REALWorld Law

Construction

Environmental assessment and sustainability

What type of legislation exists dealing with environmental issues affecting building works and with promoting sustainable developments?

Angola

Angola

In Angola, the Framework Environment Law – Law No. 5/98, of 19 June 2015 – provides the basic principles of preserving and protecting the environment, of promoting quality of life and the rational use of natural resources, in accordance with Constitutional Law.

The main legislation dealing with environmental issues affecting building works and with promoting sustainable developments is the following:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment Law – Decree No. 51/04, of 23 July 2004, as amended by Executive Decree 241/16, of 25 May 2016, which lays down the rules and procedures related to the environmental impact assessment of public and private projects
  • Environmental Licensing Law – Decree No. 59/07, of 13 July 2007 – which governs environmental licensing of activities which, by their nature, location or size are likely to cause significant environmental and social impact, and
  • Regulation on Liability for Environmental Damage – Presidential Decree No. 194/11 of 7 July 2011

There are also some relevant statutes on waste management, water pollution control, liability for environmental damage and environmental protection in the course of oil activities.

Australia

Australia

Water

Water quality is protected by water-related State Acts and Regulations which control issues such as pollution, surface water, groundwater and discharge to sewers.

Waste

A wide range of duty-of-care legislation controls the generation, transportation and disposal of waste. Every business is legally obliged to ensure its waste is handled and disposed of safely. State environmental protection legislation requires that commercial construction projects have a site waste management plan, to be kept updated throughout the project.

Environmental impact assessments

Under state local planning legislation, a construction project likely to have significant effect on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location may require an environmental impact assessment before planning permission is granted. There is also Commonwealth legislation (such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) which regulates approvals required for projects which may have an impact on matters of national environmental significance.

Sustainable development

Energy-efficient buildings are becoming an increasing focus for the government, developers, investors, builders and prospective tenants.

A number of green rating schemes currently operate in Australia across a range of development types. The two most prominent are:

  1. The Green Star rating scheme operated by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
  2. The National Australian Built Environment Rating System administered nationally by the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, on behalf of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. (NABERS).

Green Star is a national and voluntary environmental rating scheme. The main categories of Green Star rating evaluate the environmental design of buildings at a conceptual stage and at an as-built stage. The Green Star Communities rating tool assesses the impact of operations on their local community. These rating tools assess a building or a development’s potential to reduce its environmental impact, rather than its operation.

The Green Star Performance rating tool, introduced in October 2013, measures the potential environmental impact of a building in relation to nine building element categories, namely management, indoor environment quality, energy use, transport, water use, land use and ecology, materials, emissions, and innovation in process and design. The Green Star Communities rating tool uses five categories governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.

NABERS is a national performance-based, voluntary rating system for existing buildings, tenancies and homes. It rates an existing building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment.

NABERS has been adopted as the tool for assessing the energy efficiency of buildings for the Commercial Building Disclosure scheme which requires mandatory assessments prior to the leasing, subleasing or sale of commercial buildings of more than 2,000m2.

Construction projects may also be required to meet any sustainable development objectives contained within the relevant regional/area development plan.

Belgium

Belgium

In the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Capital Regions, the European directive regarding ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Directive’ (Directive 85/337/EC, recently consolidated as Directive 2011/92/EU) and ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’ (Directive 2001/12/EC) are applicable to regional law. This means that for certain kinds of individual infrastructure projects, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required and is integrated into the building and/or environmental permit procedure. For zoning plans (plans that define the public planning prescriptions that apply in a certain area), an EIA is also required, except in certain well defined circumstances.

In the Flanders Region, the EIA legislation is contained in the Decree of 5 April 1995 containing the general principles of environmental policy together with its executive decrees.

In the Walloon Region, the EIA for projects and plans is integrated by the Environmental Codex of 27 May 2004 and its Executive Decrees.

In the Brussels Capital Region, the EIA for projects is included in the Environmental Permit Decree of 5 June 1997, and the EIA for plans and programmes is included in the Decree of 18 March 2004 regarding EIA for certain plans and programmes.

It is important to note that this legislation has been modified, since the European Court of Justice ruled in a judgement of 24 March 2011 (C-435/09, European Commission/ Belgium), that the EIA legislation in the Regions was not in compliance with EU law. By the Decree of 23 March 2012 the Flemish Region adapted its EIA regulation to comply with the judgement. From now on, smaller-scale projects that previously were excluded from the EIA requirement, will be screened for the need for a full EIA. This means that currently, there are EIA-mandatory projects, EIA-exempt projects and projects requiring screening in the Flemish Region.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Law on Urban Development Land and the Law on Environmental Protection contain provisions which deal with environmental issues affecting building works.

