2.4. Construction

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Last update: June 2023

Phase characteristics

The construction phase is the time when the effects of infrastructure development show a real impact on nature. Strict adherence to all measures set to reduce environmental impacts is therefore a key consideration of this phase.

The main goal is to implement the plan to protect biodiversity during construction, which was prepared at the design stage.

In addition, supervision of construction activities must be undertaken during this phase in compliance with the Monitoring plan which aim is to avoid the impacts of construction on nature.

As construction work can directly impact species and their habitat, expert supervision of biodiversity conditions (ecological construction supervision) has to be in place for each stage. The technicians in charge of this supervision should have the authority to directly influence ongoing work, including its interruption in the event of a risk of serious damage to species or habitats.

Key issues to be addressed

During the construction phase, attention should be paid to two main issues:

  • Implementation of measures to protect biodiversity during construction as established in the mitigation plan and matched with the actual situation at the construction site. For example, minimizing destruction and damage to natural areas for construction equipment access, barriers to stop amphibians from entering the construction area (Figure 2.4.1), measures to avoid or reduce disturbance of nesting birds near the construction site, various tasks to transfer animals from the construction area to safe habitats outside.
  • Consistent and careful implementation of all fauna protection measures set out in the EIA process and specified in the next stages of design.

Key issues that should be addressed during construction for particular types or modes of transport infrastructure are shown in Table 2.5.

Figure 2.4.1 – A: Preventing amphibians and other wildlife from entering the construction site must be ensured before starting construction (Photo by: V. Hlaváč); B: Escape ramps for wildlife during the construction of pipeline help animals to escape but also prevent human – trapped wildlife encounter (Photo by: L. Georgiadis).

Table 2.5 – Key topics to be addressed during the construction of different types of transport infrastructure.

Type of transport infrastructure Key issues to be addressed during construction phase to reduce the impact on biodiversity 
AllMinimizing habitat destruction and negative effects on habitats adjacent with the construction site, preventing animals from entering the construction site. Implementing compensatory measures. Monitoring impact of construction on wildlife species and habitats. Actions to avoid propagating invasive non-native species.    
Roads and railways Implementing mitigation measures such as wildlife passages, fencing, escape ramps and protective barriers, artificial deterrents, warning and detection systems. Creation of secondary habitats on cuttings and embankments.
Powerlines Installing appropriate measures to prevent electrocution of birds landing on power poles and measures that make electrical wires visible to birds in flight to avoid collisions.
Pipelines Preventing animals from entering the construction site with deterrents (especially in the ditches have been dug for the installation of the pipe). Constructing temporal escape ramps to avoid animals being trapped and restoration of habitat in the pipeline route.
WaterwaysCreating natural banks to allow animals exit the canal, escape ramps allowing animals to climb out of the water, construction of fish passages at locks, creation of new wetland habitats (as compensation for destroyed habitats).
Ports Avoiding water pollution, protection of animal species using ports as their habitat (water birds, seals, etc), free movement of fish between the sea and the river.
Airports Reducing disturbance and pollution. Restoring or creating natural habitats in areas where wildlife attracted to these areas do not pose any risk for aircraft navigation.

Processes and tools

  • Ecological construction supervision is performed by professionally qualified technicians who oversee compliance of nature protection requirements during the entire construction phase to the final inspection. These technicians are often responsible for ensuring compliance with conditions laid down by the nature conservation authority and are supervised by that authority. The main goal is to minimize negative impacts of construction work on species and habitats during construction.
  • Monitoring during the construction phase is a part of three-phase monitoring (before – during and after construction). It must be focused primarily on the impact of construction works on biodiversity, including changes in occurrence and behaviour of target species after destruction of habitats, interruption of migration routes, and the effect of other disturbance.
  • Final inspection. The aim is to check whether all the conditions stipulated to occur during construction have been met. The conditions laid down for protection of biodiversity are controlled by the competent nature protection authority. The features of wildlife passages, fences, barriers, artificial repellents, detection and warning systems and all other mitigation measures installed as part of the infrastructure project are also registered by the final inspection.

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