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Sustainability is critical and runs through every stage of a project life cycle. Eileen Lee, Director Services Delivery, PM Group talks to Irish Building Magazine about the changing nature of sustainable project delivery.
“When I moved into my current role two-and-a-half years ago, there was some talk about sustainability, but now we would not go to a single client meeting or pitch where it’s not one of the key criteria for a project. Most of our clients now have sustainability targets and environmental goals.”
Eileen says that most of the clients PM Group works with consider sustainability and green credentials in their procurement processes. While in some senses, sustainability used to be an afterthought, now it runs through every stage of a project life cycle.
“For major developments, which are typically the type of developments that we are involved with, there would have always been a planning application and an environmental impact assessment that would go with that,” she says. “The big thing that’s really changed is looking at longer-term sustainability goals, like reducing your energy emissions in the future.”
"Sustainability now is thinking of the whole lifecycle of a project, and that has become more of the norm. That’s what we would have always advocated for, but it’s much easier now to have that discussion right up front with clients."
This trickles down into planning ahead for transport infrastructure, including how future employees at a site will get to work once the project is delivered. “Can they use public transport? Because going forward, organisations will have to account for their employees’ commute."
There’s also a greater focus on biodiversity: “Making sure to have a positive impact on biodiversity and the whole interaction between the human and nature.” Eileen cites examples of building in walkways where people can take a break at lunchtime as one instance of where building-in biodiversity into an overall scheme also contributes to clients’ broader goals in terms of not only sustainability but also the client’s employee experience, wellbeing and talent acquisition strategies.