Canada

Canada

General

Most provinces and territories have their own Environmental Assessment Act. In addition, there is a federal act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act applies to designated projects and provides for input from certain authorities on the environmental protection that needs to be considered and carried out during a designated project. The act also promotes communication and cooperation with Aboriginal peoples and promotes sustainable development.

Water

The main statute dealing with water quality in Canada is the Canada Water Act, which contains provisions for formal consultation and agreements with the provinces. There are a number of other federal and provincial/territorial statutes and regulations that deal with environmental impact on water and protection of bodies of water.

Waste

A wide range of federal and provincial/territorial legislation controls the generation, transportation, and disposal of waste, including hazardous waste and construction and demolition debris. There may be additional requirements in dealing with the disposal of hazardous materials.

Sustainable Development

Energy-efficient buildings are becoming an increasing focus for the government, developers, investors, builders and prospective tenants.

A number of green rating schemes currently operate in Canada across a range of development types, such as the LEED Canada Rating System and BREEAM.

Construction projects may also be required to meet any sustainable development objectives contained within the relevant regional/area development plan.

China

China

Environmental laws relating to promoting sustainable developments exist at a local level only.

Croatia

Croatia

The Regulation on the Evaluation of the Impact of an Intervention on the Environment regulates the manner in which a study of the impact on the environment has to be made as well as the art of evaluation and final assessment of the envisaged intervention. As of 1 April 2010, all new buildings are required to have an energy certificate. Existing (old) buildings which are sold or leased have to be certified from 1 July 2013.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Environmental protection generally

The environment is protected in particular by:

  • Act No. 114/1992 (the Protection of Nature and Landscape Act)
  • Act No. 17/1992 (the Environmental Act)
  • Act No. 167/2008 (the Enviromental Harm Prevention and Remedy Act)
  • Act No. 334/1992 (theAgricultural Land Fund Protection Act)

Water

Water quality is protected by water related Acts and Regulations which control issues such as pollution, surface water, groundwater and discharge to sewers.

Air

Air quality is protected in particular by the Air Protection Act, which came into effect on 1 September 2012.

Waste

These issues are governed by the Waste Act, as amended.

Environmental impact assessments

The Czech Republic has been bound by the 1991 Convention on the assessment of environmental impact since 2001. In the Czech Republic, this field is regulated mainly by the relevant statute, namely, the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control – IPPC

For a certain group of projects, specifieed by law, such as industrial plants, there is a special process of authorization required. This authorization process, based generally on the principle of best available techniques, is set by European regulation and governed by the Integrated Pollution Prevention Act.

Denmark

Denmark

The Environmental Protection Act, dated 3 September 2018, regulates environmental matters and sustainability on construction. The Act provides conditions on how companies should be aware of the environment when producing and building etc.

France

France

Under French law, in principle, environmental issues are governed by the French Environmental Code (Code de l'environnement). However, some environmental issues are dealt in specific regulations, such as those dealing with the management of hazardous waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Other issues of interest may include the Forest Code and the Constitutional Environmental Charter.

Sustainable development

In recognition of the need for sustainable development, the Grenelle de l'Environnement law, which was passed on 3 August 2009 (Grenelle 1), is aimed, in particular to enable standards for lower energy emission to be applied generally in new housing and public buildings, as well as setting up incentives for the renovation of various facilities.

The Grenelle 2 law, passed on 12 July 2010, also known as the national commitment to the environment, gives effect to the principles and directions laid down by the Grenelle Environmental Forum (Grenelle de l'environnement).

The Grenelle 2 law consists of six 'pillars', one of them being 'improving the energy performance of buildings'. The aim is to reduce the energy consumption of existing buildings by 38% by 2020.

Germany

Germany

In particular, the following legal frameworks deal with environmental assessment and sustainability with regard to various aspects of construction projects, mainly as a consequence of stipulations made by the European Community:

Building and construction materials

In compliance with the EU Construction Products Directive aimed at encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources, the Construction Product Law (Bauproduktengesetz 2015) regulates the use of construction products and the application of the CE conformity mark in relation to the free movement of construction products within the European Community. In addition, other legal frameworks setting out requirements for the actual use of construction products, such as the building codes of the Federal States (Bauordnung), remain applicable.

