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Tony Manners NC Civ 1

Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

Assignment 2

Task 1

Describe the legislation and local controls that are in place to protect the natural
environment of the CCN campus against the treat of pollution that may be the result
of the development of the existing campus.

Any redevelopment of the NCC campus must, in the first instance comply with current
legislation that has been made law by Parliament in order to protect the environment. There
are a number of acts of Parliament that work together in preserving the natural local

The Environmental Protection Act 1990

This act prohibits the unauthorised treatment and disposal of controlled waste. It sets out a
system where waste disposal must be regulated and licensed and places the duty of care on
the individual who is treating or disposing of the waste.

The Control of Pollution Act 1989 (Amendment)

This act makes it an offence for an unlicensed individual to carry controlled waste, allowing
the local authorities to enforce the act with criminal proceedings for unregulated waste

Water Act 1989

Responsibility for water quality and sewerage is shared by the ten water authorities in
England. To ensure effective drinking water quality and sewerage management the
authorities have powers to prosecute companies or individuals who knowingly or otherwise
pollute water courses.

Building Act 1984

The purpose of which is to ensure that building standards meet the requirements necessary
to protect the health, safety of people in and around buildings. They also incorporate
measures to conserve fuel and power, reduce carbon emissions and to ensure the provision
of access and facilities for the less able. The Act bestows a duty on the local authority to
enforce both the Act and the Building Regulations in their area.

Tony Manners NC Civ 1
Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

In order for legislation to be enforced control measures must be in place to monitor

companies and individuals ensuring the law is adhered to. Some bodies such as the
Environment Agency have a role in creating legislation as well as enforcing it.

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for enforcing legislation that relates to safety
affected by environmental issues. For example, if the correct PPE is not worn while dealing
with a spillage of a COSHH substance leading to accident or injury, an investigation would
be carried out by the HSE.

Local council planning departments dictate all aspects of construction and development
within their area. They put together Local Development Documents (which recently replaced
Local Plans) which are a framework in which the authorities detail how they envisage future
development and growth. Planning departments are able to look at the ‘bigger picture’ of
how its area is changing and can discourage development where it believes this will have a
negative impact on the local environment.

Building control departments ensure compliance with building regulations under the Building
Act 1984. They also look at the environmental effect demolition, alteration and construction
have on the environment. Building control officers inspect projects to monitor developments
progress against the originally submitted plans.

The Environment Agency is a public body whose main responsibility is the protection of the
environment by regulation of construction and ensuring compliance with current legislation.
The EA also has the power of enforcement and can help prosecutions by gathering evidence
against an offending individual, as the following case study shows:

‘Dairy farm fined for polluting stream with dirty water

A farm company was today ordered to pay £1,848 in fines and costs after waste water escaped into a Devon
stream killing dozens of fish

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On June 27, 2009 Agency officers were called to the Rivar Dalch to investigate a pollution incident. They found a
number of dead fish, mainly brown trout and bullheads, in the river at Hele Bridge near Black Dog, Crediton.

The pollution was traced to Higher Henceford Farm where a field had been recently irrigated with dirty water from
a large dairy unit. The dirty water entered the Henceford Stream via two field drains and then into the River
Dalch, a tributary of the Lapford Yeo River and River Taw.

Agency officers found a ‘significant quantity’ of sewage fungus in Henceford Stream, a clear indicator of organic
pollution. They also saw a dark green liquid discharging from a nearby land drain. There was a strong smell of

The court heard the Rivers Dalch, Lapford Yeo and Taw support a healthy fish population including salmon and
sea trout and that the Henceford was an important feeder stream. A total of 150 dead fish including brown trout,
bullheads, stoneloach and minnow were found on the stretch of the River Dalch between Canns Bridge and the
pollution discharge point.

Tony Manners NC Civ 1
Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

‘Farmers must take extra care when irrigating land with dirty water and ensure it does not escape into local
watercourses. These liquids are highly polluting and kill fish by removing oxygen from the water and adding
ammonia,’ said Andrew Leyman for the Environment Agency.’

Standon Holsteins Ltd, of Windemarsh Street, Hereford, Herefordshire was fined £600 and ordered to pay £1,248
costs by Honiton magistrates today after pleading guilty to causing polluting matter, namely dirty water, to enter
the Henceford Stream and the River Dalch from land at Higher Henceford Farm near Black Dog, Crediton
contrary to Section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991.

Task 2

Describe how good practice in design specification and management of both the
building project and the construction process may result in the reduction of negative
effects on the local environment.

The environmental impact of the project can be affected at the design level. The main way of
embracing good practice is to design the building to use less energy on a day to day basis,
this is supported by Part L of the Building Regulations which focuses on increasing the
thermal efficiency of buildings by introducing energy performance requirements.

Some design techniques such as building orientation and increased window surface are
ideal for domestic use but inappropriate for the college as this will lead to overheating. Other
factors must be considered such as large, openable windows and window tinting rather than
air conditioning which uses a lot of energy to run.

