Working in construction as a contractor or even for a professional contracting company is a way to make an honest living. From constructing residential homes to commercial properties, the industry of construction is ever-evolving. Today, American builder services have changed to account for many environmental laws, regulations, and protections that are in place throughout various countries, cities, and states around the world. If you’re a contractor or involved in the construction industry in any capacity whatsoever, familiarizing yourself with how American builder services have changed to accommodate environmental laws and protections is essential.
Environmental Issues Contractors Need to Be Aware of
Whether you are a professional construction worker, property surveyor, or if you own your own construction business, it’s important to become aware of potential environmental issues that you may encounter whenever you’re on the job. When it comes to American builder services, it’s important to conduct a bit of research on the region you intend to build to verify that you are abiding by the laws at all times. Not all regions of America operate the same. While some may be more flexible with their laws and regulations, others may have strict zoning laws and codes that are enforced at all times.
Hazardous and Toxic Materials
Anyone who is actively involved with American builder services must understand the potential risk of hazardous and toxic materials on a job site. Whether you are conducting septic tank pumping services or you provide landfill maintenance solutions, knowing the laws and restrictions surrounding hazardous and toxic materials you intend to work with each day is imperative. Knowing potential risks along with certain materials or chemicals that are banned from a work site will not only reduce your injury of adverse side effects, but it will also prevent you from being held liable for fees or fines in the region.
Proper Waste Disposal
Proper waste disposal is essential for any construction worker, whether you are offering residential or commercial services. Anytime you are repairing a home, removing mold, or even installing new plumbing, you will need to consider how to go about proper waste disposal once the job is complete. Without proper waste disposal, you may leave toxic or hazardous materials on the job site, which can result in fees and fines, depending on where you are currently working.
You can find a waste disposal company by checking with other business owners in the area and by searching online. Waste disposal services include all-inclusive services that provide assistance from professionals on-site and the ability to rent waste disposal equipment, such as commercial dumpsters, as needed. Consider your needs based on the type of job you are taking on and the length or duration of the project itself. You should also conduct research to determine if there are any additional laws or regulations you will need to abide by when collecting and disposing of waste when you are working on a residential home or a commercial property lot.
Managing Stormwater Runoff
Whenever you are working on a job site that has just experienced a major storm, you will need to pay attention to any potential stormwater runoff that has accumulated. Removing standing water and stormwater runoff is essential for a building’s structure. This will prevent mold growth from occurring while also preventing the structure from weakening entirely. For construction workers who are unfamiliar with the process of removing stormwater from a particular area or location of a property, working with professional plumbing specialists or companies is advisable.
Improving Site Energy Efficiency
When it comes to environmental protection, energy efficiency is a leading virtue. Transitioning to clean energy is not just a goal for large corporations around the world, but also for plenty of residents who have an interest in lowering their carbon footprint and reducing their monthly electricity bills. If you are thinking of improving the energy efficiency of a work site you are on, you will need to consider any regulations and laws that may already be in effect for the type of site you are working on.
Spend time researching local laws and state laws surrounding energy efficiency and solutions that are ideal for both residential and commercial properties near you. You should become familiar with the process of transitioning from one source of energy to another while also understanding potential risks and methods of installation. Knowing how to access various sources of energy can also help you when you are working with new clients who are curious about their own options when it comes to their homes or places of business.
Mitigating and Reducing Air Pollution
Anyone who is involved in the construction industry likely understands the importance of mitigating and reducing air pollution. Whether you are completing a small job or a job that will require months, you will need to determine if you are required by law to take additional steps to minimize and reduce air pollution while you are working. These laws and regulations will vary depending on the state you are working in and operating in and the current restrictions that may be in place. Always take the time to familiarize yourself with any air pollution guidelines you will need to abide by to prevent potential fees, fines, restrictions, or limitations from being placed on your construction company in the near future.
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act, also known as the CWA, covers the main guidelines of how water pollutants should be handled and how pollutants in general should be managed when it comes to the water supply throughout the US. The Clean Water Act does not just apply to government regulators, but also to owners of properties and contractors who take on work on any type of job site, residential or commercial. Anyone who is intended to work on a construction site that is larger than one acre or more must obtain a permit from the NPDES, or the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
This is especially important for any property over an acre as well as a commercial or industrial building that currently discharges either stormwater or waste into a nearby source of water. Common sources of water that must be monitored at all times include rivers, oceans, and lakes. Any complex construction sites that involve waste removal must consider potential permits necessary before getting started on the job or accepting any job bids.