Energy performance of buildings

The Energy Saving Ordinance (Energieeinsparungsverordnung – ENEV), which is based on the Energy Saving Law (Energieeinsparungsgesetz) sets out a framework to calculate the energy performance of buildings and the setting of minimum energy performance requirements. Separate requirements are set for new and existing buildings. In addition a new scheme of energy certificates has been introduced.

In May 2010, the European Parliament passed a Directive concerning the improvement of the energy efficiency of all buildings from 2021. Thereafter, the European Member States must introduce legislation securing the high standard for all buildings from 2021. Under others new buildings must be supplied with a higher share of renewable energy. This applies for public buildings already from 2018.

The German government worked on a new energy concept with a 10-point immediate action programme (28 September 2010). However, energy saving in buildings is a longer-term project and is therefore not covered in the immediate action programme. It is anticipated to reduce the demand for energy for building by 20% until 2020 and by 80% until 2050. New buildings must comply with the new high standards. Existing buildings have a grace period. The state will introduce incentives, but there will be no penalties. In case the redevelopment of a building to the high standards is uneconomic it is discussed to provide incentives for replacement building.

Both the Energy Saving Law and the Energy Saving Ordinance have been amended in order to achieve higher standards in the energy performance of buildings (the most recent version in force being dated 28 October 2015). There are currently efforts to merge the provisions of the Energy Saving Law and the Energy Saving Ordinance in a Building Energy Act (Gebäude Energie Gesetz). Such a law has not yet been passed but will probably come into effect in mid-2019.

In addition, the Renewable Energy Heating Law (Erneuerbare-Energien-Wärmegesetz), which applies to buildings erected after 1 January 2009 as well as to buildings held by public authorities and fundamentally refurbished after 1 May 2011, ensures that by 2020 at the latest 14% of the heating and hot water energy in Germany will be provided by renewable energy sources. In order to achieve this, the law contains obligations to use renewable energy sources and provisions relating to financial promotion and the expansion of heat networks by local authorities. It entitles the Federal States to implement laws which provide also that existing buildings must use renewable energy sources.

ISO standard for energy efficient buildings (06/06/2011)

The German Institute for Standardisation (Deutsches Institut für Normierung e.V.) as a member of the ISO releases standards which become binding administrative regulations for construction works and products by virtue of references in legal frameworks.

Other standards

The German Society for Sustainable Construction (Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen e.V.) has, together with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, developed a certification system for buildings with regard to energy efficiency, hazardous substances and environmental requirements etc (Deutsches Gütesiegel Nachhaltiges Bauen). This certification system is not (as) yet binding, but may, however, give a competitive advantage. Besides the DGNB certificate, other certificate can be found on the German market such as BREEAM or LEED.

There are several more statutory regulations dealing with dangerous substances and chemicals (ie contaminated sites and ground water) which are, however, not directly linked to sustainable buildings.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

There is government control via:

  • Licensing mechanisms, eg noise control permits, discharge sicences
  • Town planning and building laws
  • Criminal offences prosecuted by government authorities (eg police, Environmental Protection Department, Labour Department).

The main ordinances are:

  • The Air Pollution Control Ordinance which regulates the emission of air pollutants from a polluting process
  • The Noise Control Ordinance
  • The Waste Disposal Ordinance which regulates chemical waste, illegal dumping and livestock waste
  • The Water Pollution Control Ordinance which regulates pollution in the waters of Hong Kong
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance which provides for the assessment of the environmental impact of 'designated projects' as prescribed under the ordinance.
Hungary

Hungary

The main legislation in this regard is the Environmental Protection Act (Act LIII of 1995). There are several other statutory regulations in relation to air and water protection and the disposal of waste, including construction waste.

In Hungary, the ‘polluter pays’ principle applies. The owners and, if different from the owners, possessors (users) of land have joint and several liability for environmental damage or the endangering of the environment on that land. The owner may only be relieved of environmental liability if it is able to prove that it did not itself cause the damage and names the person actually liable for the pollution.

In certain cases, where the construction project is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, an environmental impact assessment must precede the construction works.

Ireland

Ireland

Air and water

Air emissions are regulated by the Air Pollution Act 1987 (as amended). Water pollution is regulated by the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 and the Local Government (Water Pollution) (Amendment) Act 1990 (as amended). The legislation covers the issue of licences, discharge of effluent to sewers etc.

