Environmental management systems in construction procurement

It is critically important that construction enterprises understand how their operations will affect the surrounding environment, and take steps to comply with relevant regulations.

Understanding the requirement for third party certified EMS

From 1 April 2016 onwards, all construction works contracts procured by a Centre of Procurement Expertise (CoPE) include a requirement that all main contractors seeking to tender shall have and maintain an Environmental Management System (EMS) certified by a third party.

An EMS helps an organisation:

  • minimise how its operations affect the environment
  • comply with applicable laws and regulations and
  • continually improve in relation to each of the above

Approval of third party certification

Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) in conjunction with the CoPEs will approve and accept third party certification of an EMS provided that:

  • it is based on a recognised standard - for example, ISO 14001, BS8555 or equivalent
  • it is construction focused incorporating site inspections
  • the third party certification body is accredited or recognised

The EMS third party certification:

  • shall be obtained /renewed within three years of the main contract award date
  • shall include an annual verification audit undertaken in the intervening years

Communication about EMS requirements

Industry stakeholders were notified of the above requirement on 20 February 2014. The notification included common questions and answers about Environmental Management Systems. 

List of third party EMS providers

All certification bodies and associated EMS assessed as meeting the policy requirement are listed online. Main contractors should check that the particular scheme and standard it operates, or wishes to operate, is listed.

It is essential that main contractors check the list when applying for a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) competition 

If its EMS is not listed then appropriate action should be taken, in good time, to allow the certification body and associated EMS to be assessed before the PQQ submission date.

Failure to demonstrate compliance with the policy requirement will result in a PQQ application being rejected.

Requests for assessment

An EMS certification body can apply to CPD or one of the CoPEs to have its system assessed as meeting the above requirements by completing a questionnaire:

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