With the increased focus on sustainability, contractors are having to demonstrate their observation of the three ESG pillars: environmental, social and governance. But how can environmental monitoring fit into this? Read on, as Dave Bradshaw, our Monitoring Manager, explains more in the next instalment of our city centre blog series.
With research showing that the construction industry contributes to 23% of air pollution and 50% of climatic change, many in the construction industry are keen to show they are complying with the relevant legislation and mitigating their impact on the environment. With this in mind, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are becoming increasingly important for those in the sector to consider, especially for those wishing to go a little further in terms of taking a centric approach to doing business, helping to consolidate both legislative adherence with sustainability goals.
ESG should be a key area of consideration for construction companies, with a better ESG performance showing that a company is taking responsibility for its effect on the environment and is engaging in responsible construction practices. Broken down into three different areas, environmental, social and governance, ensuring ESG is at the forefront of your mind is key to becoming a more sustainable company.
Environmental monitoring is one way in which this can be achieved, providing companies with essential data on the environmental conditions both on and around construction sites. This is especially important for city centre projects, where work sites are often located in densely populated areas. This creates more factors to consider as a contractor than in other settings, with more people, businesses and communities to think about when beginning works. For this reason, it’s key to monitor what effects you are having on the surrounding area, to ensure you aren’t negatively impacting the local population.
The first pillar of ESG, this relates to the impact a contractor and its works are having on the surrounding environment – an impact that you will obviously want to minimise. With environmental monitoring, factors such as dust, vibration and noise levels (to name just a few) can be carefully monitored and assessed to ensure that none of them exceed acceptable parameters.
In fact, our Enviroguard monitoring solution is perfect for this. Able to monitor a large range of factors, from vibration or noise levels to the local air quality, it will take continuous, highly accurate measurements that can be accessed in real-time.
‘Social’ refers to a company’s responsibility to its people and the community within which it operates. In the case of a construction project, this can involve being mindful of onsite workers and the general public who live and work around the site, including local businesses. Here, considerate construction is key. Understandably, construction sites can generate a large amount of dust, noise and vibration. However, excess levels of the same can have a serious impact on people’s health and well-being, both physically and mentally.
It’s a shocking statistic that dust breaches make up 41% of ‘Occupational Health’ infringements on building sites, and as such it’s important to ensure those working on the site are being kept safe too.
Finally, there’s governance, which looks at adherence to the legislative side of construction. For example, with Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, contractors must apply for Prior Consent from the local authority to carry out the works, demonstrating any proactive plans or processes put in place to mitigate potential noise and vibrations. Through the use of environmental monitoring, contractors can prove they are adhering to these pre-agreed levels, thus preventing any illegitimate claims from being made against them.
With easily accessible digital data, environmental monitoring solutions can also enable companies to provide transparent and accurate reports, allowing companies to build trust with their stakeholders.
Our environmental monitoring was called into action for the demolition of a section of King’s College London. With the area still being an active site, it was important that the risk of pollution to staff and students was minimised as much as possible. With this in mind, our Enviroguard monitoring solution was used, with dust particulate, noise and vibration monitors and sensors installed. The data from these sensors was then transmitted to to Insite, our web portal, where the demolition contractor could easily access it, ensuring that the pre-set trigger levels weren’t exceeded at any time and any corrective measures undertaken.
It’s clear that environmental monitoring is an essential aspect of any construction project, with our solutions helping companies to manage their environmental, social, and governance objectives. By addressing the three pillars of ESG, Mabey Hire's solutions can help companies build sustainable and responsible projects that will enable them to demonstrate commitment to their wider stakeholders.