Constructing zero-emissions suburbs from the ground up
Having a clear approach to sustainability is core to our vision for creating environmentally friendly, thriving communities.
To meet this vision, we’re integrating sustainability into our civil works activities. This will be the first construction phase of our development projects.
In 2022, we developed our Sustainable Civil Works Framework. This is a comprehensive approach to ensure that, during the construction of our suburbs, practical actions are introduced that improve the sustainability of the built and natural environments. Helping us to achieve zero-emissions suburbs, the framework is already being rolled out across our developments.
Meeting the challenge holistically
Until the creation of the Sustainable Civil Works Framework, we typically dealt with civil works sustainability on a case-by-case basis and lacked a clear foundation for identifying gaps and opportunities that could make a high impact. While this did provide freedom for exploration and innovation, it also opened the possibility of inconsistent practices.
Recognising the need for a unified and systematic approach that also fostered innovation, we designed the Framework. It acts as a blueprint for integrating sustainability measures into all future civil works projects we contract.
The framework's 7 key themes
The Sustainable Civil Works Framework covers the entire lifecycle of a civil works project, from planning and design through to post-construction. It consists of 7 key themes that set targets and requirements throughout the civil works lifecycle.
Targets are set to help limit greenhouse gas emissions associated with civil works projects, promoting cleaner and more sustainable construction practices.
The framework incorporates measures to mitigate the impact of civil works on the environment, fostering resilience against climate-related challenges.
The responsible use of materials is a crucial aspect of sustainability. The framework encourages the selection and procurement of eco-friendly materials that support energy-efficient homes while providing guidance on efficient resource management during construction.
According to the 2020 National Waste Report, up to 44% of all waste came from construction and demolition. Promoting a more circular approach, minimising waste generation and promoting effective waste management practices are integral parts of the framework. By setting targets for waste reduction, recycling, and proper disposal, we aim to create more sustainable construction sites.
Water conservation and efficient water management throughout a civil works project can reduce construction costs and take pressure off water sources, while water-efficient designs help to future-proof neighbourhoods during times of drought. The framework encourages the adoption of water-saving techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and the use of water-efficient infrastructure.
The framework provides guidance on the incorporation of landscaping and reforestation measures to enhance biodiversity, improve the aesthetic appeal of the developed areas and reduce the ‘heat island effect’ in urban areas with better canopy cover.
Soil erosion and sediment control
To prevent soil erosion and maintain water quality, the framework includes measures to manage sediment runoff during construction based on learnings from our project in Whitlam. From strategic revegetation to geoengineering practices, these measures help communities retain water and avoid harmful chemical runoff.
Targets and tools
As part of these 7 themes, the Sustainable Civil Works Framework provides targets as well as supporting tools, checklists, guidelines, and relevant documents. These resources are aimed at helping contractors and stakeholders involved in SLA projects, ensuring sustainability targets are an integral part of civil works strategies and contracts.
Building on early success
Having developed the Framework in 2022, we’ve wasted no time in implementing it for civil contracts across some of our recent sites.
Looking ahead, we plan to apply the Framework to future greenfields and key urban development sites. This strategic expansion will enable the agency to promote sustainability on a larger scale, contributing to the creation of more environmentally friendly suburbs.