Emissions are controlled by way of the issue of licences by the Environmental Protection Agency. Part IV of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (the 1992 Act) originally set out the basis on which the Agency may police and prosecute licence holders for failure to comply with licence conditions. Section 15 of the Protection of the Environment Act 2003 (as amended) (the 2003 Act) has since replaced Part IV of the 1992 Act. Section 86(1)(a)(iv) of the 1992 Act (as inserted by the 2003 Act) requires that it may be a condition in each licence that each Licence Holder monitor and report emissions to the Agency. It further requires a Licence Holder to confirm to the Agency whether he has complied with the licence conditions and if he has not, to indicate in what respect he has not complied. Failure to comply with the conditions attached to a licence is an offence under the 2003 Act.

Waste

The Waste Management Act 1996 and the Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2001 provides the statutory basis for waste management in Ireland.

Environmental Impact Assessments

The 1992 Act sets out the basis for Environmental Impact Assessments/Statements (EIA and EIS, respectively). On larger, strategic national infrastructure projects, an EIS is required as part of the planning process pursuant to the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006.

Sustainability

The environmental requirements for building works in Ireland are governed primarily by primary legislation. Secondary legislation exists governing the energy performance of buildings in accordance with the EC Energy Performance of Buildings Regulation 2006. The European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2008 require that a 'Building Energy Rating Certificate' is provided in the sale or letting of all buildings, new and old. The certificate is effectively an energy label which is issued on foot of a report which sets out recommendations for cost-effective methods of improving the energy rating of the building. However, the recommendations are not binding.

The government has introduced a number of strategies to promote sustainable development. The first such strategy was published in 1997 and was updated in 2002, 2008 and again in 2012.

Italy

Italy

Legislative Decree 152/2006 provides for a list of building works that may have a potential impact on the environment (ie oil refineries; specific infrastructures, etc).

Depending on the type of town planning provision issued in order to authorize the construction of the building works, the following activities could be required to be carried out:

  • Should the building works be carried out on the basis of a Town Planning Plan or Program, the approval of such plan or program is subject to a strategic environmental evaluation ('VAS'), whose main purpose is to provide the public authorities with an overall assessment of the sustainability of the plan or program from an environmental point of view also in consideration of town planning considerations
  • Furthermore, should the building works be carried out pursuant to a specific project, such project is subject to an environmental impact evaluation ('VIA'), whose main purpose is to provide the authorities with an overall assessment of the environmental impact of the single project and of its modalities of execution.
Japan

Japan

The general legislations dealing with environmental issues and promoting sustainable development for building construction are as follows:

  • Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act – Under this act, a person who intends to develop a land which is 3,000 square meters or more must submit a notification to the relevant local government at least 30 days prior to commencement of the land development. The land developer must conduct soil contamination investigation in the case where the relevant local government determines there is a danger that the land is contaminated.
  • Air Pollution Act – This act requires construction companies to take measures necessary to prevent scattering asbestos or dust at construction sites;
  • Noise Regulation Act – This act prohibits construction companies from carrying out certain noise-producing building works in certain areas specified in the act.  Construction companies must also submit a notification to the relevant local government prior to any construction work using a large machinery, piling machine etc.; and
  • Vibration Regulation Act – This act prohibits construction companies from carrying out certain vibration-producing building works in certain areas specified in the act.  Construction companies must also submit a notification to the relevant local government prior to any construction using a piling machine etc.
Netherlands

Netherlands

The Buildings Decree (Bouwbesluit) prescribes the minimum construction requirements that all structures in the Netherlands must meet. These requirements concern safety, health, usefulness, energy efficiency and the environment. In addition, all municipalities apply additional rules in building regulations. These rules differ between municipalities.

Under the Decree on the Energy Performance of Buildings (Besluit energieprestatie gebouwen) for every house or building that is to be sold or let, an energy performance certificate (describing the energy efficiency of the building) must be present.

The Environmental Protection Act (Wet Milieubeheer) and the Law on Water (Waterwet) are also relevant in this area. Rules also apply in respect of the storage and disposal of waste.

The Flora and Fauna Act (Flora - en Faunawet) can also play a relevant role in building activities. This Act provides for protection of animal and plant species by prohibiting disturbing activities.

Nigeria

Nigeria

There are several environmental legislations enacted for the purpose of regulating and enforcing public policy on environmental protection and sustainability. The various States have specific environmental laws copying the Federal Act with slight modifications. The environmental legislations in Nigeria include the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency Act 2007 (NESREA Act) and the Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions, etc) Act.

