The construction sector is indisputably one of the most rapidly progressing sectors since the industrial revolution, primarily due to the increasing population of the country and its race to progress from a developing nation to a developed economy. While the construction sector has positively contributed to our country’s economy, it has also dealt with continuously changing environmental legislation and policies to meet the demands of environmental sustainability.
We are all aware that area development is the need of a developing nation like India; it is equally vital to execute the construction activities in compliance with the environmental rules in place.
The following points constitute a chronological outline of the various action items, which can be incorporated during various stages of any developmental project to aid timely execution and delivery together with achieving green development in an environmentally sustainable manner.
A. Project Conceptualization
- This is the most crucial and fundamental step towards the commencement of any project. An in-depth environmental due diligence assessment should be carried out by the prospective developer to examine any environmental liabilities during each phase of the proposed activities in relation to the site of interest.
- This step will also include identifying any potential enviro-legal pitfalls and identifying and detailing the remedial measures towards mitigating the same.
- A remedial roadmap should be outlined in order to address and mitigate the environmental liabilities found in the design phase. This phase should also highlight any potential liabilities that might arise during the later phases of the project and suggest remedial measures to address the same.
B. Design Stage
- With a view to encouraging resource savings, developers shall be encouraged to conform to project-specific guidelines set forth by IGBC, GRIHA, LEED, etc., to ensure sustainable development.
- The project should incorporate Energy Conservation Building Compliance (ECBC) parameters.
- Pollution control equipment is to be designed considering the proposed project occupancy in order to maximize the benefits to the end-user upon project handover.
- Identifying and providing maximum feasible green space in the development area so as to improve the aesthetic value of the project and also help create a natural acoustic barrier.
Developers shall also be given site-specific recommendations to prevent flooding and water logging.
Recommendations shall also be given for implementing site-specific rainwater harvesting measures.
C. Obtaining Approvals
Thorough due diligence of the entire project cycle to identify its maximum development potential will be carried out. This will help to obtain specific approvals for each stage of the project; obtaining such timely approvals will help conform to the projected construction timelines and will avoid any potential amendments to such approvals and consequent delays.
D. Construction Phase
- Appropriate remedial measures for various environmental issues arising primarily from air pollution due to dust generated during construction activities and noise generated from the use of various equipment.
- Enforcing appropriate environmental monitoring at regular intervals to identify pollution levels and design and execute various mitigation measures to reduce pollution at the source.
- Regular environmental audits to be conducted by the environmental auditor/ assessor to check the on-ground implementation of services/ conditions agreed to under various approvals.
- Regularly submitting environment compliance reports to the statutory authority to help assess the on-ground environmental pollution status of the project and to accordingly regulate the mitigation measures being implemented
E. Post-Construction/ Operation Phase
Continuous monitoring and regular site visits by empanelled assessors to monitor the operation and maintenance of allied environmental services like sewage treatment plants (STP), organic waste converter (OWC) etc.
Periodic submission of compliance reports and conducting regular environmental monitoring through MOEF&CC and NABL-recognized laboratories.
A CPEC or such guideline can help a development project to be environmentally sustainable & compliant. It can also ensure that the project can be completed on ascertained timelines, which in turn helps balance the environment & development.
Such CPEC can also be customized by experts in the field as per actual project requirements.