Updated: Feb 9, 2022
ISO 14001 for Construction Industry (Why Builders Should Consider ISO 14001)
There are about 400’000 construction businesses in Australia, which employ more than a million workers across the country. The industry is currently growing rapidly and its performance is forecast to gradually improve over the next five years. (IBIS World).
However, construction industry activities usually consume enormous natural resources, and the majority of construction activities cause a lot of environmental impacts. To overcome and prevent these problems, it is necessary to carry out a particular standardization and implement strategies to minimise these unwanted impacts.
The trend and rapid development of the global and local construction industry do contribute to the increase in construction projects and, thus, the need for efficient and reliable systems, policies and procedures to reduce negative footprints. Meanwhile, customers are considering the impact of their decisions on the environment more than ever and being sustainable will not be a luxury add-on anymore.
Thankfully, International Standard Organisation (ISO) has developed a set of standards to address environmental aspects of running businesses and a guideline to establish a sustainable business. This set of standards allows the construction industry to thrive with minimum harming the surrounding environment.
Population growth generates demand for new housing and accommodation in Australia. Low-interest rates and the need for the infrastructure for growing population also fuel the construction industry in Australia. As the country started to rebound from COVID-19 pandemic, the demand and spending on the construction industry are growing as well.
More construction projects mean more efficient ways of working will be needed. #ISO14001 as an Environmental Management System is to provide direction to this industry to set up a sustainable and accountable business. ISO 14001 exists to overcome and prevent various environmental problems that can arise due to the rapidly growing construction industry.
ISO 14001 is an international standard system assessing waste management systems and environmental management; and when applied to the Building and Construction industry, underscores how the ISO standard promotes sustainable development, and at the same time, provides requirements for technical and functional performance.
Why Builders Should Consider ISO 14001?
Many construction companies still underestimate the ISO 14001 and prioritize short-term work management efficiency and product quality. Whereas companies must consider the environmental management system because the construction operations usually use materials and processes that have a high potential to damage the surrounding environment.
Implementing ISO 14001 in the building industry will provide not only technical benefits but also social, economic and environmental benefits for industry, regulators and even consumers.
ISO 14001 will encourage construction companies to implement good business practices, optimal resource management and limit negative impacts on the environment.
The application of ISO 14001 also focuses on industrial processes that risk environmental pollution around the manufacturing sites. It is designed to help businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities and impacts.
It can also help you to grow sustainably while reducing the environmental impact of this growth.
There are several things that the construction industry must know to minimize the risk of environmental pollution and implement ISO 14001 in their company, including:
Industrial processes from upstream to downstream (supplier check)
Any risk of pollution resulting from the production processes or operations (Contractors)
How to classify the waste generated from the production processes or operations
What facilities are being used to classify the waste
Waste management is a crucial part of this standard and helps builders to save money, generate less landfill and improve their image to their customers.
Waste Management Guideline should be used as a resource by builders and developers to assist in assessing likely waste generation from construction projects and identifying ways to divert any waste generated from landfill.
Benefits of Implementing ISO 14001 for the Construction Industry
Implementing ISO 14001 in the construction industry is getting more essential. Because after all, the construction sector has to deal with issues such as environment and its impact on buildings, and vice versa, namely how the construction industry impacts the environment.
ISO 14001 is also important to ensure that the energy efficiency of buildings, measurement methods and building products are in accordance with international standards.
Here are the benefits of ISO 14001 for construction/building companies:
The company's recognition in the international arena (ISO 14001 is an internationally recognised standard and used in more than 150 countries), thereby increasing business potential (can improve the company's image)
Expenditure costs can be further minimized so that profits can be further increased (reducing production costs)
Construction companies can create and maintain good relationships with important stakeholders such as the government, contractors and investors because the company has received ISO 14001 (international certification recognition)
Can maintain good relations with the community and environmental organizations so that companies can ensure that operations and business processes can run well
Provide assurance to consumers regarding the management's commitment to the environment (increasing the level of consumer confidence)
Reduce potential negative impacts on the environment
Improve the level of compliance with applicable regulations
Facilitate obtaining permits and access to investment
Helping the government in realizing sustainable development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Environmental Management System Based on ISO 14001
Based on the various primary objectives above, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System can encourage the construction industry to increase the role of companies in environmental management. This is done through various processes in a more structured and sustainable manner.
The series of processes are as follows:
1. Commitment and Policy
Organizations or construction companies must clearly commit to increasing their important role in the environment. One of them is proven by establishing and formulating various appropriate policies.
In this regard, the greatest responsibility lies with the management at the top level.
The next step is planning. In this case, the construction company will initially identify what environmental problems will arise as a result of its industrial operations. So at this stage, a construction company must be able to determine what negative potential will arise later.
Then, the company will research various aspects of the more significant problems and determine various ways to solve them based on a priority scale. The company can set multiple goals and targets.
3. Implementation or Application
Construction companies must apply the plan factually by utilizing all required resources. This could include outreach to increase environmental awareness among employees, publishing operating procedures, creating communication lines externally and internally, compiling documentation, and others.
The next ISO 14001 process is evaluation. This means that construction companies need to review the implementation of their ISO 14001 plan in order to ensure the achievement of the company's goals that have been previously set.
If the goals have not been achieved, then the company must immediately make any necessary adjustments. However, if the previous targets have been achieved sufficiently, the company can determine new goals and targets.
The company management must review the evaluation results to find out the important role of the Environmental Management System and the effectiveness of the Environmental Management System that the company has applied. This stage is also crucial to ensure the relevance and accuracy of the ISO 14001 procedures applied in the company.
The five processes above are cyclical. These cycles must continue to run well so that companies will make improvements and progress continuously.
Conclusion: Do Building Companies Need ISO 14001?
Those who must have ISO 14001 certification are companies or organizations that want to build, improve or maintain an environmental management system to comply with applicable policies and standards. Therefore, a building company that already has ISO 14001 certification is a business that has shown dedication and commitment in its management system to be able to apply environmental awareness to company values.
In addition, the benefit of having ISO 14001 is that it can make customers or consumers, the community and the government appreciate their business entities for the sake of business progress. In fact, the company will also be able to improve its positive image because it participates in maintaining environmental security.
More than that, this certification will also make the company save more money because it can conserve energy and material resources. It is also a mandatory requirement in many local and federal government tenders.
Benefits of ISO 14001 for construction/building companies: The company's recognition in the international arena, thereby increasing business potential (can improve the company's image) Expenditure costs can be further minimized so that profits can be further increased (reducing production costs) Construction companies can create and maintain good relationships with important stakeholders such as the government, contractors and investors because the company has received ISO 14001 (international certification recognition) Can maintain good relations with the community and environmental organizations so that companies can ensure that operations and business processes can run well Provide assurance to consumers regarding the management's commitment to the environment (increasing the level of consumer confidence) Reduce potential negative impacts on the environment Improve the level of compliance with applicable regulations Facilitate obtaining permits and access to investment Helping the government in realizing sustainable development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)