Best Practices for Managing Environmental Restrictions and Requirements

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources






2-3 years

Research Idea Scope

I.     Research Problem Statement

Today, now more than ever, the environment plays a key role in everyday activities. Some cities have smog warnings, some have water pollution warnings, and others focus on vehicle emissions. In order to reduce these and other warnings and increase the health of the general public, regulatory agencies are enacting limitations.
Along with warnings, there are environmental practices in place that prevent other harms to the environment. These practices employ restrictions and regulations on activities carried out in a particular location. Construction is one practice that now requires many different permits for any given location.
Construction project managers are willing to comply with environmental restrictions. However, it can be difficult at times. The rules and types of permits required seem to change frequently. The costs to comply are also increasing, which in turn increases the cost of the project. Construction engineers and managers need to have an effective way to manage all the different permitting requirements and restrictive regulations. The management should include cost saving compliance options.
This research project will build on previous NCHRP projects and provide a comprehensive best practices guide to assist SHA construction engineers and managers in managing environmental restrictions and requirements.
To obtain the required information, the following areas should be researched:
a)    What is the impact of current and impending environmental regulations such as noise, air, storm water management, etc. on SHA construction projects?
b)    What are the current programs available to train SHA construction personnel to comply with environmental regulations?
c)    Are there programs to facilitate the communication of environmental decisions that were made in pre-construction planning/permitting stage to the construction team?
d)    What other programs or areas of study are needed that will aid the SHA construction personnel with compliance of environmental regulations?
II.   Research Objective
Develop a best practices guide for managing environmental restrictions and requirements.
The research objective will be achieved through the completion of the following tasks.
Task 1: Survey SHAs concerning present plans for compliance with environmental restrictions and regulations.
Task 2: Perform a literature search to identify and evaluate how the entire construction industry is managing environmental restrictions and regulations.
Task 3: Identify and create compliance programs in areas in which they are needed.
Task 4: Create a best practices guide, with the ability for regular updating, that facilitates the management of environmental regulations and restrictions with respect to construction.

Urgency and Payoff

Today the environment is an important factor to be considered for all construction projects and often causes serious delays and increased costs to meet such the demands posed by environmental regulations and regulators. SHA planners and designers have long been involved in dealing with such regulations, but construction personnel have not.   This research will provide practical guidelines to help SHA construction personnel to manage environmental restrictions and requirements on projects.

Suggested By

AFH10, Construction Management Committee, as specified in the TRB Research Needs Database, 2009. (Submitted to TRB Database 4/2007)