Making EMS Easily Accessible for Construction Companies
Peter Chan1, Greg Hall2 and Benny Au1, (1)Business Environment Council, Hong Kong; (2)CIRIA, United Kingdom
In any country, a more sustainable construction industry has a big part to play in achieving sustainable communities and the overall sustainable development agenda.

The construction sector is improving its environmental and socio-economic performance. Predictably this is being led by client pressure and the forward thinking of the largest construction companies. Although not generally termed as sustainability by smaller companies, the issues are no less relevant. Considering the environmental aspect of sustainability for example, having an environmental management system (EMS) can delivery real benefits for companies of all sizes. The key is to have the EMS focused on what is important for the individual company and suitably developed for the company's culture.

Developing and implementing an effective EMS is not always easy to achieve when working in the construction sector. The EMS needs to be robust and flexible enough to withstand a number of factors unique to the construction industry. For example, the fact that no two construction sites are the same, and that the construction site team have often not worked together previously.

As a result of the difficulty to develop and implement an effective EMS that delivers tangible benefits, CIRIA set about developing a package of guidance and template documents for construction companies to use. The Easy Access Environmental Management approach is aligned with the new British Standard BS 8555 which provides a phased incremental approach to ISO 14001 and EMAS that companies can take at their own speed.

Phased recognition in line with the British Standard is possible is possible at each of the six phases. CIRIA hope that BS 8555 will become the recognised benchmark of environmental performance within the construction supply chain, using the Easy Access Environmental Management package to make this easier to achieve.

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