Were you inspired by the environmental management solutions in AGC’s Earth Day Exclusive to develop your own environmental program? The environmental compliance and sustainability resources and management tools on the AGC-supported online Construction Industry Compliance Assistance (CICA) Center can help you get started.
The CICA Center is a virtual clearing house of information on the top rules you will need to keep track of through your environmental program, and it houses the “EMS Toolkit” with guidance on developing a basic environmental program and/or a full environmental management system (EMS). AGC members helped develop the resources in the EMS Toolkit to give you a head start on pulling together a program for your company. Some resources, like the 2014 draft of the Contractor’s Guide to Developing an Environmental Program, will be revisited and enriched as members provide their feedback and tips. Whereas the in-depth guidelines and template documents, developed in 2004, are “evergreen” resources. Click here to go directly to the EMS Toolkit.
The 2014 Contractor’s Guide to Developing an Environmental Program on the CICA Center provides simple and practical steps to evaluate your company’s need for an environmental program, how comprehensive that program will need to be, and how to start putting one in place for your company. It identifies seven core elements of an environmental program with ten additional elements that will move your company to an increasingly advanced level of environmental management. In addition, the guide provides three levels of achievement for each element (including the core seven). These achievement levels provide further flexibility and complexity moving from the basics at Foundation Level 1 to Value Added Level 2 and then to Sustainability Level 3, which is the most comprehensive level.
The guide also provides steps for you to consider — such as staff time and costs related to the program, evaluating your company’s environmental risk, etc. — as you go through the development process to ensure your environmental program is the right size and meets your company’s distinct needs. A Foundation Level 1 program, for example, is almost exclusively a project-level tool, whereas more comprehensive levels elevate the environmental program to a company-wide tool that is applied to projects.
Here are the seven core elements of an environmental program as identified in the guide and their descriptions for the Foundation Level 1:
- Environmental policy- written policy primarily focused on compliance;
- Environmental aspects- impacts identified at the project level;
- Legal and other requirements- applicable requirements identified at the project level;
- Resources, roles, and responsibilities- project level assignment of responsibilities and use of external expertise;
- Competence training and awareness- training coordinated at the project level;
- Control of documents- documents controlled according to project document control procedures; and
- Evaluation of performance- field inspections conducted at the project level.
The resources on the CICA Center can help you identify your environmental aspects (#2 above), track down legal and other requirements (#3 above), and provide material for your training and awareness efforts (#5 above). The CICA Center includes information on the numerous environmental requirements and issues that broadly affect construction operations and would likely find a way into your program, such as —
- Air emissions (including dust, diesel engines, generators, and open burning);
- Construction and demolition debris (including recycling);
- Endangered species;
- Green building (including energy codes);
- Hazardous and toxic waste (including lead-based paint);
- Oil spill prevention and planning;
- Safety and health;
- Stormwater; and
- Wetlands/water bodies.
The CICA Center also provides helpful tools, such as an easily searchable library, a compliance summary tool, an environmental services directory, and the EMS Toolkit. AGC and its partners continue to add information and value to the CICA Center. We will add the tips shared in the AGC’s Earth Day Exclusive to the EMS Toolkit to complement the case studies already posted to the toolkit. Once you complete your environmental program or EMS and you would like to share your story, please contact us to add your case study to the toolkit. AGC also appreciates any feedback or tips you may have on the EMS development process or guides (see contact information below).
For additional information or questions about the CICA Center or environmental management programs and systems, contact AGC’s Melinda Tomaino at or (703) 837-5415. You also can send your EMS case study, feedback, or tips directly to Ms. Tomaino.
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Please consider supporting the free, publically available resources on the CICA Center through an annual sponsorship. If you’re interested in learning more about this new supporter program, please contact Ms. Tomaino (firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 837-5415).