Environmental management construction site regulations

The Building & Construction Agency is tasked with ensuring compliance and enforcement of the subsidiary legislation that limits environmental degradation


The Building & Construction Agency (BCA) is tasked with ensuring compliance and enforcement of the subsidiary legislation that limits environmental degradation. The Environmental Management Construction Site Regulations have been devised to reduce the harm caused to the environment, through appropriate construction management practices.

This legislation stipulates various requirements that construction sites must adhere to, in order to limit their impact on the surrounding areas. These include: proper waste disposal, reducing pollution, ensuring public safety and causing the least nuisance to the public.

Schedule III of the legislation specifies how construction must not pollute the environment in any way. Noise pollution has long been an issue in the country; mostly emanating from traffic and construction sites. These regulations state that permissible working hours are from 7am to 8pm, given that the construction works generate noise that can be heard from outside the site boundary.

Moreover, the use of pneumatic hammer must cease between 2pm and 4pm. On the other hand, when construction works exceed a distance of 1km from the nearest habitable space, the site is not subject to any of these constraints.

These regulations stipulate various waste management requirements. These include the transportation of loose building materials, which must be stored in rigid sealed containers while loading or unloading. When doing so results in obstruction of public access along the site frontage, the contractor must be authorised by the local council.

Moreover, adequate facilities and measures shall be undertaken to ensure that the site and its immediate vicinity are kept clean. Clearing of any waste material is to be done in a routine manner; quickly and effectively. Disposing of such waste shall not cause any damage or spillage to public areas or third-party property. It should also be carried out using receptacles that are fully enclosed or using open skips which are securely covered with any material that prevents the dispersal of dust particles.

Furthermore, all waste material must be guided into an enclosed shaft or chute. All waste material shall be removed from the immediate vicinity of the site by the owner and suitably disposed of daily, unless the Site Manager can provide sufficient reasons to justify an extension of this period. For instance, when sanding takes place, dust emissions must be controlled by equipping all mechanical equipment with dust extraction and recovery systems.

Consequently, the BCA limits environmental degradation by enforcing measures that must be taken when any material that may be hazardous to the environment or the public is created. It is vital that such materials are stored and isolated to prevent contamination of the site and surrounding areas. This is paramount, especially due to the possible contamination of potable water courses due to storm water, particularly with regards to hazardous waste which is water soluble or may become airborne. Surface run off can easily pollute and damage the surrounding environment, since it contaminates road surfaces, clogs water drains and transports waste into marine environments.

Thus, in order to prevent this, owners are obligated to equip the site with collection sumps and pumps, which collect any water discharged within the site, avoiding contamination to surrounding areas. In such cases, where hazardous material is stored on site, an A4 sized caution sign indicating such must be erected on the street boundary of the site, adjacent to the notice board or billboard, as defined in Schedule I.

The agency enforces these regulations by issuing fines to individuals contravening any of the provisions of this legislation. These depend on the Schedule in question and may even result in ceasing operations and criminal proceedings.

Furthermore, in accordance with the Environment Protection Act, a proportion of the funds collected from these contraventions is to be placed in the Environment Fund. Through this regulatory framework, the BCA aims at fostering a more environmentally friendly and sustainable construction sector.

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