October 22, 2004 / Issue No. 6-04
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AGC's Environmental Services
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Editor’s Note
New AGC Business Tool Helps Contractors Grow Their Bottom Line While Improving Their Environmental Performance
AGC Leads Session on Diesel Retrofit; Association’s Tax Incentive Proposal Takes Center Stage
Federal Court Grants AGC Permission to Intervene in ELG Lawsuit; AGC Files Brief in Related Storm Water Litigation
Green Construction
EPA Grants AGC’s Request for More Time to Respond to Draft of Model Specifications for Green Construction
Congress Passes Measure that Promotes Green Construction for Projects that Create 1,000+ Construction JOBS
AGC Midyear Meeting Attendees Learn About, Discuss the Greening of Construction
Recycling to Reduce Runoff: Compost on Road Cuts
News & Events
AGC’s Environmental Seminars Build Momentum and Take New Shape
EPA-AGC Interface
Environmental Management Systems: The Government’s View

  New AGC Business Tool Helps Contractors Grow Their Bottom Line While Improving Their Environmental Performance
Showcased at the AGC 2004 Midyear Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., AGC’s new guide to environmental management systems (EMS) makes constructing an EMS a manageable process. Following is a glance at the construction industry’s first and only EMS guide—how it was developed, what’s inside the guide, and upcoming training opportunities.

Fifteen AGC members brought construction common sense to the drafting table with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) experts on environmental management.  A year of conference calls, meetings, and revision (after revision) resulted in an easy-to-read guide on developing an EMS—one that not only meets an internationally recognized standard (ISO 14001) but also is suited to the construction industry.  AGC and EPA also are teaming up to provide EMS training for contractors based on AGC’s new guide.

AGC’s Constructing an Environmental Management System: Guidelines and Templates for Contractors presents the components of an EMS in three parts—

  • Section I provides detailed guidelines on each element of an EMS.  It also explains how to fulfill the purpose of each EMS element.
  • Section II contains a sample EMS for a hypothetical construction company.  It reinforces the guidelines in Section I and sets forth examples of how to develop, document, assess, refine, and communicate your EMS program and its results.  Section II also provides sample procedures and blank forms to give your company’s EMS a strong foundation.
  •  A CD gives users the sample EMS in a customizable format.

To order the guide (Item No. 3212), go to http://www.agc.org/e-store or call (800) 242-1767.

AGC’s guide will help your company build an EMS in less time and at less expense than starting from scratch; however, an EMS will take time and effort to prepare.  In addition, each company’s EMS will differ.  To help contractors address the specific EMS needs of their company, AGC and EPA are offering affordable training—based on AGC’s guide.  The first training session will be held in Washington, DC, on December 6 and 7, 2004.  More training sessions will follow in 2005.

For more information about EMS training, go to http://www.agc.org/environmentalseminar.  Online registration will be available soon.

Inside AGC’s EMS Guide

Below are some of the steps that AGC’s guide will help your company accomplish.

  • Identify key players
  • Create an environmental policy
  • Master the legal requirements
  • Look closely at company processes
  • Identify inputs and outputs
  • Decide which inputs and outputs you can control and improve
  • Set objectives and targets to control and improve—or to study further opportunities for improvement
  • Establish action plans to meet goals
  • Train employees
  • Communicate effectively
  • Prepare for (and prevent) emergencies
  • Record and evaluate progress toward goals
  • Check and correct problems
  • Report back to (and involve) top management

Benefits of Using AGC’s EMS Guide

Environmental management can be predictable.  Your company can systematically reduce its risk of noncompliance with environmental legal requirements, and at the same time improve efficiency and save money.  AGC’s EMS guide can help a company do just this.  In fact, many companies have implemented an EMS wholly to prevent the repetition of costly errors and accidents.  An EMS also can help your company make money through opening the doors to new business, such as green construction, and protecting the construction market by exhibiting environmental responsibility. 

More cost and benefit information is presented on AGC’s website at http://www.constructionenvironment.org (click on “Environmental Management Systems” under Green Construction).  A downloadable brochure presenting the business case for developing and implementing an EMS also is available on that webpage.

Prepare for 2005 – Federal EMS Outlook

The federal government is focusing on environmental management.  The Bush administration is seeking a significant increase in public and private EMS use in the United States.  In fact, Executive Order 13148 requires all appropriate federal facilities to implement EMSs by December 31, 2005.  A Department of Energy (DOE) Order 450.1, dated January 15, 2003, requires that contractors responsible for the management and operation of DOE sites have an EMS in place. 

To fully understand the federal perspective and how that may impact construction companies, read the “AGC-EPA Interface” column in this Observer issue.

If you have any questions about EMSs, please contact me directly at (703) 837-5415 or tomainom@agc.org.


Melinda Tomaino Flores
Assistant Editor, AGC’s Environmental Observer
Environmental Program Coordinator, AGC of America
LEED® 2.0 Accredited Professional [ return to top ]