some delay to ensure safe and careful off-loading.
  • Materials must be off loaded according to their individual properties and requirements.
  • Materials must not be over stressed during loading or storage.
  • The ground on which material is stored must not be over stressed.
  • Limit the amount of material on site at any time: use good management techniques to formulate a ‘just in time’ delivery policy.
  • Designate a material control/receipt person for every site – Train this person well.
Additional Considerations
  • Many sites now operate a formal waste audit policy.
  • The economics of waste production and prevention must always be balanced.
  • Waste in all forms reduces profit.
  • Poor management is the commonest and costliest waste producer.
  • Examine the waste skip – what is in it why and whose rubbish is it- Who is responsible for its production and removal – act accordingly.
  • Recyclable materials and saleable materials should be considered. Bearing in mind disposal costs/likely income.
  • Clean well-managed sites give a good impression and probably indicate good management and use of resources.
  • Never be complacent.
It has been found that even on sites where managers have attended waste limitation/material care courses and/or even on site where specific individuals have been appointed as Waste Observers; the levels of waste are still excessive in terms of the levels that originally allowed in the estimate or considered the norm by general agreement.
Reduction of waste is everyone’s responsibility yet it is seldom given the importance it deserves. Management must lead.

Task  7.3.1 Site Waste Management Plan
Produce a site waste management plan OR a check list for your current site to industry best practice to ensure that reasonable consideration of all materials (including water use and disposal) has taken place with a view to maximising re-use and recycling and minimising landfill operations.

7.3.3 Protecting the Environment

The way that the company will protect the environment is set out in the Environment Policy.

Environment Policy

This is a statement of a company's stance towards the environment in which it operates. It is a commitment to implement and enforce the measures within the company organisation and method of work to protect the environment.

All environmental commitments should be an integral part of the day to day activities, clearly communicated to all employees and may form part of application for ISO 14001 certification or registration under the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) which is a voluntary scheme which allows all types of organizations to improve their environmental performance and achieve recognition.

Contents of a Policy

Although there is no legal requirement or standard structure for an environmental policy there are key aspects that it should contain. It should state what the key objectives of the company is; who is accountable and how these are going to be achieved and by whom.

In addition, the policy should contain brief statements on the following:
  • The business mission and information about its operations. Bear in mind that if your business activities or operations change significantly, you may need to amend the policy.
  • A commitment to continually improve your environmental performance.
  • A commitment to prevent pollution and effectively manage your significant environmental impacts.
  • The expectations that your business has in relation to external parties such as suppliers and contractors.
  • Recognition that you will comply with relevant environmental legislation as a minimum level of performance.
  • Education and training of employees in environmental issues and the environmental effects of their activities.
  • Monitoring progress and reviewing environmental performance against targets and objectives on a regular basis (usually yearly or in the first six months initially).
  • A commitment to communicate your business' environmental aims and objectives to all staff, as well as to customers, investors and other external stakeholders. 

It may also include additional issues relevant to your business that you may wish to address in your environmental policy, these could include:
  • transport - for example the vehicles you own or use
  • minimising waste - yours and from suppliers
  • reusing packaging and other materials
  • recycling
  • efficient use of water and energy
  • use of biodegradable chemicals
  • minimising use of solvents and lead-based paints
  • use of timber or wood products from sustainable (managed) forests
  • procedures to minimise noise disturbance to neighbours
  • phasing out of ozone-depleting substances 
An example of an Environment Policy can be seen by clicking on the link at the end of this section.

There is no standard content for an environmental policy, although policies normally contain similar themes. Your policy should be personal to your business, so it should reflect the business' main activities, priorities and concerns.

Before you write your policy you should assess which aspects of your business affect the environment and what the potential impacts are. The content of the policy should be based on the results of the assessment, which should have identified the key environmental issues that apply to the business.

Senior management must be involved in the production of the policy and must understand the principles and be committed to it. It's not compulsory to have an environmental policy but an increasing number of businesses are choosing to have one and one will be needed the company wishes to obtain an environmental management standard, such as the European Union Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), BS 8555 or ISO 14001. It's also vital if you currently work or intend to work with large organisations, or if you need to demonstrate to customers and other stakeholders that you are committed to managing your environmental impacts in a responsible way.

7.3.4 Maintaining Environmental Records

The retention of records is essential to prove that your company complies with legislation and government regulations and proves you have fulfilled your environmental responsibilities: The regulations that apply include:
  • Environment Protection Act 1990
  • Environment Protection (Transport) Regulations
  • Environment Protection (Prescribed Waste) Regulations
  • Occupational Health & Safety (Incident Notification) Regulations
  • Occupational Health & Safety (Issue Resolution) Regulations
In addition to showing compliance to the regulations it also enables the monitoring and improvement of the measures used.

The records will include:
  • Trade Waste Agreement
  • Transport certificates from the contractors and companies for the removal of Prescribed Wastes. (Invoices will suffice)
  • Improvement Reports to record problems, solution and other improvements
  • Records of the employee meetings and training sessions held with attendees
  • Environmental Controls
Ensure that training induction records prove that all employees are assessed for their competence regarding their proper use of Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental issues.

All unusual environmental events should be recorded in the site diary. 
Records will also be kept regarding the following:
  • Identification of Legal and Other Requirements
  • Determination of Environmental Aspects and Setting Objectives and Targets
  • External Stakeholder Communication Record
  • Management Review Record
  • Training Needs Analysis—Environmental Courses
  • Training Needs Analysis—Procedures and Work Instructions by Area/Department
  • Project Environmental Checklist
  • Corrective and Preventive Actions
  • Request Corrective and Preventive Action Tracking Log
  • Environmental Briefing Packet
  • Contractor Method Statements
  • Internal Audit Checklist
  • Details of Responsibilities
  • Environmental Management Programmes 
Environmental records should be kept for at least 3 years, which means having the system in place to store and locate documents.  One way of doing this is to record them in an index as shown below in Figure 7.3.1

Figure 7.3.1


Unit Complete
You have now completed Unit 7, and you should complete the assignment and send it to

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