AECoW is the qualifying body for Environmental Clerks of Works (ECoW). AECoW has been developed to raise professional standards amongst those providing ECoW services whilst promoting ECoWs as valuable members of site development teams.
The pages of this website provide an account of the structure and function of the Association and sets out the process by which prospective members can apply
How the Association came about
The Association was formed by a group of like minded environmental consultants who, after dealing with a particular enquiry from a client, noticed that ECoW services were often being provided by inexperienced and ill-equipped ecologists or environmental managers. Following discussions with organisations such as CIEEM and IEMA the group decided to form a new professional body which aimed to ensure those practising as ECoWs were sufficiently trained and experienced. Having developed an initial set of policies and membership criteria, a period of consultation was undertaken with a wide range of organisations including: CIEEM, SNH and academic departments including: Stirling and Heriot Watt Universities.
AECoW is a not for profit organisation and all membership fees are used to further the Association’s aims of establishing professional standards in ECoW across construction and environmental professionals.
There is a strong vision to improve the industry and integrate the working practice of a range of professionals working in the field of environmental auditing.
The Association works to our Vision and Mission Statements:
“Our vision is for the ECoW role to become standard practice on construction and engineering projects where significant risks to the environment exist.”
“Our mission is to develop and promote the role of Environmental Clerks of Works (ECoW) through the establishment of good practice and knowledge sharing for the benefit of the environment.”
Within this context, our core objectives are to:
- Act as a qualifying body which seeks to raise professional standards through peer review of members;
- Promote the role of ECoW
- Provide training to industry professionals to undertake the ECoW role;
- Develop a programme of continuous professional development (CPD) and support to promote good practice;
- Create a network to facilitate the exchange of good practice and develop research into the roles; and
- Provide a forum for providing feedback to national and local government, regulators and NGO’s on ECoW issues.
As the Association has grown over the last 10 years, we’ve focused our efforts by developing a three year strategy, which is under constant review to monitor it’s progress. The Strategy contains the four following priorities:
- Promoting the ECoW role;
- Developing quality in the ECoW role;
- Delivering training and skills development; and
- Providing a role for the ECoW community.
Our priorities are delivered through 'Actions Plans', which are outlined in Appendix 1. Please review our Strategy and get in touch should you have any comments, or are interested in supporting the Association by helping deliver it.
AECoW considers an ECoW to be an environmental or construction professional with direct responsibility for monitoring compliance with environmental legislation, policy or mitigation. ECoWs may be engaged during the construction or operation phase of any given development where environmental compliance requires to be audited or monitored. ECoWs will normally be professionally qualified environmental or construction professionals such as environmental consultants, civil engineers, surveyors, project managers, ecologists, hydrologists or archaeologists. ECoWs can also have a specialist environmental discipline in noise, air quality, contaminated land, hydrogeology as well as other disciplines.
The primary role is to advise on compliance with the environmental planning conditions, such as hydrology, noise, air quality, river and land pollution, protected species and landscape, with preparation of compliance reports for clients and stakeholders and advisory reports for site managers/staff.
An ECoW is normally involved in the following activities:
- Auditing of site management plans/method statements to ensure project compliance;
- Providing advice to contractors on the delivery of agreed mitigation measures;
- Liaising with stakeholders such as statutory regulators, planning officials and members of the public;
- Regular surveying to monitor environmental sensitivities at the site. These may be sensitive receptors such as a protected watercourse or static sensitivities
- Monitoring work activities in close proximity to sensitive environmental receptors to ensure impacts are minimised, i.e. preventing pollution run-off to rivers.
An ECoW is responsible for ensuring site contractors and management are equipped with the correct knowledge to protect environmental features on site. This can often require decisions to be made quickly, sometimes in highly pressured circumstances.
Only certain individuals have the correct combination of qualifications, skills and confidence to undertake such a role. An experienced ECoW will hold Chartered status with an appropriate Institute and have a good working understanding of the construction process. Less experienced ECoWs will have a relevant degree (either environmental or construction related) and experience of construction sites. In some instances the most appropriate person to fulfil the ECoW role may not hold formal qualifications but will have substantial experience.
The skills needed by an ECoW include:
- Knowledge and experience of typical construction practices;
- Assertiveness and strong communication skills, in particular an ability to relay environmental information at both a technical and layman level;
- Robust understanding of relevant scientific principles; and
- A sound understanding of environmental legislation (and licensing) and how it applies to construction/development sites.
The Association of Environmental Clerks of Works will be governed by its Articles of Association, a not for profit company registered at Companies House, Company Registration No: 380596.