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Contractors in NI required to have Certified Environmental System (EMS)

Construction in Northern Ireland


  • Effective 1st April 2016 in Northern Ireland
  • Applicable to all construction works contracts procured by a Centre of Procurement Expertise (CoPE)
  • Contractors must have a certified environmental management system.
  • Acceptable Standards include ISO 14001.
  • Certification bodies must be accredited by national body i.e. UKAS.

Original Author: Department of Finance and Personnel (NI)

Original Links:


Notification of the requirement for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in Northern Ireland Government construction contracts

Northern Ireland EMS policy requirement

From 1 April 2016, all construction works contracts procured by a Centre of Procurement Expertise (CoPE) will include a requirement that all main contractors seeking to tender shall have and maintain an EMS certified by a third party. CPD in conjunction with the CoPEs will approve and accept third party certification of an EMS provided that:

  • it is based on a recognised standard e.g. ISO 14001, BS8555 or equivalent;
  • it is construction focused incorporating site inspections; and
  • the third party certification body is accredited or recognised1.

    The EMS third party certification:

  • shall be obtained /renewed within three years of the main contract award date; and
  • shall include an annual verification audit undertaken in the intervening years.

    1 The certifying body must be accredited by the National Accreditation Body, for example UKAS, to undertake third party certification to ISO 14001. In other circumstances the certifying body must be recognised by a professional environmental body, institution or regulator as having the knowledge and skill to undertake construction focused third party EMS audits.

    Requirement for main contractors to have an EMS certified by a third party

    It is anticipated that this requirement will be included in the selection criteria of Pre- Qualification Questionnaires (PQQ) for Government construction works contracts from 1 April 2016.

    Therefore main contractors interested in bidding for future Government construction works contracts should act now to ensure that, by 1 April 2016 they have in place an EMS certified by a third party which satisfies the above requirements.

    Further information on this requirement is available from CPD at the following email address: