A construction project is complete not when the structure is finished but when the surrounding environment has been returned to its original state. Most people focus on the completed project, but when the area around the site is not restored, it’s unsightly and noticeable. From the first day of planning, construction managers must have a strategy—and a budget—for environmental restoration.
What Is Environmental Restoration?
Environmental restoration services encompass the many methods that might be used to restore the site to its original condition. This might include:
Removing temporary roads
Repairing any damage that was done during construction
Recontouring the land to remove soil stabilization measures
Rehabilitating compacted soil
Replanting grass, crops, ornamental plants, or trees
Repairing fences, driveways, and landscaping
Construction companies can perform this work in-house or hire a qualified subcontractor to handle it after construction is complete. In some cases, environmental restoration can take months or even years depending on the scope of rehabilitation required.
Why Is Environmental Restoration Important?
Every construction project comes with some degree of environmental restoration, but how well it is done can vary depending on the provider, contract obligations, and the commitment to full rehabilitation of the site.
Comply with Regulations
Depending on the location and the scope of the project, you might need to meet environmental regulations to prevent erosion, limit invasive species, and protect waterways by controlling sediment. By working with a qualified environmental compliance management partner, you can ensure that your project meets regulations from beginning to end with services such as:
Environmental and restorative oversight
Quality control inspection, analysis, consultation, and reporting
Impacts and recovery assessments
In addition to the Clean Water Act and other federal regulations, your project might be subject to local or regional requirements for limiting water pollution and protecting the habitats of particular species. These regulations apply to every aspect of the project, from site access before construction begins through to environmental restoration once the building is complete. Being vigilant about compliance will also reduce the risk of fines or other penalties due to violations.
Protect the Environment
One of the primary goals of environmental restoration is to protect the surrounding area by limiting damage as much as possible and, once construction is complete, repairing any damage that has occurred. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, it is the responsibility of construction managers to ensure minimal impact on the environment and its habitat. With effective access planning that includes a restoration plan, you can maintain—or even improve—the project site.
Protect Your Reputation
No matter the quality of your construction, if the site is left messy and damaged, your reputation is at risk. Potential clients, architects, local regulators, and the general public will see the site conditions before, during, and after construction. Whether dealing with private landowners, conservationists, or the municipality, the more proactive you are about protecting the environment, the more trusted your company will be. If you don’t prioritize environmental restoration, you could be putting the long-term success of your company at risk.
Steps for Environmental Restoration
Although every project is different, there are a few key steps in any environmental restoration effort:
Step 1: Remove Temporary Roads
First, remove temporary access roads and construction debris from the area being restored. Temporary roads are typically made using timber matting or aggregate and must be removed before the final grading.
Step 2: Restore Terrain
Next, fill in any terrain cuts made to create access to the area or allow the construction of a piece of the project. The area should be graded back to its original elevations using heavy equipment.
Step 3: Replant Vegetation
When the final grading of an area is complete, it must then be seeded, fertilized, and stabilized. The specific seed mix and fertilizer ratios vary by project, and the stabilization methods vary by location and slope. The most common methods to stabilize seeded soil are spreading straw mulch over the seeded area or blanketing the soil with pinned erosion control matting.
Plan Your Next Project with KLEIN
Of course, the less damage that is done in the first place, the easier environmental restoration will be. This is why it’s so important to have a comprehensive site access plan that includes a strategy for minimizing your impact on the land.
KLEIN is a full-service environmental, site development, and restoration company that offers:
We’ll work closely with you and your team to implement best management practices (BMPs) from beginning to end, no matter how challenging the site. Contact us today to learn more or request a quote.