By Hubertus von Dressler
Environmental construction supervision (UBB) has now grown out of its infancy. Increasing order volumes, their more frequent inclusion in permits and the increasing number of working aids and performance templates for environmental construction supervision make this clear.
In the past, an increasing number of environmentally relevant provisions in permits, which have to be observed and implemented in the various trades on a construction site, or the legal consequences of their non-implementation, have given rise to a new field of activity, which had to be integrated into the usual interaction of those involved in construction. The clear description and delimitation of the services of environmental construction supervision, its position in the construction process, authority to issue instructions, communication channels, etc. were initially unclear or had to be tested.
Project sponsors also increasingly recognized the benefits.
With the introduction of the Environmental Damage Act (Umweltschadensgesetz), there was a growing call from both associations and specialist authorities for UBB to be included in planning approvals and permits. Project sponsors also increasingly recognized the benefits of an independent third party to support project management in conflict-prone construction projects, helping to prevent environmental damage and avoid construction delays and cost increases.
Advanced training offer "Special expertise in environmental construction supervision".
Foresighted representatives of the bdla recognized early on the potential of the new emerging field of work for landscape architects and the need for a high-quality advanced training offer and pushed for its introduction. Together with the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, an advanced training course "Special Expertise in Environmental Construction Supervision" was finally developed to meet the steadily increasing demand for well-trained environmental construction supervisors. This offer has been consistently developed over the years on the basis of the increasing experience of participants and instructors.
With the broad understanding of environmental construction supervision, a cross-media, integrated approach is pursued. Damage caused by one-sided optimisations based on the consideration of individual objects of protection in a single-protected-object-related construction monitoring is to be avoided in this way. The search for suitable construction times to guarantee the various protection requirements alone makes the challenges of this claim clear and requires the close coordination of the various technical requirements with each other, in connection with the complex construction process.
The aim of environmental construction supervision is the implementation of all environmentally relevant measures from the permit on the construction site in conformity with the permit. The fact that this concerns not only the actual construction phase, but in particular the construction preparation phase as a setting of the course for a successful UBB, is a further important clarification on the way to an adult UBB. This includes an early commissioning of the UBB directly after the permit has been issued.
Need for further training continues
Increasing certainty with regard to the scope of services of UBB, e.g. the differentiation from services of landscape management implementation planning as part of the scope of services for outdoor installations of the HOAI, from monitoring tasks or for the elimination of deficits from the planning phase, can be observed among many participants. Nevertheless, the awareness of the clear allocation of services to the corresponding service phases, including in approval and specialist authorities, is not yet present in its full breadth. There is a need for further education and training in this area.
In the meantime, further developed work aids and service descriptions provide assistance.
Increasing assistance is now being provided by further developed working aids and specifications, such as the Federal Railway Authority's environmental guidelines, the HVA-F StB's performance profile for environmental construction supervision and the AHO's revised Booklet No. 27 Environmental Construction Supervision. In addition, the first practical guidelines, such as the practice manual on environmental construction supervision of the highest Bavarian construction authority or the publication "Tierische Begegnungen auf der Baustelle" (Animal Encounters on the Construction Site) of the German Railways, are now available and also support communication within the framework of UBB.
The insight into the efficiency and the acceptance of the instrument UBB has clearly increased among project developers and authorities due to many positive examples of successfully implemented environmental construction monitoring and will contribute to a further consolidation of the UBB supporting the construction process.
Prospects: Even in young adulthood, there are still plenty of tasks to be accomplished.
In contrast to the primary objective of using UBB to implement the environmentally relevant conditions from the permit in a manner that conforms to the permit, various performance specifications provide for the objective of implementing the construction project in a manner that conforms to environmental law with the help of UBB. As understandable as this objective may be from the point of view of the project sponsor, the associated possible inspection and information obligations for the contractor of UBB are also indeterminate and incalculable. A clear understanding of the UBB task and the resulting clearly defined performance profiles for clients, contractors and the other parties involved is a central prerequisite for the positive further development of the UBB field of activity.
This must be expressed both in the sharpening of the content of UBB requirements in licensing notices, as well as in corresponding management models. While the advanced training courses of the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and the bdla were primarily directed at current and future environmental construction supervisors as contractors, a corresponding need for advanced training is also seen here on the part of the approval authorities and project sponsors in order to arrive at a clearly defined understanding of the tasks. This development will also be supported by the further development of project-related working aids on UBB, e.g. within the framework of the newly founded FGSV working group on UBB. Last but not least, adequate remuneration is an important basis for qualified environmental construction supervision, which is intended to protect the client from construction interruptions and stoppages as well as expensive remediation.
In the sense of effective environmental precaution, the increasing commissioning of sectoral, uncoordinated specialist environmental construction supervision must be viewed negatively. There is an urgent need for coordination between nature conservation, soil protection, immission control and water authorities.
The professional perspectives include the further exchange of experience on effective damage-preventing measures during the construction process, on the scope and depth of inspection and notification obligations, and on the safe handling of cases of damage.
- Federal Railway Authority (ed.), Environmental Guidelines for Planning Approval and Planning Permission under Railway Law, Part VII: Environmental Construction Supervision, Status: July 2015
- Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (ed.), Manual for the award and execution of professional services in road and bridge construction HVA F-StB, edition: January 2018.
- AHO Committee of the Associations and Chambers of Engineers and Architects for the Fee Regulations e.V. (Ed.), Environmental construction supervision - scope of services and fees, issue 27, May 2018.
Author: Hubertus von Dressler is Professor of Landscape Planning at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and member of the bdla working group Landscape Planning. Together with Claudia Schliemer (Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences), Kerstin Berg (bdla spokesperson for landscape planning) and Mario Kahl (bdla), he has been developing the further training course "Special expertise in environmental construction supervision" since 2011.
- Latitude: 0
- Longitude: 0