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) established under the NESREA Act 2007 has developed a number of Environmental Regulations targeted on particular areas of concern and published in the Federal Government Gazettes. More specific to the Construction sector, there is the National Environmental (Construction Sector) Regulations, which purpose is to regulate and minimize environmental hazards such as pollution from construction, decommissioning and demolition activities. Also, the National Building Code makes provisions for environmental issues relating to building construction.

At the Federal and the States levels, there are established specific government Ministries, Departments and Agencies tasked with oversight and implementation of environmental regulations.

In Lagos State for example, there is the Environmental Management and Protection Law, 2017 with the Ministry of Environment and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) responsible for enforcement of all policies on the environment.

Norway

Norway

Norway has some of the strictest technical construction requirements in Europe.

The Planning and Building Act of 2008 and the Pollution Act of 1981, together with various regulations, contain provisions which aim to protect the environment. Protection of the environment is also constitutional (see the Norwegian Constitution of 1814).

These provisions contain requirements for buildings/construction projects and for products used in buildings/construction projects. The aim is to reduce pollution during the building phase and during the building's lifetime. For instance, requirements are set regarding the energy consumption and the environmental impact of the building materials used, the completed building's indoor environment, energy used during its lifetime and the impact on the external environment.

A breach of environmental regulations may give rise to criminal liability.

Poland

Poland

In Poland the following major acts deal with environmental issues affecting building works:

  • Environment Protection Law 
  • Water Law 
  • Waste Law
  • Revitalisation Law
Portugal

Portugal

In Portugal, the environmental law framework that governs construction developments reflects European Law principles. The main statutes are: Law No. 19/2014, of 14 April 2014, Decree-Law No. 151-B/2013, of 31 October 2013, on EIAs, as amended by Decree-Law No. 179/2015, of 27 August 2015. There are also other relevant statutes on

  • Waste management
  • Noise pollution
  • Air quality
  • The use of water areas
  • Water quality
  • Specially protected areas (such as national parks and national reserves)
  • Ecological and agricultural reserves
  • Energy certification of buildings

Decree-Law no. 68-A/2015 of 30 April 2015 implemented the mandatory energy audit requirements contained in the Directive 2012/27/EC on Energy Efficiency. Under this Decree-Law, companies that are not SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are subject to an energy audit of, among other assets, buildings and vehicles, before 5 December 2015 and at least every four years from the date of the previous energy audit.

Romania

Romania

Making preliminary contact with the competent environmental authority is a mandatory prerequisite for the issue of a building permit. At that stage, the authority will make an initial assessment of the investment in order to establish if an environmental impact study is necessary.

If an environmental study is necessary, it will need to be prepared by the client/employer in accordance with environmental regulations.

An environmental approval document is an essential part of the documentation that must be filed to obtain a building permit and the requirements imposed by the environmental approval must be fulfilled. The competent authority issuing the building permit will refuse any building permit application which does not have a full set of supporting documents, including the environmental authority's authorization.

Russia

Russia

Russian environmental regulations fall into two categories:

  • On environmental sustainability (Federal Law No. 7-FZ On Environmental Protection dated 10 January 2002) – detailed regulations are set down in decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation, regional laws, and state standards issued by the competent authorities
  • On sanitary well-being (Federal Law No. 52-FZ On the Sanitary-Hygienic Welfare of the Population of the Russian Federation dated 30 March 1999) – detailed regulations are set down in Sanitary Rules and Norms, issued by the Chief Sanitary Inspector of the Russian Federation

The law also governs the procedure for the environmental review of the design documentation for construction, sets down procedures for obtaining permits for certain activities which may have a negative environmental impact (such as emissions and felling trees) and establishes protected areas.

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic

Environment generally

Act No. 17/1992 Coll. on Environment as amended contains basic principles of protection of the environment in order to ensure and promote a sustainable development.

Act. No. 543/2002 Coll. on the Protection of Nature and Landscape as amended provides for the powers of the relevant statutory bodies and the basic obligations of individuals and legal persons to protect nature and the landscape.

Air

Air legislation, such as the Act on Air Protection and the Act on Payments for Air Pollution regulate emissions of environmentally harmful gases, dark smoke and other airborne pollutants.

