construction environmental management plan

Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP): How to Protect Your Assets

What is a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)? A CEMP helps you protect your environmental assets to manage and minimize risks and asset devaluations, reduce costs, and position your assets for long-term profitability. To use CEMPs in the best way, you need to know what it takes to create a CEMP and how it can help you understand environmental risks from the start.

What is a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)?

Construction and the built environment affect a development’s surrounding environment in different ways. Building construction can cause various pollutants, such as noise, air, water, and land pollution. If not properly managed, these can lead to environmental hazards such as groundwater contamination, air pollution, and land erosion.

Not only does this impact building occupants, it can also have wider, societal health effects and can seriously damage local ecosystems and landscapes.

For example, the construction industry is responsible for 25% of non-industrial waste created in the United States. The World Green Building Council reports that buildings can, among other things, be responsible for the release of toxic dust such as silica and hardwood. Some figures point to the fact that the construction industry contributes to 40% of drinking water pollution and 50% of landfill wastes.

In short, construction has a big impact on our environment. That’s why it’s so important that proper environmental planning is undertaken.

Let’s take a look at a concrete example of what the effect of construction can be:

Say your project is a high-end hotel. Protecting your environmental assets is not just important from a CSR or asset-protection perspective or to protect public health. Customers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for eco-hotels, which means that by protecting the surrounding environment, you also invest in the profitability of your business.

The same goes for all types of development projects: Residential and commercial buildings, recreational buildings, industrial buildings, and so on.

What CEMPs include

At Alpin, our mission is to make the built environment sustainable. With the world’s supply of natural resources in rapid decline, we believe that it is vital to protect environmental assets from degradation.

But protecting the environment is not only important for conservation purposes and to preserve it for future generations. No, minimizing environmental degradation also helps future-proof your assets because environmental degradation affects land and building value and is a risk to people’s health.

The purpose of a CEMP is to outline how a construction project will avoid, minimize and mitigate its environmental impact. In many countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, a CEMP is a statutory requirement for building or construction permits.

CEMPs include different subject areas depending on the project. For example, these can be air quality, water quality, noise/vibration, soil, landscape, nature conservation, cultural heritage, people, waste, energy, transport, and materials.

What does a CEMP outline look like?

CEMPs are created by expert consultants and submitted as part of the environmental impact assessment process. Throughout the project’s life cycle, CEMPs are updated on a regular basis. A CEMP includes:

  • A description of the site location, its surrounding environment, and the construction works to be undertaken.
  • An analysis of long and short-term environmental impacts (both direct and indirect). These include environmental hazards and risks. Risk assessment should include an analysis of how likely these risks are and their consequences.
  • Proposed measures to be implemented and an environmental plan, including timeframes and performance targets or outcomes.
  • Requirements for planning conditions.
  • Legislative requirements.

Now, every project has its own requirements and with a knowledgeable consultant, you will be able to effectively identify your project’s environmental impact.

CEMPs in the future

The construction industry is getting more digitized. That means that solutions like CEMPs can, increasingly, be improved with technology for more precise insights. New solutions in this space, like software, will continue to give access to better tools. And, what’s more, with increased data, these solutions can be made smarter and more effective.

With our innovation department, Alpin Innovation Labs, we are continuously integrating new technology into our services. For example, we offer drone inspections, which can be used over large areas in order to assess environmental degradation. We also use software for better and more accurate environmental planning. These technological solutions help us create environmental mitigation plans that are better positioned to understand environmental risks.

The benefits of a Construction Environmental Management Plan

Now you know what a CEMP is. But why, exactly, is it so important for your construction project?

First and foremost, CEMPs are often a statutory requirement. It’s an absolute necessity for getting your building permit, rather than a “nice-to-have.” That said, CEMPs have a range of various benefits, such as improved ROI and cost-savings.

ROI and property value

A CEMP helps prevent degradation of the environment around your building. As you improve your assets, the value of your property will also increase. For income-bringing assets, such as hotels, residential and commercial properties, the cleanliness of the environment can have a direct impact on your ROI.

Cost-savings

By ensuring that you understand the risks and have an environmental plan, you make sure that no unexpected costs arise. For example, land erosion could lead to massive expenses to help protect your assets. By mitigating the risk of erosions already at the construction stage, you prevent these types of costs from arising at a later stage.

Plus, by understanding exactly how your construction project affects the environment, you can properly plan for the most cost-effective solutions to prevent any harm to the environment.

Risk assessment and mitigation

With a well-executed CEMP, you get an understanding of risks so that you can prepare for them. These include safety risks, PR risks, and risks to the environment. In the end, understanding these risks can be consequential for your bottom line.

Combined benefits

And finally, if combined with other environmental services, CEMPs can have an even bigger impact on your project. For example, CEMPs together with a LEED certification and ensures that your building and its surrounding environment save costs, improve your ROI, and positions your project for both short and long-term gains.

Case studies: How CEMPs are used

As part of our environmental management services, we offer CEMPs to our clients. With multiple years of experience in this field, we know what goes into a successful CEMP. Here are some of the ways in which our clients have used CEMPs to understand and prevent environmental degradation:

Makers District Project

The Makers District, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi, is a mixed-use waterfront development with a total site area of 189,580 square meters built for a generation of creatives. The development is envisioned to accommodate multi-unit residential buildings, mixed-use residential developments, a hotel, office buildings, religious facilities, a waterfront promenade, pedestrian and cycling networks, and other amenities. We created a CEMP to map out and eliminate environmental threats.

The Grove

Our team supported The Grove on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, with our CEMP services. The Grove is a development that features 60,000 square meters of retail, entertainment, and leisure spaces. It will include 606 residential buildings, 200 retail outlets, and various amenities.

Media Zone

Media Zone is a media zone campus on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, that will be recognized globally for media, entertainment, and creative activities. The development consists of two plots and is considered a MEGA project size. The plots will host a media city site with two structures, one on each plot. A development project of this scope requires high-quality CEMP services, which Alpin provided.

Downtown Views

Downtown Views in Zaabeel Second, Dubai, is a cluster of three residential towers with retail activity on the ground floor. It includes various amenities, like a swimming pool, gym, and children’s play area. Tower 1 comprises 66 floors, tower 2 of 61 floors, and tower 3 of 53 floors. We created a CEMP as part of this project.

Want to learn more?

There you have it. Now you know why a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) is necessary for your construction project and how it can help you prevent environmental degradation and protect your assets.

While a CEMP often is a statutory requirement, it also comes with several benefits. If used together with other green building services, such as LEED, environmental planning can have an even bigger positive impact on your construction project.

Want to learn more? Get in touch to learn more about how our CEMP services can help your project achieve its full potential.