Construction, the environment and sustainable development

A legal update on global environmental legislation affecting construction projects, using information from the PLC Cross-border Construction and Projects Handbook 2010/11.

PLC Cross-border

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The construction and projects sector continues to experience increasing global pressure to create environmentally friendly schemes and developments ...show full speedread

The construction and projects sector continues to experience increasing global pressure to create environmentally friendly schemes and developments. Using information from the PLC Cross-border Construction and Projects Handbook, this update gives examples of recent developments in France, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Poland and Sweden.

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The construction and projects sector continues to experience increasing global pressure to create environmentally friendly schemes and developments (see, for example, Practice note, Climate change issues for investors, shareholders and insurers (www.practicallaw.com/8-501-7176)). Many jurisdictions have implemented, or plan to implement, legislation, international treaties or guidelines to encourage sustainable development. Investors are becoming progressively more enthusiastic in developing "green" projects to comply with, and in anticipation of, legislative developments.

Questions 25 and 26 of the PLC Cross-border Construction and Projects Handbook ask practitioners in 18 jurisdictions to outline how the effect of construction projects on the environment is regulated, and whether buildings must meet climate change or carbon emissions targets.

For example:

  • In France, the authorities have set an ambitious legislative agenda relating to climate change and carbon emissions, culminating in the Grenelle I Act. The Act defines France's environmental goals, sector by sector. The prudent investor in the French construction sector should be aware of these developments, to avoid premature obsolescence of its projects and to take advantage of competitive resale prices (see France chapter, Lacourte, Balas & Associes).

  • In the United Arab Emirates, there is considerable momentum in relation to developing green building codes, influenced by US standards and certain European requirements. It is expected that a federal green building code to regulate all the individual Emirates' codes will be implemented in the near future (see United Arab Emirates chapter, Denton Wilde Sapte).

  • Practitioners from Ireland (Arthur Cox), Poland (Clifford Chance Janicka Namiotkiewicz Debowski sk) and Sweden (Kilpatrick Stockton) discuss the implementation into their national legislation of Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings (Energy Performance Directive) and its effects. These effects will continue to be felt as new Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (recast) takes effect from 1 February 2012 (see Practice note, EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directives: 2002 Directive and 2010 recast Directive (www.practicallaw.com/0-381-4180)).

The PLC Cross-border Construction and Projects Handbook provides further information on individual jurisdictions' legislation and political developments relating to the sustainable construction. To compare environmental legislation affecting projects across a number of jurisdictions, see Country Q&A tool. For more detail on cross-border environmental law, see PLC Cross-border Environment Handbook.

 
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