Water

Water quality is protected by Act No. 364/2004 Coll. on Water as amended, which controls issues such as pollution, surface water, groundwater and discharge to sewers.

Waste

On 1 January 2016, a new Act on Waste, which amends and supplements previous legislation, became effective. This provides for the general regulation of waste management in Slovakia. Every business is legally obliged to ensure its waste is handled and disposed of safely in accordance with this legislation.

Environmental impact assessments

Under Act No. 24/2006 Coll. on Environmental Impact Assessment, a construction project that is likely to have a significant effect or impact on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location may require an environmental impact assessment before a zoning permit is granted.

Spain

Spain

Land

The Land Pollution Act controls pollution of land due to uncontrolled waste.

Air

Legislation on air quality, such as the Air Quality Act controls emissions of environmentally harmful gases, smoke and other airborne pollutants.

Water

Water quality is protected by water related Acts and Regulations which control issues such as pollution, surface water, groundwater and discharge to sewers.

Waste

A wide range of duty of care legislation controls the generation, transportation and disposal of waste ensuring that the waste is handled and disposed of safely.

Environmental impact assessments

The Environmental Impact Act regulates the procedure for the analysis and correction of the effects of a construction project which is likely to have a significant effect on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location. Such projects may require an environmental impact assessment before planning permission is granted.

Sustainable development

In recognition of the need for sustainable development, minimum energy requirements for new and refurbished buildings are contained in the Spanish Technical Construction Code and the Energy Efficiency Act.

Many regulations have been developed and supplemented at a regional level. 

Royal Decree 235/2013, of 5 April, which introduced Energy Performance Certificates established that as from 1 June 2013 buyers and/or tenants of housing, retail and office buildings must be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate, allowing them to compare and evaluate the energy efficiency and CO2 emissions of buildings, or their individual units.

This Certificate is not required for all buildings: Section 2 of Royal Decree 235/2013 excludes industrial, military, religious and agricultural buildings, as well as residential units occupied for less than four months a year or used for a time resulting in a projected energy consumption below 25 percent of the projected total consumption on the basis of year-round occupation.

Finally, Law 8/2013 of 26 June, on rehabilitation, regeneration and urban reform sets out the basic regulations for environmentally friendly development in urban projects and promotes rehabilitation, reform and regeneration of the urban fabric in order to provide citizens with adequate living standards. This law forms part of the amended text approved by Royal Legislative Decree 7/2015, the 30th October, which amends the Rehabilitation Law and the Spanish Building Act.

Sweden

Sweden

The Environmental Code (Miljöbalken) deals with all environmental issues affecting building works. The purpose of the Environmental Code is to promote a sustainable development that leads to a healthy environment for coming generations. The Environmental Code is to be applied so that human health and the environment are protected against pollution and other environmental hazards. For this purpose, the Environmental Code includes, for instance, regulations regarding environmental liabil-ity, environmental impact assessments and environmental licensing.

Thailand

Thailand

Certain projects or developments require that an environmental impact assessment report (EIA report) is approved before construction of a building can be commenced. This is in accordance with the applicable Notification issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment regarding ‘Types and Sizes of Projects or Operations which are required to prepare Environmental Impact Assessment Report which is enacted under the National Environmental Quality Act B.E. 2535(1992).

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

Environmental protection is governed by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MEW) federally. The MEW is empowered to delegate its powers to a ‘Competent Authority’ for each emirate, and the Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi is tasked as being the Competent Authority for all environmental protection laws and regulations within the emirate of Abu Dhabi (AD).

The federal laws which regulate environmental protection affecting the building and construction industry include:

  • Federal Law (24) of 1999 concerning the protection and development of the environment
  • Federal Cabinet Resolution (37) of 2001
  • Federal Law (23) of 1999 concerning the exploitation and protection and development of living aquatic resources
  • Federal Law (1) of 2002 regulating radiation

Abu Dhabi has a significant legislative framework in relation to environmental protection. The main laws which relate to the building and construction sector are as follows:

  • Law (21) of 2005 for managing waste in Abu Dhabi
  • Law (23) of 2007 establishing the Abu Dhabi Council for Urban Planning
  • Resolution 42 of 2009 concerning the Environmental Health and Safety Management System
  • Other local regulations, decisions and orders which pertain to specific areas of environmental protection relating to building and construction

Developers and contractors alike are required to undertake environmental impact assessments and stringent environmental protection preventative measures must be taken. ESTIDAMA, the new environmental accreditation system, is now mandatory throughout the emirate. The Urban Planning Council will normally specify as part of the approval application process which Estidama rating the project is required to meet.

