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With building projects such as roads, bridges, canals and dams, civil engineering works are a feature of our landscape, leaving a trail of woes behind them. Yet if the construction industry is responsible for a large amount of waste and general pollution, it is also well known as the largest industrial employer. That's why, as a key driver in national economies, the building sector has the capacity to propose solutions that will contribute to sustainable development.

Civil works for large buildings, industrial plants or campuses have significant environmental, economic and social impacts – the three pillars of sustainable development – and the players involved need to develop strategies to address these sustainability challenges.

This has now been achieved with ISO/TS 21929-2, Sustainability in building construction – Sustainability indicators – Part 2: Framework for the development of indicators for civil engineering works, which establishes a core list of aspects and impacts for assessing the sustainability performance of civil engineering works. The new technical specification:

  • Adapts general sustainability principles for civil engineering works
  • Includes a framework for developing sustainability indicators for use in assessing the economic, environmental and social impacts of civil engineering works
  • Establishes a core set of aspects and impacts, which should be taken into account when developing systems of indicators for civil engineering works

These aspects and impacts serve as a basis for developing indicators to assess the sustainability performance of new or existing civil engineering works, taking into account their design, construction, operation, maintenance, refurbishment and end of life.

The sustainability issues of concern are numerous, from use of energy resources to job creation and cultural heritage. That is why the choice of relevant indicators will depend on the needs of interested parties, decision-making bodies, the works in question and their local context, and the availability of information.

ISO/TS 21929-2 describes how to use sustainability indicators with regard to civil engineering works and lays down rules for establishing a system of indicators. It also explains its relation to other standards such as ISO 14000 on environmental management, ISO 26000 on social responsibility and ISO 15392 for sustainability in building construction.

ISO/TS 21929-2 can be bought from your national member or on the ISO Store.


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Sandrine Tranchard
Sandrine Tranchard

+41 22 749 03 11

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Sandrine Tranchard

+41 22 749 03 11

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