Environmental Issues Associated with Construction

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Nov 9, 2013 (4 years and 4 days ago)

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Environmental Issues
A
ssociated with
Construction




Overview








The different stages in the construction life cycle, from extraction, mining and processing of building
materials, to the construction process itself, and, much later, demolition, all have potential impacts on the
environment. These impacts include use of

natural resources, energy use, dust and noise. Suppliers that
have a high awareness of the potential impacts and have implemented plans and measures to control these
impacts should be selected. Procurement of construction is classified as having a
very hi
gh environmental
profile
and
some risk of developing world supply chains.


Summary of Life Cycle Record


Raw Material

Use



Various raw materials including
concrete
, cement, bricks,
sand
,
gravel
,
aggregates
,
timber
, metals,
glass
,
machinery
,
etc.




Buildings

and offices



Use of roads and other infrastructure projects



Maintenance and refurbishment



Energy and water are required during use

Manufacture

Waste Management/Disposal



Projects generally have a design stage and then a
construction stage.



At the design
stage an environmental impact assessment
might be carried out, and measures included in plans to
mitigate environmental impacts.



Construction and demolition waste is generated in very
large quantities, although much of it can be classified as
inert.



Recycl
ing of wastes is an important issue for construction
and demolition waste.


Key Impacts and Priority Mitigation Measures


The key
impacts

in relation to construction are:



Dust

particulate releases to the atmosphere from vehicle movements and construction sites.



Noise

generation (
machinery
, piling and other construction).



Fuel burning during transportation and other
energy

use contributes to impacts such as global
warming.



Gen
eration of large amounts of
construction and demolition waste
.



Use of
natural resources



aggregates
, other raw materials. (Plus Some
hazardous materials

are
used in the production of metals, cement and other raw materials.



Thermal insulation can involve u
se of ozone
-
depleting chemicals in manufacture.



Construction can utilise
hazardous substances

such as man made mineral fibres (for insulation),
formaldehyde (in timber adhesives and some insulation), timber preservatives, heavy metals (in metal
primers) an
d Volatile Organic Compounds (in lacquers and varnishes) adhesives and cleaning agents.



Damage to wildlife and eco
-
systems due to disruption during construction.


Control Measures


Raw materials and Resources:



Where feasible, specify the use of secondary
recycled building materials



Ensure that bulk materials do not originate from sites that damage or endanger wildlife



If possible, use local materials and suppliers, as this will require less energy for transport.


Control Measures


Construction:



Carry out
an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on large projects and, for all projects, plan in the
design stage the measures to mitigate environmental impacts during construction. These measures
should include operational and technical measures to reduce dust
emissions and noise impacts,
reduction in water run
-
off, efficient energy use, efficient use of raw materials, and minimisation of
waste wherever possible.



Ensure suppliers implement the measures detailed in the background section of this document



Contro
l Measures


Procurement Action:



Ensure suppliers used have a high awareness of the potential environmental impacts and are taking
appropriate mitigation measures. For example, ensure EIAs have been carried out where applicable
and that measurable environ
mental management actions and targets have been specified.



Where feasible, specify the use of secondary recycled building materials.



Specify timber from sources managed in a sustainable way (for example FSC accredited) to encourage
improved forestry practi
ces.



Be aware that construction can utilise hazardous substances such as man made mineral fibres (for
insulation), formaldehyde (in timber adhesives and some insulation), timber preservatives, heavy
metals (in metal primers) and Volatile Organic Compounds
(in lacquers and varnishes) adhesives and
cleaning agents. Careful specification can avoid these or encourage their use in a controlled manner.



Ensure suppliers liase with nature conservation bodies to minimise disturbance and disruption to any
sensitive

wildlife


Control Measures

Use and Waste Management/Disposal:



Construction and demolition waste is mainly inert, and should not be disposed in landfill as it would
take up large quantities of valuable space.



Recycling of construction and demolition waste

should be carried out where possible (e.g. breaking up
waste and using as foundations for new construction projects, etc). Often referred to as deconstruction
rather than demolition.



Ensure design includes energy efficiency (for example the use of the BRE
EAM standard), resource
efficiency, repairability and longevity of use



Disclaimer:
This document is based on publicly available information and provides details of the environmental impacts associated
with construction. It contains a description of most
commonly used raw materials and the environmental impacts and by
-
products
released. It should be noted that there might be some other commodity types and manufacturing processes not covered within th
is
document.

