In the latest of a long line of business award successes, O’Brien Contractors has won a prestigious Green Apple Environment Award alongside much larger companies, including Laing O’Rourke, Kier and Lovell.

The Bronze Award recognises the company’s achievement and long-term commitment to developing a sustainable business and sharing best practice within the industry to improve the construction sector’s overall sustainability and environmental performance.

Managing Director, Peter O’Brien said: “We are delighted that our commitment to sustainability and continual improvement of our environmental performance has been recognised by this internationally renowned environmental recognition programme.”

As well as recognising the financial stability that the company has created through its diversification programme, which saw it expand its service offering, develop new solutions, grow its client base and increase its workforce, the award recognises the commitment the company has demonstrated to being environmentally sustainable through a range of initiatives.

These include:

  • Developing a comprehensive three page Environmental Policy
  • Implementing a purchasing policy that ensures materials are sourced sustainably, for example:
    • Suppliers must be ISO14001 accredited
    • Timber must be FSC certified and a chain-of-custody certificate must be produced
    • Preference must be given to recycled stone/bricks where possible
    • Metal must have a minimum recycled content of 40%
    • Using Hanson EcoPlus concrete which incorporates waste blast furnace slag to reduce its CO2 content by 13.53 tonnes for every 100m3 of concrete

O’Brien’s has also introduced a comprehensive recycling system that segments waste recycling in the office and on site, with dedicated skips for timber, steel, rubble and cardboard. It is further developing this system in order to achieve zero waste to landfill.

Excavated earth is recycled whenever possible by incorporating it into the projects it delivers, for example at Hollyfast School, Coventry, it was used to construct a turfed mound in the playground. This not only reduced waste but also reduced disposal costs and the resulting cost to the client. If materials can’t be reused on-site they are transported to nearby projects for reuse if possible.

The move to a paperless office is now saving approximately 12,000 sheets of paper per year and the company’s entire fleet of vehicles has been updated to low-emission models.

Peter O’Brien said: “Implementing environmental best practices now and constantly striving to improve performance is vital for our business, and our industry, to remain successful.