Isabelle Rellstab, Manager of BEG Ingénierie France’s Environment Department
Published on 4 March 2021
Published on 4 March 2021
Isabelle Rellstab joined BEG Ingénierie a year ago and has more than 25 years experience in the ICPE (classified facilities for the protection of the environment) sector.
Here she tells us about her career and her missions.
(Reading time: 4 minutes)
What’s your background?
I studied ecology at university. I graduated in 1993 with a degree in environmental studies, which was a totally new subject at the time.
I started my career as an ICPE consultant for a firm called Conseil Murat, then I became project manager for Industries Environnement. In 2006 I joined Safège, a subsidiary of Suez Environnement and an engineering firm specialising in the water and environment sectors. I was head of the Industry unit. I then spent more than 8 years with the engineering firm BIGS.
It was during my time there that I met BEG Ingénierie, who were one of my clients.
What does your role with BEG involve now?
BEG Ingénierie has decided to bring ICPE skills in-house. The aim is obviously to be able to react quicker and better to regulatory demands, which are becoming more and more complex, especially with regard to tenders.
At this point it is probably worth explaining what ICPE means: Any industrial or agricultural operation likely to create risks or cause pollution or harm, particularly with regard to the safety and security of surrounding people, is a Classified Facility for the Protection of the Environment (ICPE). As such, it is subject to new regulations for the prevention of environmental risks.
ICPEs are governed by the Environmental Code and other regulations such as the law on war and the preservation of protected spaces and so on. These measures may concern BEG Ingénierie and we pay careful attention to them.
My role is to pre-empt such measures by factoring them in during the building design stage, then to check compliance with environmental regulations during every phase of a project. Several scenarios are possible when a project is being conceived. We study the industrial and environmental risks in order to make good technical choices. Our role is to support the project managers and offer them guidance when they are designing buildings so that they take account of environmental considerations.
I then compile the corresponding administrative files, submit them to the authorities and monitor all the other formalities.
Obviously we don’t do everything in-house, and I am also here to steer and oversee designs supplied by firms who specialise in ecology, water, soil and so on.
Concretely, what is being done these days in environmental terms when it comes to the design and construction of buildings?
The present policy can be summed up in three words: avoid, reduce, offset.
That could mean, for example, preserving woodland by integrating it into a development. We could also limit the impact on an area by reducing a car park’s footprint. Sometimes you have to find offsetting measures, such as moving flora and fauna to other land or recreating hedges to stimulate a resurgence of biodiversity after land clearing.
These measures can be pre-empted and require applications for exemptions and permits, all of which must be followed up.
It has become essential to take account of environmental factors and we pay careful attention to this aspect, particularly within AFILOG.
Do you do any work on building sites?
The environmental policy is not limited to securing administrative permits, it requires a holistic approach that needs buy-in from every part of the company, not least because it affects everyone in society.
Obviously during the construction phase we make sure that the provisions of the permits we have obtained are respected so that buildings comply with requirements. In concrete terms this step involves analysing the project with regard to applicable laws and regulations. This enables us to alert project managers to any points where special care needs to be taken.
So I am in touch with my colleagues throughout every stage of the building site phase. This can, where necessary, entail auditing buildings during construction.
Knowing environmental regulations is fundamental to BEG Ingénierie’s work in the field of ICPE but also beyond that. Taking this skill in-house represents a first step to ensuring that all stages of our projects comply with regulations.