Life Cycle Impact Mapping


Construction Ov
erview



Aspect/Impact

Raw materials/

Pre manufacture

Con
-
struction

Use

Disposal

Reason for Impacts

Actions to Take

Extrac
tion of
Base
Materi
al

Primary
Processing

Manufacture
of
components

Numerous raw materials,
timber, metals, aggregate,
chemicals,

geo textiles,
electronics, and machinery.

Design with
environment in mind,
supply chain mgt

Non
renewable or
natural
resource use











Aggregates, metals, electronics
hard timbers, fuels, machinery
do not regenerate. Softwood is
re
-
generative. Earthwork issues

Minimise in design, use
re
-
cycled and supply
chain mgt of 1
st

tier

Energy







Significant during construction
through use of machiner
y and
plant. Digging, moving etc. In
use during any building
occupation

Constructors EMS
application at a site level
for energy mgt. Building
EMS

Water use and
pollution












Potential pollution through
mining and raw material
extraction process/
wash
waters. Water use during any
building occupation

Minimise in design, use
re
-
cycled, supply chain
mgt of 1
st

tier EMS
water

Air emissions/

VOC













Dust emission in raw materials,
construction and demolition.
VOC’ in paints/ varnishes etc

Minimise in design,
water based paints

Solid waste













Extraction and mining process
of raw materials. Waste in
construction and disposal

Use re
-
cycled materials.
Supply chain mgt

Hazardous

Substances












Explosives used for mining/
disposal. Chemicals and
coatings used in construction

As above


Packaging









Packaging of materials being
delivered to construction site.
Drums of paints, chemicals etc

1
st

tier supplier, supply
chain mgt, pkg policy

Social Impact:

Noise











Extraction, primary and
secondary processing of key
raw materials is noisy. As is
construction and disposal.

Check 1
st

tier supplier
noise mgt system &
supply chain mgt

Social Impact:

Developing
world supply
chain











Numerous raw materials are
extracted and manufactured in
developing world. Checks for
migrant labour on site.

Focus on 1
st

tier
supplier, ethical supply
chain policy


Social Impact

UK


Contribution










Raw material extraction and
processing is
noisy with
transport impacts. Construction
is a key employer throughout
the economy. The construction
usually has some benefit/
reason for existence

No action, for
information only


Economic
Impact UK


Contribution











Import of large volumes of
construction material has
balance of payment issues.
However, construction is a
major sector in the economy
and vital for economic growth.

No action, for
information only

STRATEGIC SUSTAINABILITY RISK

Scoring

Notes

(1) Existing or forthcoming legislation

or national strategy concerning
product/service.

Yes

Planning and site EIA, demolition etc. Greening of construction indicators,
Government Sustainable Construction

(2) Industry subject to IPPC regulations.

No


(3) Commodity linked to or subject
of
“green” pressure group
campaign.


Yes

Pressure groups using construction as a vehicle to expose poor practice in the supply
chain. In particular use of hardwood timber and child/ slave labour in the supply chain.

(4) Developing world supply chain
.


Yes

Raw material inputs and manufacture of construction raw materials has a high
potential of being in the developing world.

Risk Rating

(Critical Spend Area)

VERY HIGH

Priority to suppliers own supply chain management policy/ system and management of
the construction process/ EMS/ Dust and noise management protocols. Consider use
of EIA, BREAM standards and eco
-
design in general. Consider disposal options at the
end of t
he use phase.

BACKGROUND NOTES
-

CONSTRUCTION


General Background


The approach to construction projects should go beyond the traditional focus on cost, time and performance
to include goals of minimal natural resource consumption, depletion and
degradation; minimal waste
generation and accumulation, and minimal impacts to nearby residents and habitats. Clients, planners,
designers and constructors need to approach each project with a focus on the entire life cycle of the project,
not just the in
itial capital investment. Changes are easier to make during the planning and design phases
since the facility exists only “on paper” as opposed to being a physical artefact. The typical life cycle
consists of pre
-
design, design, preparing to build, constru
ction, occupation, refurbishment and demolition.


