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Why you need a sustainable project manager

Stuart Hart, head of GIA’s building consultancy, explains how a sustainable project manager can benefit the building process

Unless they have had their head in the sand for the last 10 years, architects, the consultant teams they work with, their clients and, contractors will be aware of the vast increase in legislation relating to sustainability performance in the building process, from planning requirements to energy efficiency provisions. By employing the principles of sustainable project management, architects can more easily achieve the sustainability objectives of their projects.

In essence, the sustainable project management process is the implementation of a whole-of-development approach.  This considers the design and development aspects, as well as the facility management and operational practices that need to be put in place to ensure that the building functions as intended throughout its operating life.

By instigating an integrated design process at the outset of a project, the entire project team is engaged in every step thereby ensuring that their needs and requirements are factored in and that environmental, social and financial outcomes are achieved. This is more commonly known as the Triple Bottom Line or TBL.

The project manager can also influence the performance of a sustainable building at each stage of the building project, so that the vision and direction of the project is maintained, despite the inevitable pressures the team will face to save time and costs.  A sustainable Project manager will integrate the challenge of meeting sustainable objectives with his/her traditional tasks and responsibilities. This may range from helping set targets for the required method for assessing environmental performance (BREEAM for example) at an early stage of a scheme to ensuring that the building will be operated in the way its designers intended and prescribed environmental performance levels are achieved.

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