New EMS to help NI construction industry

28th September 2012


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Northern Ireland's Construction Employers Federation (CEF) has joined forces with IEMA and regulators to create a new environment management certification scheme

Launched this week by Northern Ireland’s environment minister Alex Attwood (pictured left), the new “NVIR-O-CERT” programme was developed by CEF in a bid to improve environmental performance across the construction sector.

The scheme consists of a sector-specific environmental management system against which firms commit to continually improving their environmental footprint through measures to tackle waste creation and resource use, for example. Auditors trained to IEMA’s professional standards will then assess participants’ performance.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency worked with CEF to develop the initiative and will remain involved to ensure the sector is focusing on areas of greatest environmental concern. The scheme will track industry-wide performance indicators, including how much waste is being sent to landfill, and the amount of energy and water being used on sites. The certification scheme will also help to reduce pollution, says CEF.

“NVIR-O-CERT will provide an important focus for companies wanting to improve their performance,” said Attwood in launching the scheme. “It has the potential to raise the standards of environmental management right across the industry, from the largest to the smallest business.”

CEF’s managing director John Armstrong (pictured middle) said the scheme had been created particularly with small businesses in mind, focusing on outcomes rather than processes.

“The initiative was designed to be of benefit to companies of all sizes but with a particular awareness of the need to cater for smaller businesses. We have kept it practical, focused on performance on site, kept the paperwork straightforward and the costs down,” he said.

“We hope to mirror the success of Safe-T-Cert, the industry’s health and safety management system, which has driven a significant reduction in deaths and injuries on construction sites over the last 10 years.”

Attending the launch, IEMA’s chief executive Jan Chmiel (pictured right) said: “We are delighted to be supporting NVIR-O-CERT. The scheme’s auditors will be certified as having superior knowledge and experience of business-environment issues, giving clients of accredited organisations confidence that when they see the NVIR-O-CERT logo that the company’s environmental performance has passed a rigorous assessment.”

The scheme is open to all construction companies in Northern Ireland, and CEF is working to also roll it out to firms in the Republic of Ireland.


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