The construction industry consumes a large quantity of materials. The extraction of some of these
construction materials damages the landscape, natural habitats and ecosystems and often constitutes
irrevers
ible depletion. In addition, the production and transport of materials uses significant energy, which
generates CO
2
.


1
-

Raw Materials & Resources


The following list gives the major raw materials and resources used in construction industry:




Timber
products



Concrete

and cement



Asphalt



Brick
(Clay)



Sand, gravel

and
stone



Cement



Paint
,
varnishes

and
adhesives




Metals (
steel
,
iron
,
copper
, lead,
brass and aluminium)



Glass



Plastics



Chemicals



Plumbing (water and waste) and
cables

(
electricity
)




Machinery



Electronic equipment



Others:
cleaning agents
,
insulation materials and timber
preservatives



Environmental Impact & Control Measures


Impacts of Raw Materials and Resources:



Use of
natural resources

(
aggregate
,
sand
,
timber
, etc).



Extraction and mining of
aggregates

and minerals can have an impact upon the environment. Potential
impacts include the visual intrusion of a site, the permanent changes to the landscape, the noise,
vibration and
dust
, both from the workings and any
associated heavy truck traffic, etc.



Cement and metals manufacture has significant potential environmental impacts.



Dust particulate

releases to the atmosphere from vehicle movements, and wind blow of raw materials.



Noise

generation (e.g. extraction and
transport of raw materials) impacts local residents and wildlife.



Use of some

hazardous substances

such as man made mineral fibres (for insulation), formaldehyde
(in timber adhesives and some insulation), timber preservatives, heavy metals (in metal primer
s) and
Volatile Organic Compounds (in lacquers and varnishes) adhesives and cleaning agents.



Thermal insulation can involve use of ozone
-
depleting chemicals in manufacture.



Extraction and
transportation

requires large amounts of
energy,

which contributes t
o impacts such as
acid rain and global warming.


Control Measures


Raw Materials and Resources:

Raw Materials



Where feasible, use recycled or secondary building materials. (The refurbishment, demolition and
replacement of buildings consume significant amo
unts of energy and non
-
renewable resources and
using recycled materials can reduce this).



Ensure that bulk materials do not originate from sites that damage or endanger wildlife, aquifers etc



If possible use local materials and suppliers as this will requi
re less energy for transport.



Specify timber from sources managed in a sustainable way (for example FSC accredited) to encourage
improved forestry practices.



Specify alternative thermal insulation that uses no ozone depleting substance such as mineral fibr
es,
cellulose fibres, glass, cork, expanded polystyrene and plastic foam).


Hazardous materials



Be aware that construction can utilise hazardous substances such as man made mineral fibres (for
insulation), formaldehyde (in timber adhesives and some insulat
ion), timber preservatives, heavy
metals (in metal primers) and Volatile Organic Compounds (in lacquers and varnishes) adhesives and
cleaning agents. Careful specification can avoid these or encourage their use in a controlled manner.



Asbestos should never be used in new facilities.


Control Measures


Procurement Action:



Ensure suppliers used have a high awareness of potential the environmental impacts and are taking
appropriate mitigation measures, such as those listed in this docume
nt.



Reduce wastage by ordering the specific amount of materials required.



Where feasible, specify the use of secondary recycled building materials.



Specify timber from sources managed in a sustainable way (for example FSC accredited) to encourage
improved
forestry practices.



Careful specification or avoidance of hazardous substances will encourage their use in a controlled
manner.


2


Construction


The steps in the actual construction stage are generally:



Site preparation (excavation)



Building of complete
constructions or parts



Building installation



Building completion


Environmental Impact & Control Measures


Impacts of Construction:



Dust

particulate releases to the atmosphere from vehicle movements, and wind blow of raw materials.



Water run
-
off

from construction sites is likely to be high in suspended solids, which could impact
local surface water.



Noise

generation (machinery, piling and other construction) has impacts on local residents and
wildlife.



Some
hazardous materials

(fuels, paints and
chemicals) are used in construction.



Fuel burning and
energy use

during transportation contributes to impacts such as global warming.


Control Measures


Construction:

Planning



Carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on large projects and, for a
ll projects, plan in the
design stage the measures that will mitigate environmental impacts during construction.