National Environmental Policy Act
The NEPA, or the National Environmental Policy Act, was designed to protect various areas of the environment by ensuring that all companies involved in construction or environmental terraforming abide by current legislation in place. Whether you offer demolition services, lawn care services, or you are a traditional contractor, it’s important to become familiar with the National Environment Policy Act if you are serious about maintaining a professional and trusted reputation. Compliance with NEPA guidelines is essential to reduce penalties and prevent homeowners and construction workers from being held liable for potential fees and penalties once the project is complete.
RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, also known as the RCRA, enforces the proper disposal of potentially hazardous waste on a federal level. Whether a construction company provides a custom fence installation service or works with local asphalt contractors, proper disposal is imperative to minimize environmental impact. Waste materials range from solvents and asphalt waste to adhesives and lead pipes.
Keep in mind that the RCRA currently has three categories of materials that contribute to environmental waste. LQGs, or Large Quantity Generators, are classified as any contracting companies or individual contractors that are currently generating at least 2,200 lbs of hazardous waste each month. In terms of acute hazardous waste, the upper limit is 2.2 lbs in total. Small Quantity Generators, or SQGs, generate no more than 1,000 kilograms of waste per month, but at least 100 kilograms. Lastly, CESQGs, or Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators, will generate less than 100 kilograms of hazardous materials and will also only generate 1 kilogram or less of acutely hazardous materials and site-associated waste.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA, ensures that proper cleanup and waste disposal are enforced on all construction sites throughout the US. CERCLA also assists with site cleanup in areas in which a responsible party is unable to be located. CERCLA also helps the EPA with its ability to deem individuals responsible for hazardous waste, improper disposal, and waste pollution.
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act, or the ESA, was designed to protect threatened and endangered animals, fish, wildlife, and plants. By preserving environments and limiting hunting, fishing, and captures, ESA’s purpose is to revitalize as many environments as possible. Whenever you are getting involved in a new construction site, it’s important to determine whether you will need to keep the ESA in mind. In some cases, construction activity and stormwater runoff must be considered, especially if you are working in an area that is prone to endangered species and a variety of wildlife in the area.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
If you are a contractor or represent a construction company that works with hazardous materials, you may need to abide by the EPCRA, or the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The EPCRA was enacted to ensure that contractors properly report and provide information regarding potentially hazardous materials and substances that are being utilized on a construction site. Some job sites will require you to abide by EPCRA, depending on where you are located and the type of construction project you have accepted. If you are required to abide by EPCRA, you will be responsible for posting material safety data sheets, also known as MSDS, at the direct job site you are working on.
Clean Air Act (CAA)
The Clean Air Act, or the CAA, regulates emissions from various sources, both mobile and stationary. Ensuring that construction sites abide by emissions regulations can significantly reduce waste pollution and pollution in the surrounding air. In order to abide by the CAA, most construction companies and/or contractors will be required to obtain an air permit based on the type of machinery and equipment that will be used on the job site. Chemicals, materials, and supplies that are potentially hazardous must also be listed upfront to determine if a job site is suitable for the work.
How to Ensure You Abide by Environmental Guidelines
Whether you’re a drywall contractor, work on constructing custom homes, or if you install granite counters for clients, it’s important to abide by environmental guidelines at all times in the field of construction. Before accepting any new project from a residential or commercial client, take the time to become familiar with environmental laws, regulations, and restrictions that are in place in your current city and state. Keep in mind that not all states operate the same when it comes to environmental laws and guidelines. The more familiar you are with your state’s regulations, restrictions, and environmental law, the less likely you are to encounter an issue once you accept a new job from a client.
Once you know which permits you need to apply for and pull, you can begin the process by reaching out to the appropriate local and civil offices near you. Applying for proper permits is essential before you can begin working on a job site, especially if you are doing so in any professional capacity. Always ensure that you are adequately covered before you begin working for a residential or commercial client. Avoiding the process of pulling permits or clearances can result in penalties and fees that can ultimately lead to the loss of a job.
Understanding how American builder services have changed and shifted through the years is imperative for any construction worker or anyone who is running their own construction companies and businesses today. Whether you’re interested in providing residential repairs and upgrades or if you prefer to offer solutions to commercial proper owners, knowing how American builder services must accommodate environmental laws and protections is imperative to prevent potential fees or fines in the future. Abiding by all environmental protections will ensure you can remain in business without putting the work you do at risk.