ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY STATEMENT
At DBFL Consulting Engineers we are fully aware of our responsibility to the environment from an office procedural viewpoint and also in the way that we can influence the built environment as part of a design team and in carrying out our functions as consulting civil/structural engineers.
DBFL as Design Team Members
We are conscious that, as civil/structural consultants we can influence decisions made that may affect the environment in the short, medium and long term. Our influence will vary depending on the aspect of the project being considered. Typically, subject to client requirements and cost considerations, we can bring a huge influence to bear on items such as:
– Site selection and location of development within site
– Road access and networks
– Traffic Impact Assessment and Mobility Management
– Drainage, water services and other utilities – DBFL have considerable design and site experience with Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). The SUDS concept promotes the prudent use of water resources and attempts to keep water use within the limits of its replenishment. This includes rainwater harvesting, the use of swales, ponds, filter trenching, porous paving, downstream defenders and attenuation mechanisms.
Alternatively, as proactive members of a design team, we can engage in the decision-making process that affects the overall building envelope such as ground source heating and cooling, energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems, air tightness, thermal mass, glazing systems, environmentally friendly material selection etc. which may significantly affect the structural solution. Specifically, within the past few years we have been involved in:
– A €180m institutional project where a BREEAM rating of 60 (very good) has been achieved. Significant elements in achieving this rating include site selection, low maintenance/long life cost efficient materials, best sustainable summary ratings as outlined in the ‘Green Guide to Specification’, sophisticated double skin glazing façade which permits daylight entry while controlling glare and heat gain, use of natural stone finishes, use of a Green Sedum roof, use of rain/grey water.
– DBFL have specified GGBS (ground granulated blastfurnace slag) cement on a number of large and high-profile projects as part of our overall contribution to sustainable development and to reduce the new buildings ‘carbon footprint’. GGBS is produced from a recycled industrial by-product and hence no natural resources are used in its manufacture. When used, it can replace up to 70% of the Portland cement content in the concrete mix and helps increase the longterm durability of the concrete while it improves its workability.
– Use of low embodied energy materials such as reinforced concrete, natural stone, concrete blockwork and precast concrete.
– Re-use of excavated clay materials with the addition of lime (lime stabilization) for building up site levels and keeping excavated material on site, thereby reducing the quantity of imported fill and minimizing the amount of material transported off site.
– On-site crushing of excavated rock to be used beneath roads, hardstandings and backfill.
– DBFL has been involved in the development and use of off-site construction techniques in a large number of projects. We pioneered (with Concast) the ‘total precast’ frame option in the construction of multistorey residential developments which included the external façade system. In addition, DBFL have been at the forefront in the use of timber-frame construction, steel frame walling and steel modular pod systems. These assist in shortening programme times, help achieve consistency of finish and help/eliminate significant construction waste on site.
DBFL Office Procedures
In carrying out our function as a Consulting Engineering company, DBFL acknowledge that our activities impact upon the environment both through routine internal operations and through the actions of our staff. We regard environmental protection as an integral part of good business practice, both through our role as designers and through our own everyday actions. We recognize that we have a responsibility to demonstrate sound environmental awareness, management and sustainability through the implementation of best practice where possible. We also recognize that we have a duty to our staff to lead by example and to put procedures in place that are logical, practical and effective in supporting the environment. We believe that many of these procedures are already in place within our current operation:
– Recycling of all our paper
– Minimizing the amount of unnecessary printing and photocopying by formalizing, regulating and monitoring all printing.
– Regulating and monitoring all our energy usage.
– Our own in-house Environment/Sustainability Review Committee (previously referred to) have been charged with maximizing staff awareness with regards to all environmental issues. Specifically they are currently finalizing proposals to ‘incentivise’ using public transport and/or walking and cycling in getting to and from work. The office’s central city location on all the main public transport routes should help to maximize the success of this venture. They have also been instructed to streamline procedures for site monitoring and have a responsibility to familiarize all staff with current good practice on sites as outlined in CIRIA publications C650 – ‘Environmental good practice on site’ and C651 – ‘Environmental pocket book’.