A good EMS effectively reflects organisational objectives as well as all applicable industry regulatory and legislative environmental requirements and sets out clear targets and planning strategies to ensure they are consistently met.
One of the key components of any effective EMS is the Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), a site or project specific document designed to ensure that all applicable environmental management measures are implemented throughout every stage of a construction project to prevent and alleviate any negative impact on the environment. The CEMP is to a construction project what the EMS is to the organisation as a whole. Therefore, the key elements of a good CEMP are always consistent with the broad strokes of an EMS which is also known as ISO 14001. In other words, an effective CEMP is a concrete plan outlining how environmental and heritage risks associated with a particular project will be identified, managed, and monitored. Environmental risks associated with construction projects typically fall under the following categories: water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, and waste pollution.
CEMPs are commonly required by the Minister for Planning, local councils, and other relevant authorities before the proposed development can be approved, and often include conditions pertaining to the minimisation of environmental impact and local nuisance throughout the construction phase. It is somewhat similar to ISO 14001 requirements. A proponent may not commence construction activities until written approval of their CEMP has been issued by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).
In order for a CEMP to be approved, it needs to fulfill the following basic criteria:
The length and complexity of the CEMP should be proportionate to the size and complexity of the project and its potential impacts. The bigger the project and environmental risks it poses the more detailed the CEMP must be.
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Typically, a CEMP should contain the following elements:
The project description should offer a brief background of the proposed project, a clear description of the full breadth of works and activities it involves, a full report of the land where it will take place as well as any contiguous areas susceptible of being perturbed by the construction activities. Details on the proposed date of commencement and an estimated total duration of the project must also be included.
This section of the CEMP should list all the people involved in the project along with their contact information, and define the nature of their involvement, with a clear explanation of their roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the CEMP.
A CEMP should contain a description of the methods that will be employed to deliver environmental training and awareness, and to assess competencies throughout the project, to enable the reader to understand how the CEMP will be vehiculated throughout the project team, among contractors, and all subcontractors. Examples of delivery methods include:
This section of the CEMP should contain a summary of all identified environment and heritage risks, and their potential impacts relative to the intended project. This is achieved by conducting a project risk assessment, for big projects, and for small-sized projects through the development of task-specific job hazard analysis. Some examples of environmental and heritage risks in construction projects include, but are not limited to:
For every environment and heritage risk identified, a separate risk management plan must be developed with the aim of clearly demonstrating the proponent’s proposed approach for managing the risk in question. There is no set format for how the risk management plan should be presented, however, its purpose must be clear and the efficacy of the proposed strategy and controls for managing the identified risk must be demonstrated through logical argument. Additional elements that must be incorporated include performance indicators and corrective actions.
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