The following points outline the main design options which may be utilised:

• The cheapest option is often the most unethical, therefore decisions must be made
with environmental impact as a priority and this should filter through all aspects of the
design phase.
• Existing buildings should be looked at for their viability for use in the project. This will
reduce the use of raw materials and energy in possible demolition and then rebuild. If
re-use is not viable the way that the new building is constructed could be designed to
allow reuse of materials in future development. For example if the new building is of
modular design it is possible the components can be used in the future.
• If demolition of current infrastructure is planned then a policy to recycling should be
adopted. Recycling materials such as glass, copper and steel would not only reduce
waste costs but could also be used for the new construction.
• The use of materials with a low embedded energy would reduce the effects of the
project on the environment. The use of timber would be preferable to concrete due to
the amount of energy required in its production. Timber absorbs carbon dioxide
during its life and is easy to convert into a useable material.

The way the project is managed is important to the environmental impact of the design and
construction of the project. The key to having a structured approach is to have an
environmental impact assessment. This assessment will look at all aspects of the
construction phase and help to introduce a strategy to reduce negative effects on the
environment. The assessment should look at waste disposal, thermal efficiency, water and
heat discharges and material consumption.

Construction sites should be managed with efficiency as a priority. Construction managers

ideally would aim to get maximum efficiency from the workforce and hired plant in order to
cut down on wastage. Similarly reuse of materials should be maximised as an alternative to
Tony Manners NC Civ 1
Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

disposal. For example, used concrete could be crushed and used as type 1 sub base for
access roads. Where disposal is necessary, waste materials can be segregated which would
also cut down on disposal costs. Noise and dust are controversial issues relating to
construction sites and can be managed by the use of screens and low noise equipment as
well as enforcing the practice of wet cutting when using Stihl saws. COSHH substances
should be stored appropriately with safeguards in place in case a spillage or leak occurs.

The impact assessment is a reference point for company policies which are based on
legislation relevant to the project. Company policies should focus on increased recycling,
control measures to reduce pollution and a clear statement of the priorities and aims of the
construction project. Policies can be communicated to the workforce by embedding related
aims and objectives in training and toolbox talks.

Task 3

Compare the advantages and disadvantages in the use and application of the four
methods and compare their viability, effectiveness and likely success in changing the
public perceptions and behaviour along with their willingness to commit financially to


The application of legislation in order to protect the environment is effective in that it is wide
ranging in its coverage. Large scale changes can be made to practices by making activities
such as dumping waste unlawful. This, in turn, empowers local authorities such as the
Environment Agency to monitor companies and enforce government policies. However,
change can only take place if companies and individuals believe and commit to new
legislation, this is difficult for legislation alone to achieve at a local level. Companies that flout
laws relating to the environment can be prosecuted, which, in turn, leads to bad publicity.
Companies with a poor public image are less likely to win high profile projects or those in the
public eye such as the college redevelopment as clients will not want to be associated with

Local Controls

Local authorities are a recognized body who, by working with legislation, can enlighten the
public to guidelines and requirements by educating the need for legislation. They are
effective in achieving this as they can set up public forums and offer consultations to
companies in order to communicate plans and objectives. Furthermore, local authorities,
namely Building Control, are able to monitor companies at a more localised level to ensure
that legislation is being followed. The public may feel that a local authority is a relevant forum
to raise issues regarding a project whereas they may be less willing to approach a building
contractor. A local authority may choose to specify improvements such as the use of
sustainable building materials in order to improve the public perception of the project. The
local authority may then use the college redevelopment as a flagship project which may kick-
start similar environmentally aware projects in the city. The disadvantage is that local
authorities have finite resources and therefore it is possible for unscrupulous companies to
slip under the net. Local controls are only effective if there is legislation in place that allow
the authorities to enforce laws and regulations.

Tony Manners NC Civ 1
Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

Design Specification

The design specification of a building is an effective method of managing positive

environmental change on an individual project level. A building can be designed to specific
unambiguous instructions, which can then be audited to check that contractors comply with
the design. Designers can involve the public by hosting consultation forums where the
general public can look at plans and have an input into the design, specifically the
appearance of the finished project. This is an effective method in that it develops good public
relations for the developers, designers and client and it promotes environmentally friendly
construction and design practices that may then be used elsewhere. However, design
specification can only have an effect on an individual project basis and as a stand alone
method is limited in its possible effect on a country or worldwide basis. Furthermore,
environmentally friendly construction can be expensive and although some money can be
clawed back through, for example, energy savings; large initial investment is still required.


The key to a way the project is managed is communication, this is the main advantage
offered by this method of environmental impact reduction. As mentioned in task 2 a well
managed site will embrace training, which is an effective method of changing the
perceptions and behaviour of the workforce. It is a relatively cost effective method as the
main expense is the man hours spent training staff. However this could arguably be
recouped from an improved reputation leading to increased business from the point of view
of a construction company.

A well managed site will strive to complete construction of the CCN project within the
deadline, which may be restricted to holiday periods. If the project runs during term time the
construction area will need to be cordoned off from the working part of the complex to
minimize interference to staff and students; any accidents involving college users would
reflect badly on the contractors. This is critical for the college due to its responsibility to its
cohort as well as residents living near the college site. The way the project is managed is
key to reducing interference to all groups including passing traffic. Any disruption or
interference involving such a high profile client would attract negative publicity for all involved
with the project.

In summary, all of the above methods have advantages in manipulating environmental

change. However, the most effective way of environmental improvement is by synchronising
all four methods in order to maximise the overall result on a widescale basis.


www.environment –

Tony Manners NC Civ 1
Unit 2 Construction and the Environment

BTEC National - Construction