A construction environmental management plan, also known as a (CEMP) is a document that you will need to submit as part of an application to develop a construction project.

Local authorities will request this documentation before making a decision on your project. In today’s eco-conscious world, being environmentally aware by using sustainable construction practices is crucial. It elevates your reputation and standing within the industry too!

But, there’s no need to worry, we’ll cover all the basics in this blog, explaining how you should develop a CEMP that ticks all the boxes.

Construction environmental management plans explained

One of the main objectives of a CEMP is to showcase how a construction project will minimise its environmental impact. Compliance is also a big factor – your CEMP should offer detailed guidelines on how all construction work being delivered will meet the requirements of relevant legislation. Without a CEMP, you run the risk of having your planning permission application refused, so creating a detailed plan is central to your chances of success.

Consider the following points when developing your CEMP

Whilst your CEMP needs to be compliant and thorough, it should also be a reflection of your company’s environmental values and policies. Why? Well, this shows local authorities that you are a forward-thinking planner and that the environmental impact of any work has been carefully considered during the development stage of your CEMP.

Consider your construction environmental management plan as a document that sells the positive elements of your project too. Proactivity is a good approach to have. Include details on how your project will

Strong construction management plans offer practical guidelines, detailing the processes and procedures that will be adhered to on-site throughout the construction project. When developing your CEMP, it’s important to consider all of the following:

  • The environmental management system requirements
  • How your project complies with planning requirements, such as Section 106
  • Details of on-site processes and procedures
  • Developing method statements specific to the construction project
Young maintenance engineer team working in wind turbine farm at sunset

What to include in your CEMP?

Consider your construction environmental management plan as a document that not only illustrates compliance and risk management, but that sells the positive elements of your project too. Proactivity is a good approach to have, as it shows local authorities you’ve thought of all potential hazards and that you have processes in place to negate any adverse impact.

The location of your project will inform many aspects of what your CEMP entails. The considerations will be vastly different if your project is situated in a rural setting as opposed to a city centre. There may be cultural and social protections or rules in place that you will need to be mindful of.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to be as thorough as possible and cover all areas, even if the potential risk is extremely small. Local authorities scrutinise construction management plans in detail, and it could be a deciding factor in granting you the permission you desire.

Your CEMP should include procedures relating to the following aspects:

  • How will you prevent the impact on public health?
  • What measures will be taken to reduce hazard risks?
  • Are there considerations for vehicle access?
  • What working hours do you intend to operate between?
  • Is the project area in a densely populated location? What noise and vibrations impact will this have?
  • How will you rescue risk to any surrounding natural habitats and wildlife?
  • Can you demonstrate how your project will impact air pollution?
  • Have the details of the project and any disruption impact been communicated to the public?
  • How will the CEMP be monitored?

Here’s a little more detail on each of the points we’ve highlighted below…

Public health

People and communities should always remain at the heart of your project. Minimising disruption to people’s daily lives and protecting the health of the local and natural environment is the core focal point to consider.

Hazard risk

Hazards can’t always be avoided, but they can be managed. How will the project control any hazards and minimise them where possible?

silhouette of man in hardhat on scaffolding against blue sky

Vehicle access

Traffic access may be impacted, causing disruption to lots of residents or commuters. Equally, heavy construction vehicles and equipment can cause damage to the local environment, what are the measures you propose to reduce any associated risks?

Working hours

Regardless of the proximity of your development, construction work is extremely loud and can be heard from afar. Early morning working hours are likely to be met with strong opposition from local residents. Can your project working hours strike a balance between good productivity and satisfying the public? It is also important to note that enforcement action can be taken by a local authority if working hours are not adhered to during the construction work, so compliance is essential!

Noise limitations

Any construction work involves noise and vibrations, it simply can’t be avoided. But, it can be managed to minimise the disruption to any local residents or workers in the area. Showing consideration for the local community will always help your case during the CEMP application process.

Natural habitats and conservation

If your project is located in the countryside, there are lots of inclusions to make in your environmental management plan that demonstrate the impact of geological factors. What will the landscape look like upon completion of your project? Are there local rivers or lakes that will be disturbed by your work? Contaminating land or water can be classed as a serious breach of environmental regulations, so it’s vital to outline in detail your measures to tackle this.

Air pollution

How will the dust generated from your project impact local communities? Dust prevention may seem a tall order, so perhaps an alternative arrangement can be proposed to negate the impact on any local residents and their property.

Clear communication

All construction management plans should give the public an advance warning of the project work that will take place. It’s likely to have some form of disruption to people’s lives, whether it’s a change in route when driving to work, or noise at certain times of the day. Being clear with your communication gives people the chance to make any adjustments to their routine they may need to. It also reduces the likelihood of complaints being lodged.

Monitor and evaluate your CEMP

A good CEMP requires frequent evaluation of how the project is progressing and how guidelines are being met. Your construction management plan should offer guidelines on how you will maintain adherence to the outlined steps of the plan.

Am I legally obliged to complete a CEMP?

In short, it’s not always the case, but not having one can majorly dent your chances of planning approval. Major developments are required to showcase a CEMP, due to the extensive natrue of their work. Smaller construction projects may not require one, but, we recommend following the guidance outlined in this blog and submitting a CEMP regardless. It’s good practice, it shows through and consideration and it illustrates your commitment to environmental management – all three of these areas will benefit how your organisation is viewed!

Get help completing your CEMP with Smas Worksafe

So, you’ve probably learned throughout this blog that developing a CEMP isn’t a quick task. Due diligence, legal considerations, environmental awareness…you’ll need to dedicate time and attention to getting your construction environmental management plan up to standard.

Enlisting the help of a third-party company with experts who can help you develop your CEMP to meet the standards it needs to. So, to take some of the pressure away, we’re here to lend a helping hand with our expert guidance and assistance.

The Common Assessment Standard (CAS) includes questions that will ask you about your environmental practices and what steps you’ve taken to meet environmental management standards.

Request a quote to find out how we can help streamline the pre-qualification process with the Common Assessment Standard today.

Whilst you’re here, why not check out our dedicated training course offerings? We provide specialist training courses for the following areas.

Our courses are all delivered 100% online, delivered by a CITB-qualified instructor. You can call us on 01752 697370 to speak to one of our professional experts or send us a query using our contact form to enquire about CAS or any of our other services.