May 15, 2018

Why it pays for investors to care about surroundings of the construction site

Why it pays for investors to care about surroundings of the construction site

Performance of construction works gives rise to many nuisances, especially for residents of areas adjacent to the construction site. Noise, pollution or dust are only some of builders’ sins. Investors who do not wish to anger future neighbours should care for their comfort during construction. Much attention is paid to that problem especially by entities aspiring for a BREEAM or LEED certificate. One requisite for the award of such certificates is observance of specific standards, also at the stage of construction, and investors may require such observance from builders.

The obligation to keep the construction site clean applies to the contractor

The investor should demand that the general contractor follow good practices while implementing construction works. Certain firms, even before starting the construction, notify neighbours of the works to be realized, e.g. by dispatch of letters. In the same way, they inform about upcoming construction stages which are going to be be especially cumbersome. One should also take care to reduce fluid release or ensure safe passage next to the construction site. It might also be the case that, as compensation for the nuisances related to the investment, the contractor carries out minor repair works in the neighbourhood. However, not all firms follow good practices. The problem of irresponsible implementation of construction works is partly regulated by legislation.

“Under the Act on Maintenance of Cleanness and Order in Municipalities of 13 September 1996, the obligation to maintain order at the construction site applies to the site manager. The contractor must follow the provisions of the Act as though it were the actual owner of the property. Unfortunately, the said legislation does not eliminate all problems relating to works at the construction site, but imposes on the contractor the duty to care for the order in areas surrounding the realized investment,” says Jacek Kosiński from the law firm Jacek Kosiński Advocates and Legal Advisers.

At each construction site, the contractor is obliged, among other things, to keep building waste in dedicated containers, and to remove mud, snow, ice or other contamination from sidewalks along the property (construction site, in this case). Care for order in the vicinity of the construction site may protect the investor, e.g., from compensation suits for health impairments caused, for instance, by stumbling against unsecured materials or machinery, or slipping on the sidewalk.

Restrictive certification requirements

Such practices, which generally depend on the contractors’ good will, must be followed where a BREEAM or LEED certificate is sought. Award of either necessitates fulfilment of many restrictive conditions, relating also to proper implementation of works at the construction site. As far as the BREEAM certificate is concerned, award of a point for innovation requires preparation of a checklist with such items as monitoring and reporting energy, water and CO2 consumption related to transport to and from the construction site. To determine the CO2 emission, it is necessary to report the number of deliveries, the type of transport and the number of kilometres travelled. To obtain a certificate, it is also necessary to implement best practices of preventing air pollution and protecting ground- and surface water. On the other hand, award of the LEED certificate requires, among other things, protecting the construction site and neighbouring areas from land erosion and limiting transport of pollutants from the construction materials and operations to the adjacent areas. For that purpose, it is necessary to apply, e.g., sandbags or straw blocks around the construction site. It is also important to arrange a washing station for construction vehicles and a place for the storage of materials, and to maintain a high standard of air quality during the construction process.

Source: Jacek Kosiński Advocates and Legal Advisers.

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