Balfour Beatty – Sustainability Challenge

Welcome to the Balfour Beatty ‘Sustainability Challenge’

Imagine your school has decided to build a brand new science laboratory on your school field. They have asked you to construct the laboratory and set up your offices within the school grounds. In construction, this is what we refer to as our ‘site compound’. This is where the project team work each day, receive deliveries and where we keep our plant and machinery.

As a class or in groups, we want you to design a site compound for your workforce to work in while you build the laboratory. You will need to think about the environment around your school, resources you might need and how a ‘site compound’ might function.

  • Using recycled paper or cardboard, draw a design of what your site compound will look like
  • Include a minimum of four sustainable or environmentally friendly ideas and label these on your drawing using the examples below to help
  • On each label you should include: What is the idea? What does it do or how does it work? Why is it sustainable or good for the environment?

Optional extension:
Using clean recycled materials, build a model of an item from your design. This could be an electric digger, wind turbine, site cabin or forest!

Example site set up

A site compound is a temporary office for people working on the project. This could include the project manager, engineer, quantity surveyor, planner, administration staff and many more. The facilities typically include: 

  • Kitchen
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Office space for people to work
  • Meeting room
  • Plant (Machinery such as trucks, diggers and cranes)
  • Car Parking
  • An outdoor seating area
  • Materials to build with and storage

Ideas to consider including on your site compound:

How will you power the site? Will you use fossil fuels which produce greenhouse gases, or will you look at greener alternatives? Consider your environment, could you power your site using wind energy? Think about inside your site buildings too, how will they be energy efficient? Site set up ideas:

  • Solar power
  • Wind power
  • Insulation
  • Energy efficient i.e. motion sensor lighting
  • Floor design which converts kinetic energy from footfall to electrical energy

Where will the water on your site come from – can you collect rainwater? How will you manage water usage to be more sustainable? Site set up ideas:

  • Greywater recycling in toilets
  • Motion sensor taps
  • Dual flush toilets
  • Rainwater harvesting

How will you ensure that wildlife is not injured or harmed at your site? Will you provide areas on your site where animals and insects are encouraged; will this be on site or even integrated into the site buildings? Site set up ideas:

  • Ecological surveys
  • Animal fencing
  • Animal homes/boxes
  • Green wall/green roof
  • Replanting trees for those cut down
  • Picnic garden on site with lots of greenery

How will you separate and manage waste on site? What will you do to limit waste?
Site set up ideas:

  • Clearly labelled bins
  • Recycle/reuse as much as possible
  • No single use plastic in kitchen areas
  • Supply all workers with a reusable water bottle
  • Only order the volume of materials needed
  • Go digital to reduce paper used

How will you limit the pollution on your site - think about noise, dust, harmful gases, water pollution etc. Site set up ideas:

  • Acoustic barriers
  • Wheel washing of vehicles
  • Make sure drivers of vehicles turn off their engines when not in use
  • Electric plant and fleet

Can you think of any other ways you could make your site as sustainable and environmentally friendly? Be as creative and innovative as possible!

Top tips:

  • Please use recycled paper, card or digital formats to draw your designs
  • Class teacher to email entries to the email address supplied with the subject ‘Sustainability Challenge’
  • Optional - Tweet a picture of your design and structure using #BalfourBeatty #Sustainabilitychallenge

Supporting resources:

You can find a number of additional resources here that you may find useful