About the Build Aware programme

Established in 2016, Build Aware is an educational campaign that involves partnership between WorkSafe Victoria, Victorian Building Authority, Energy Safe Victoria, and Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

Build Aware increases the construction and demolition sectors awareness of environmental laws that apply to them, equips industry with new information, tools and support to prevent harm to human health and the environment. Targeted week-long activities are conducted three times a year, including presentations to apprentices at TAFEs, in-person information sessions and unannounced inspections.

In 2021/2022 Build Aware will be visiting Geelong, La Trobe and Bendigo. This year EPA will have a strong focus on:

  • waste management
  • sediment and erosion issues
  • the Environment Protection Act 2017.

How to comply

Your environmental duty

The general environmental duty (GED) is at the centre of the Environmental Protection Act 2017 (the Act) and applies to all Victorians. You must reduce the risk of harm from your activities:

  • to human health and the environment
  • from pollution and waste

You must manage your activities to avoid the risk of environmental harm, respond to pollution events and report them promptly.

Follow EPA’s step by step guide to mange your risk and comply with your obligations.

Environmental duties for the construction industry

Your waste duties

Waste management issues are common at building sites.  It’s important to understand your responsibilities under the Act as a waste producer.

You must ensure that your waste goes to a lawful place or hire a waste removal company that can provide evidence of it going to a lawful place.

If you suspect, or have witnessed, illegal waste disposal be sure you report it to us.

How to manage waste correctly

Sediment and Erosion

Sediment and erosion are a common issue at building sites, it is important to understand the controls required to prevent this issue causing environmental harm.

 

How to manage sediment and erosion correctly

How to prepare for a Build Aware visit

Know your risks

It is important to recognise that construction and demolition activities can impact the environment and human health.

Under the Act all Victorian’s are required to comply with the general environmental duty (GED). This means that you must reduce the risk of harm from your activities to human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

The key to complying, is to understand and control your risks.  To understand your risks you first need to identify those activities that could cause harm and then assess the risk.

Risks in the construction and demolition sector can come from:

  • emissions air
  • noise
  • pollution entering waterways
  • poor asbestos management
  • poor waste storage practices
  • litter.

Take action to prevent harm

Once you have identified the risks from your activities you are now ready to take action. Action means putting in place control measures, based on what is reasonably practicable for your business, with the aim of choosing the highest level of protection and reliability.

Action also means checking your controls regularly to make sure they are working, well maintained, effective and remain the most appropriate option. This process includes monitoring control measures and identifying any changes that may need to be made to improve their effectiveness.

Guidance from EPA

How the Build Aware programme works

  • How Build Aware helps building and construction operators

    The Build Aware campaign is aimed at regional Victoria and increases the construction and demolition sectors awareness and understanding of their responsibilities through communications and inspections.

    EPA is supporting the construction and demolitions sectors to comply with the law. Failure to comply with the Environment Protection Act 2017 can result in preventable harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste. It can also result in use of stronger regulatory powers to take appropriate enforcement action against those who don’t comply.

  • How Build Aware helps apprentices and TAFE students

    Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 all Victorians have a general environmental duty (GED) to understand and reduce the risk from their activities to human health and environment from pollution and waste. Build Aware helps students and apprentices understand and apply these laws on the job.
  • How Build Aware helps the Victorian community

    EPA collaborates with other agencies to share intelligence, plan compliance campaigns, and work as one to regulate the construction and demolition industry.

    Reports from the community play an important role in preventing pollution and protecting the environment and human health. These are also used to inform our enforcement actions.

    All individuals and companies have a general environmental duty (GED) to take reasonable steps to minimize harm to human health and the environment from their activities. Build Aware helps make sure the construction industry is aware and can take appropriate action. This in turn helps to protect Victorians from harm from pollution and waste.

  • How Build Aware helps industry groups

    Build Aware’s activities will help to inform industry of its environment obligations, and the laws and regulations that apply. This is an opportunity for industry bodies representing construction to promote Build Aware events and available resources. This in turn helps to protect Victorians from harm from pollution and waste.
  • How Build Aware helps local councils

    EPA has worked closely with local government to raise awareness of the Environment Protection Act 2017. Build Aware’s activities will help to inform councils of what is expected of construction operators within your municipality. This is also an opportunity for local councils to promote Build Aware events and available resources. This in turn helps to protect Victorians from harm from pollution and waste.

Reviewed 19 November 2021