Building and infrastructure

Construction and modernisation

Considering sustainability and user requirements when assessing the need for construction measures and when planning construction projects

What do we mean by this?

Once the planning phase has yielded results, these are put into action with the provision of construction services and – sometimes literally – concretised in the execution of construction measures such as the erection, expansion, or modernisation of buildings. The construction measures and processes involved require the outlay of financial, material, technical, and human resources.

Investment in replacement work during the life cycle of buildings and structural facilities also falls under this area for action. This includes work for the dismantling and disposal of components and essential building systems as they need replacing.

Construction measures cause energy and material flows and effects on the local and global environment as well as effects on the health and safety of affected groups. Affected groups include, among others, personnel on the construction site, employees in the immediate vicinity, and potentially the neighbourhood. Environment, health, and safety must be kept in mind during construction work of any kind. When renovating or modernising used structures, special attention must be given to protecting the health of personnel concerned. Any undesirable effects on the local environment, on the neighbourhood, or on employees in the immediate vicinity must be minimised. When it comes to initiating construction and modernisation projects, the following points in particular must be taken into account:

  • Taking the professional suitability of companies and their demonstrable willingness to comply with environmental and social standards (pre-qualification) into consideration in the procurement of construction services, as well as integrating specifications on environmental and health protection, economic efficiency, and technical reliability in the tender and award procedure
  • Avoiding negative impact on biodiversity and avoiding/reducing waste and emissions in construction processes; protecting soil, groundwater, living organisms, and vegetation during construction
  • Informing people affected by construction measures in advance

How could a research organisation implement this?

  • Consider ecological, social and economic aspects in the procurement of construction services, in tender and award processes, and in the selection of companies
  • Consider sustainability aspects in construction site facilities and execution of construction (e.g. soil and groundwater protection, using low-noise construction machinery, avoiding dust formation, sorting waste by type)
  • Check subcontractors' compliance with environmental and social standards
  • Keep employees and user groups continually informed and involved
  • Maintain and develop construction expertise with regard to onsite construction supervision
  • Document the construction work, building materials, and products used

Further information

  • BaustellV 
  • DIN EN 15942
  • EnEV
  • ISO 15392
  • ISO 21930
  • BMUB (2013): Guideline for Sustainable Building
  • SiGePlan
  • VDI 4800

Sustainability reporting

DNK criteria

  • 12 Resource Management
  • 13 Climate-Relevant Emissions

GRI indicators

  • Economy: EC 1, 2, 7–9
  • Ecology: EN 1-3, 5, 6, 8–11, 13–26, 29, 31
  • Society: LA 6/7; SO 1, 2, 8; PR 1–3, 9