Fit-out environmental good practice on site guide (C757)

Susan Harris, Director, SRS Sustainable Business updates us on the latest guidance in the fit-out sector 

The construction industry is under increasing pressure to ensure its activities have reduced impact on the environment. This is as true for the fit-out sector as it is for other sectors. However, fit-out projects also face unique challenges; frequently including quick turnaround times, significant cost and programme constraints, and myriad of site and access limitations.

The flipside of these challenges is that the sector presents a real opportunity: the fit-out of a space can significantly impact its sustainability, not just during construction or refurbishment, but for years to come.

"A good fit-out can maximise usability of a space, improve users’ wellbeing, and influence end-user behaviour (for example with regard to energy usage) – all factors which can have significant long-term benefits for building owners and tenants."

After a somewhat lacklustre quarter or two mid-2015, projections appear to show the sector should experience welcome growth throughout 2016/17 according to the Finishes & Interiors Sector (FIS), the sector body for the finishes and interiors sector (FIS Market Review, FIS Focus, Nov 2015). At the same time as Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, indicated in her recent interview for FIS Focus magazine the skills shortage continues to be a significant challenge for the sector:  “The capacity of site labour forces to deal with sustainability issues is being severely challenged by the fact they are brought together at very short notice, from sometimes unskilled backgrounds”.

Recognising the need for practical guidance on meeting the sustainability challenge and delivering good environmental performance, CIRIA has joined forces with the FIS and some of the industry’s leading contractors to advocate new, sector-specific guidance.

Following on from CIRIA’s highly regarded construction industry resource, Environmental good practice on site (fourth edition) (C741), the new Fit-out environmental good practice on site guide (C757) provides a similar resource which directly addresses the challenges and opportunities specific to fit-out and interiors. The new guide is focused on the contractor and specifically the site manager, setting out clearly what she or he may need to know to ensure good environmental management at each stage of their project.

An easy-to-follow A5 volume, the guide covers all stages of the fit-out lifecycle and outlines environmental considerations that should take into account at each stage. With lots of real-life examples, a no-nonsense “What should I do?” overview at the start of each section and concise checklists at the end it provides both a perfect introduction to environmental issues for new managers and an easy reference for experienced managers keen to keep up-to-date with the changing environmental management standards.

Designed by the industry, for the industry it’s a worthwhile resource that is sure to take its place alongside CIRIA’s other Site Guides as the industry benchmark for good environmental practice. You can pre-order your copy here or, to find out more, join us for the official launch on the 16th March.