Abu Dhabi has recently passed legislation which initiates the Environmental Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) for the emirate. This system requires nominated entities to create an Environmental Health and Safety Management System to comply with the AD EHSMS. As part of the AD EHSMS, a number of regulatory instruments (including Codes of Practice) have been issued and are mandatory. The current version of the AD EHSMS (including the Codes of Practice) is available on the official website of the AD EHSMS Centre.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

Environmental protection is governed by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MEW) federally. The MEW is empowered to delegate its powers to a 'Competent Authority' for each emirate. The main environmental framework in Dubai is at a local level and Dubai Municipality, JAFZA and TECOM have their own relevant guidelines for their areas. The main federal laws which regulate environmental protection affecting the building and construction industry include:

  • Federal Law (24) of 1999 concerning the protection and development of the Environment
  • Federal Law (23) of 1999 concerning the exploitation and protection and development of Living aquatic resources
  • Federal Law (1) of 2002 Regulating Radiation
  • The Competent Authority for Dubai is Dubai Municipality
  • Other local regulations, decisions and orders which pertain to specific areas of environmental protection relating to building and construction

Developers and contractors alike are required to undertake environmental impact assessments and stringent environmental protection preventative measures must be taken during the permitting and approvals process.

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

Air

Air legislation, such as the Clean Air Act 1993 and Climate Change Act 2008, controls emissions of environmentally harmful gases, dark smoke and other airborne pollutants.  In January 2019 the government announced a new Clean Air Strategy which will introduce new powers to enable local action to meet targets in heavily polluted areas.  This may include amending the Clean Air Act 1993.

Water

Water quality is protected by water related Acts and Regulations which control issues such as pollution, surface waters, groundwater and discharge to sewers (for example, the Water Resources Act 1991).

Waste

A wide range of duty of care legislation controls the generation, transportation and disposal of waste. Every business is legally obliged to ensure its waste is handled and disposed of safely. The Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 used to require that construction projects worth more than £500,000 have a site waste management plan, however these were revoked in 2013. Given the importance of ensuring materials are disposed of responsibly and waste minimized, contractors may be required to prepare a site waste management plan on a voluntary or contractual basis.

Environmental impact assessments

Under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017, a construction project likely to have significant effect on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location may require an environmental impact assessment before planning permission is granted.

Sustainable development

In recognition of the need for sustainable development, minimum energy requirements for new and refurbished buildings are contained in the Building Regulations. Construction projects must also meet the sustainable development objectives contained within the relevant regional/area development plan.

UK - Scotland

UK - Scotland

Air

Air legislation, such as the Clean Air Act 1993 and Climate Change Act 2008, controls emissions of environmentally harmful gases, dark smoke and other airborne pollutants.

Water

Water quality is protected by water related Acts and Regulations which control issues such as pollution, surface waters, groundwater and discharge to sewers (for example, the Water (Scotland) Act 1980 and the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003).

Waste

A wide range of duty of care legislation controls the generation, transportation and disposal of waste.

Environmental impact assessments

Under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2011/139 (Scottish SI), a construction project likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location may require an environmental impact assessment before planning permission is granted.

Sustainable development

In recognition of the need for sustainable development, minimum energy efficiency requirements for new and refurbished buildings are contained in Section 6 of Schedule 5 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Ukraine

Ukraine

Provisions dealing with environmental issues in construction are contained in a number of environmental laws, specifically, Law of Ukraine ‘On Protection of Environment’ No. 1264-XII, dated 25 June 1991, Law of Ukraine ‘On Wastes’ No. 187/98-BP dated 5 March 1998, Law of Ukraine ‘On Protection of the Atmosphere’ No. 2707-XII, dated 16 October 1992, Law of Ukraine ‘On Ecological Expertise’ No. 45/95-BP, dated 9 February 1995 and Law of Ukraine ‘On Ecological Audit’ No. 1862-IV, dated 24 June 2004.

On 22 June 2017, the Ukrainian parliament passed the Law of Ukraine ‘On Energy Efficiency of Buildings’, which is based on concepts elaborated in Directive 2010/31/EU. Most provisions of the law came into force on 23 July 2018, while rules related to mandatory certification of buildings came into force on 1 July 2019. According to the Law ‘On Energy Efficiency of Buildings’, the energy efficiency is a feature of a building characterizing the amount of energy needed for creating proper conditions for dwelling in such building. The energy efficiency of a building is determined based ‘Methodology for determination of buildings energy efficiency’, which was adopted by the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine on 11 July 2018. This methodology was elaborated with consideration of requirements of legislative acts of European Union, Energy Community and harmonized European standards in the sphere of energy efficiency.

