Guidance on the costing of environmental pollution from construction (C565)

The construction industry poses a significant threat to the UK environment. Construction companies are responsible for more pollution incidents than any other industry sector. In other sectors incidents are decreasing; in construction they have increased by 20 per cent since 1996. One reason for the construction industrys lack of progress in reducing pollution is because it is thought to have little business impact. Prosecutions are relatively infrequent and fines are generally low. Prosecutions and fines are not the only cost of pollution incidents, however. Requirements for cleaning up polluted sites are 10 times as common as prosecutions. As well as clean-up costs, project delays and management time, incidents can affect a companys reputation with clients, regulators and the public. These costs can be between five and 10 times higher than fines. Information on pollution costs can help construction companies to judge how best to address the risks and reduce the business impacts. This guidance sets out simple methods for evaluating pollution potential and costs during pre-contract risk assessment. It can also be used to analyse information on your own pollution incidents and build up a database to inform future decisions on environmental investment. Pollution poses increasing business risks. Using this guidance can help you to manage those risks effectively.

Key words: water quality, pollution prevention, materials, design and buildability, building technology.

ISBN: 978-0-86017-565-0

Author: M Postle and J Vernon

Number of pages: 126 (paperback)

Publisher: CIRIA

Date of Publication: December 2001