At CONSTRUCTION we acknowledge the rapidly growing recognition that our built and natural environments must work in harmony with each other, and we support this initiative. We further recognize that the construction industry as a whole historically gave insufficient consideration to this notion. As such, we believe that we now have a responsibility, as an industry and as individual corporations, to rapidly inform ourselves of this growing need and to make up for lost ground. To this end, we are members of the CaGBC (Canada Green Building Council) and are fully participating in the LEED (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design) accreditation program which provides the industry with tools to make building more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient.
We believe that the correct implementation of environmentally responsible and sustainable measures starts with an attitude. Not unlike our attitude towards safety, we believe good environmental practices are, simply put, good business – they go hand in hand. For any environment, business or natural, to be sustainable it must, in our opinion, demonstrate and exercise a constant commitment to the common good. This manifests itself in a fundamental respect for the resources in play such as the team members, the materials in use, and the net impact of our work on the surrounding environment. We further believe that this is highly compatible with our Mission Statement.
Contrary to some current schools of thought, we don’t accept that the responsibility for good environmental practices rests solely with large corporations and governments. Although these entities can and should play a lead role, we can all have a positive impact. For CONSTRUCTION, it is at times as simple as recycling office paper to use both sides of every sheet rather than to throw out draft and duplicate documents. On a slightly larger scale we scan almost all documents into our server and distribute documents electronically wherever possible. In fact, our outgoing faxes have decreased by an estimated 80% over the past two years and our printing of construction documents has been reduced by nearly as much simply through electronic distribution. We are currently modifying our server to permit on-line access to construction documents for all our trades. We have even written a clause into all of our standard sub-contract Scopes of Work which states, “wherever practical, shop drawings are to be submitted electronically through e-mail, in a PDF format”. In the field this translates into aggressive management of demolition and waste material. On two recent major interior demolition projects we sent nearly 100% of all steel stud, drywall, copper, and electrical cabling to recycling through the negotiated cooperation of a construction disposal-bin supplier and a recycling depot.
With respect to energy saving methodology, as contractors, we typically find ourselves being invited to quote something which a design team has already specified, and nothing can replace the value of good design input. However we are not in the least bit uncomfortable about politely offering suggestions. We are constantly evaluating costs as part of our daily business – we can’t help it – it’s what we do. To this end, we find that most owners and design teams are very receptive to hearing, from a contractor’s perspective, about options which may be available to them and which could have short and/or long term benefits to their investment. In fact, we invite trades on a regular basis to propose alternate products which reduce initial cost, construction scheduling, maintenance cost and/or energy consumption.
With this type of continued input, owners and their team of professionals can then make informed decisions based on a broader range of input, including environmental impact, LEED design standards, and potential energy savings.