Every project has its own set of regulatory challenges. As construction projects seek to balance the tasks of completing construction safely, on schedule and within budget, a well-planned environmental compliance program can help project teams understand and mitigate environmental risks that can be problematic to the project schedule.

Noncompliances and notices of violations from agencies are not only costly, they can tarnish a company’s environmental record. Failing to set the environmental compliance expectations for the team early and often can cause complacency and misunderstandings, which can lead to mistakes, schedule delays and potential fines levied by agencies.

Proactive Planning

The majority of noncompliance issues on projects stem from a lack of training or communication breakdown. During preconstruction planning efforts, teams should define environmental roles and responsibilities, as well as communication protocols, to establish the framework of an environmental compliance program. A team can stay proactive, rather than reactive, by establishing a sound environmental training program, enforcing communication protocols throughout the life of the project and implementing an environmental compliance planning tool that helps see that all compliance requirements are met.

A key to achieving environmental compliance is providing the right resources and information to those working on the project. With intentional training, communication practices and project management tools, construction teams can safely achieve shared project success, all while staying on schedule, within budget and in compliance.

Project Execution

Construction and the environment are dynamic — construction work plans change and new environmental resources can pop up on a work site on any given day. The primary goals of the environmental compliance team are to review construction look-ahead schedules, identify constraints and compliance procedures, and then communicate this information to the construction team. This common practice helps alleviate the surprise factor and allows the construction team to properly plan work activities.

Tracking environmental compliance metrics allows the project team to see both positive and negative trends. Transparent metrics and trends indicate how well the project team responds to noncompliance issues and whether corrective action plans are warranted. Tools such as OneTouchPM, our unique data-collaboration system, streamline the process and simplify project management by keeping details on track, supporting the strong collaborative relationships required across teams and increasing transparency.

With real-time project data available, environmental compliance teams can proactively communicate compliance requirements or identify any negative trends on compliance that need to be addressed. When everyone is on the same page, there’s more time to focus on safe and efficient project delivery.

Every individual has a role to play to achieve construction compliance. Therefore, it’s helpful to tailor the environmental compliance information to the individual. Environmental compliance teams strive to share relevant and digestible information with the construction team — what the regulation is, why compliance has to be met and what needs to be done — to support the mission of completing construction on schedule, safely and within budget.


Whatever you’re building, wherever you’re building it, proactive and collaborative construction teams can see a project to the finish, delivering a safe and efficient project site.

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Chad Richardson is an environmental project manager who has managed environmental compliance on large utility construction projects, renewable energy site assessments and permitting, stormwater and erosion control, CEQA/NEPA reports, and biological assessments.