From 1 July 2019, the energy efficiency certification is required to confirm that a building meets the energy efficiency requirements. Such certification is mandatory for:

  1. buildings under construction: new buildings, reconstruction and/or capital repairs of buildings, with medium and significant consequences, that are almost all residential and commercial buildings except for residential houses up to 4 floors high and buildings, where not more than 50 persons are located permanently or 100 persons – temporarily;
  2. state-owned buildings with heated area more than 250 sqm, which are occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by public;
  3. buildings with heated area more than 250 sqm, which are occupied by a municipal authority (in case of their thermic modernization); and
  4. buildings, where the thermic modernization is financed by public funds.

Following such certification, the energy certificate should be issued, which is effective for the term of 10 years. The energy certificate is a part of design documentation and should be issued before the commissioning. The detailed procedure for energy certification is described in ‘Procedure of energy efficiency certification and forms of energy certificate’ which was adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 11 July 2018.

In addition, on 18 December 2017, the Law of Ukraine ‘On Assessment of Environmental Impact’ came into force. According to this law, construction permits related to construction of objects, which have impact or may have impact (the list of such objects is provided in the Law and includes chemical enterprises, crude oil refineries, drilling works, agricultural enterprises, complex infrastructure objects etc.) cannot be issued prior to conducting an environmental impact assessment and the approval of that report.

United States

United States

Air

Air quality is protected at the federal level by a wide range of legislation, the most prominent of which is the Clean Air Act enforced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Clean Air Act regulates, among other things, air emissions, acid rain, ozone depletion, toxic air pollution, and auto gasoline. With respect to construction, compliance with relevant standards of the Clean Air Act is meant to reduce construction-related health risks.

Air quality regulations also are promulgated at the state and local levels, such as laws common to many states prohibiting smoking in public areas or local ordinances prohibiting the burning of certain materials, including construction debris.

Water

Water quality is protected at the federal level by a number of agencies and the military, including the

  • Department of Defense
  • US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Department of the Interior
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • Department of Commerce
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Depending on the site or type of construction, the regulations of any of these entities might be applicable.

Federal legislation addresses several issues that might be relevant to a construction project, including the integrity of the water supply, protection against flood and hurricane damage, pollution, surface and ground water, sewer discharge, levees, environmental restoration, protection of wetlands, dredging and filling etc. Specific legislation includes the Water Resources Development Act, the National Levee Safety Act, and the Flood Control Act. In addition, many individual states have similar legislation further protecting their own lakes, rivers and harbours.

Waste

A wide range of federal, state, and local legislation controls the generation, transportation, and disposal of waste, including hazardous waste and construction and demolition debris. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates hazardous waste, and the US Department of Transportation regulates the transportation of hazardous waste.

States are becoming active in legislating the generation, handling, and removal of demolition and construction debris, with a focus to reduce, reuse, or recycle it rather than place it in landfills. For example, CALGreen, a building code focusing on sustainability that was enacted in California requires the recycling of 50% of construction waste and in some instances the submission of a construction waste management plan or the utilization of a waste management company.

Sustainable development

Both mandatory and voluntary sustainability building requirements are being legislated at state and local levels, including CALGreen in California (described immediately above). While 50% recycling of construction waste is mandatory under CALGreen, a higher percentage is preferred but voluntary. In addition, certifications evidencing sustainable green construction are available from third parties, including several universities. Perhaps the most well-known is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) offered by the US Green Building Council, which uses a rating system to certify a newly constructed or rehabilitated building as a sustainable green building.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Environmental protection issues are provided for in the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20.27]. The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) does however take the lead role in ensuring that individuals and companies comply with this legislation.

Waste

The Environmental Management (Effluents and Solid Waste Disposal) Regulations, 2007 regulates the disposal of effluent and solid waste and provides for the procedure in the event of accidental spillages.

Environmental Impact Assessments

In terms of the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] and the Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment & Ecosystems Protection) Regulations, SI 7 of 2007, housing developments, and commercial industrial plants, tourist resorts and recreational developments among other developments require an Environmental Impact Assessment to be conducted by EMA.