Environmental Management



Encourage suppliers to work towards obtaining accreditation to a structured and independently verified
environmental
management system such as ISO 14001 or EMAS


Training



Ensure staff are trained in environmental, health and safety matters including accident prevention, safe
lifting practices, safe chemical handling practices, and proper control and maintenance of equipm
ent
and facilities.



Ensure that staff always use the appropriate personal protective and safety equipment.


Water



Ensure rainwater collection and use, and prevention where applicable of run
-
off to surface water.


Noise and vibration

Ensure contractors
undertake noise monitoring and;



Change the working methods to use equipment or modes of operation that produce less noise.



Reduce the need for noisy assembly practices, e.g., fabricate off site.



Keep noisy construction vehicles and equipment as far away as

possible from public areas.



Adopt working hours that restrict noisy activities to certain periods of the day. Operations should be
contained to daytime hours. All plant should be turned off when not in use.



Arrange delivery times to suit the area


daytim
e for residential areas, perhaps nighttime for inner
-
city
areas.



Route construction vehicles to take account of the need to reduce noise and vibration.



Keep hauls roads well maintained.



Liase with nature conservation bodies to minimise noise disturbance (d
isruption) to any sensitive
wildlife.



Use screens, which can reduce noise levels from site. Tree planting and fences can screen Service
yards.



Ensure mounting of machines on isolators.



Wildlife and natural features

Ensure contractors:



Avoid critical and
irreversible environmental damage. Minimise general damage to ecology on site
(such as changes to water quality; destruction of places inhabited by plants and animals; interruptions
to the movement of wildlife; vegetation damage through trampling by peopl
e or vehicles; dust; high
noise levels adjacent ecology; changes in lighting; and damage, removal or burial of important rock
formations or landforms).


Archaeology

Ensure contractors:



Protect known archaeology or historical features.



Are trained to handle

any unexpected archaeological finds during excavation.


Dust, emissions and odours

Ensure contractors avoid dust, emissions and odour generation as much as possible



Cover equipment related to material handling and storage with dust collectors.



Pave
heavily used areas and sweep these regularly.



Clean the wheels of vehicles leaving the site so that mud is not spread on surrounding roads.



Re
-
vegetate and seal temporary or completed earthworks as soon as possible.



Locate stockpiles out of the wind (or pr
ovide wind breaks) to minimise the potential for dust
generation.



Keep stockpiles to the minimum practicable height and use gentle slopes.



Minimise the storage time of materials on site.



Mix large quantities of concrete or bentonite slurries in enclosed/sh
ielded areas.



Before concrete pours, vacuum dirt in formwork rather than blowing it out.



Minimise cutting and grinding on site.



Consider spraying water during various activities that generate dust.



Keep vehicles and plants used on site well maintained and

regularly serviced.



Make sure that engines are switched off when they are not in use.



Keep refuelling areas away from the public.


Indoor Air Quality

Ensure contractors:



Reduce the use of certain adhesives, paints and flooring materials, plastics, cleansi
ng
-
degreasing fluids
and carpets that can create indoor pollution.


Energy Efficiency



Ensure contractors are aware of the energy required to (1) obtain and process the raw materials (2)
transport the material (at all stages) (3) construction and eventual
demolition. Try to minimise this
energy, wherever possible.



Long
-
term energy costs can be minimised by making efficient, integrated choices at the design stage.
For example, the building shell, windows, heating/cooling/ventilation equipment, appliances an
d
electric lighting.



Ensure eco
-
efficient design that optimises heating needs by use of energy efficient materials and
building appropriate insulation levels.



Ensure eco
-
efficient design of efficient lighting. This is one of the most cost
-
effective ways
to reduce
energy consumption during use. Examples include exploiting natural daylight, specifying sensible light
levels and using efficient systems with flexible controls.


Transport



Minimise the transport distances of materials where possible. (Use local
suppliers if feasible)



Promote green travel plans to construction site for site employees, car sharing and minibuses.



Use of cleaner fuels for transport.


Hazardous substances



Ensure storage, handling and disposal of chemical wastes and hazardous substanc
es are carried out in
the appropriate manner. These include chemicals and oils; batteries; cleaning agents; glues, paints and
thinners with volatile solvents; etc. Material safety data sheets give key information regarding
chemical composition, toxicity,

and possible routes of human exposure, symptoms and emergency
treatment.


Waste



Minimise waste in design and manufacture.



Control Measures


Procurement Action:



Ensure suppliers selected have a high awareness of the potential environmental impacts and a
re taking
appropriate mitigation measures, such as those listed in the above sections.


3
-

Use


Environmental Impact & Control Measures


Impacts of Use:



Energy

use, which uses non
-
renewable fuel sources and contributes to global warming.



Some

water use

and
wastewater

effluent discharges.



Solid waste

generation.



Inappropriate design can lead to an inadequate supply of fresh air and poor location of fresh air intakes
and distribution of air within a building contributes to poor air quality. In addition,
use of certain
adhesives, paints and flooring materials, plastics, cleansing
-
degreasing fluids and carpets can create
indoor air pollution
.


Control Measures


Use:



Ensure reduction of water and energy use.



Assess different types of ventilation methods to
provide optimum air quality with minimum energy
requirement.



Minimise heat loss through effective insulation.



Provide storage places for recycling waste from the building occupants.



Provide environmental training and awareness raising for occupants.


4


W
aste Management/Disposal


Demolition options include:



Reuse



Recycling



Landfill


If recycling or reuse of construction materials is not practical, wastes must be disposed of in an
environmentally acceptable manner and in compliance with the appropriate laws and regulations.
Landfilling has been the traditional means of disposing of de
bris.


There is a trend in the industry to refer to demolition as deconstruction to promote recycling and re
-
use of
materials.


Environmental Impact & Control Measure


Impacts of Waste Management/Disposal:



Large quantities of construction and demolition
w
aste

are generated.



Construction and demolition waste is mainly inert, and should not be disposed in sanitary landfills as it
takes up large quantities of valuable landfill space.


Control Measures


Waste Management/Disposal:

Waste



Reduce the amount of wa
ste going to landfill (Waste disposed of in this way is subject to the landfill
tax).



Segregate different types of waste as they are generated so that they can be easily recycled/re
-
used.



All hazardous (reactive, flammable, corrosive and toxic) materials m
ust be stored in clearly labelled
containers or vessels.



All hazardous materials, process residues, solvents, oils, and sludges from raw water, process
wastewater and domestic sewage, treatment systems must be disposed of in a manner to prevent the
contami
nation of soil, groundwater and surface waters.



Recycling of construction and demolition waste should be carried out where possible (e.g. breaking up
waste and using as foundations for new construction projects, etc). Recycling is applicable to many
types

of waste, e.g. concrete, aggregates, metals, pipes, tiles, bricks, packaging, etc.


Note:
The Government funded Waste Resources Acton Programme can provide more detail on the use of
secondary and recycled aggregates within construction.




Demolition



Before the demolition begins, review the disposal options for the materials that will be generated.



Remove hazardous materials from buildings prior to demolition (such as lamps, batteries, lead pipes,
oils, pesticides, paints, glues, oils and other chemica
ls which may be found in storage areas or on
building property). Once a building is demolished, separating these materials becomes difficult or
impossible.


Sources of Information




Coventry, S. & Woolveridge, C. (1999)
Environmental good practice on site
.
Construction Industry
Research and Information Association. London.



Removal of Hazardous Building Components from Demolition Waste.

An Information Sheet for Parties
Contracting Demolition Services. University of Florida web site.
www.enveng.ufl.edu




Environmental Performance Indicators for Sustainable

Construction
. The Movement for Innovation
Sustainability Working Group Report.



Environmental Code of Practice for buildings and other services
. Edition 2. Code of Prac
tice COP
6/99. DETR and BSRIA. August 1999.



Commission Decision 2002/272/EC of 25 March 2002. O.J. nº L 94 of 25 March 2002.
The European
eco
-
label for hard floor coverings
. Product Factsheet.
http://europa.eu
.int/ecolabel




Environmental, Health and safety guidelines for Construction Materials Plants
. International Finance
Corporation. July 1998.



Construction Best Practice Programme.
www.cbpp.org.uk



Considerate Constructor
s Scheme.
www.ccscheme.org.uk




Waste Resources Action Programme.
www.wrap.org.uk



Green Guide for Buyers, UK Governments Framework for Sustainable Development of the
Governmen
t Estate.
www.sustainable
-
development.gov.uk