The term "builder" can be applied to a large group of professionals associated with the construction of buildings (residential, industrial or commercial) and infrastructure (power lines, pipelines, roads, railways, bridges, airfields and tunnels).

Each construction project involves a unique team of people to plan, design and carry out the work. The construction of a residential building, for example, requires the participation of a construction manager, design engineer, construction engineer and project architect. Effective planning is essential if a project is to be executed successfully. Those involved in the design and construction of infrastructure must take the following aspects into account: environmental impact, scheduling, budget, construction site safety, the availability and transportation of building materials, logistics, inconvenience to the public caused by construction etc.

Various specialists are involved in the construction process, the most common being bricklayers, carpenters, iron and steel workers, electricians, glaziers, plasterers,  heavy equipment operators, heating and cooling experts, landscapers, painters and decorators, roofers, stonemasons, tilers and waterproofing specialists.
Construction activities require the consumption of resources (energy and materials) and generate waste and atmospheric emissions — all of which have significant environmental impacts. The overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural world can be minimised by:
  • the efficient use of materials;
  • the efficient use of energy, including measures to reduce energy demand for heating and cooling (which account for 40 percent of household energy consumption), hot water (which accounts for 20 percent of energy consumption), and lighting and appliances;
  • the efficient use of water (by reducing the quantity of water consumed and making greater use of storm water and recycled wastewater of appropriate quality);
  • taking measures to protect the health of building occupants; and
  • reducing waste and pollution.
The concept of green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) entails environmental responsibility and resource efficiency throughout the life-cycle of a building — from siting and design to construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition. This requires close cooperation between the design team, architects, engineers and clients at all stages of a project. The practice of green building expands on and complements the traditional focus in the construction industry on economy, utility, durability and comfort.

New technologies are constantly being developed to ensure greener buildings, with the common objective of achieving designs that reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural world. Measures to achieve this include:
  • using energy, water and other resources efficiently;
  • applying passive design features (that take advantage of climate and natural daylight to ensure a comfortable temperature and minimise the use of lighting inside the building);
  • reducing waste and pollution; and
  • focusing on smaller-scale constructions that make use of natural materials that are available locally.

The following guidelines can help you make your home more environmentally friendly:
  • Save energy by adding more insulation — beyond the minimum requirements — to walls, roofs and floors. Think about using mineral wool, expanded polystyrene and recycled newspaper as insulation. Less energy is used during the production of these materials, and they emit fewer noxious emissions than polystyrene and polyurethane.
  • Collect rainwater from roof gutters and use permeable surfaces around buildings to allow rainwater to drain away naturally.
  • Use recycled or new concrete slabs rather than asphalt for paving.
  • Install external lighting that has controls for efficient use, such as lights that go off automatically when there is sufficient daylight, or when they are not needed at night.
  • Use recycled materials, such as second-hand bricks, tiles, slates or crushed concrete.
  • Make sure that windows, doors and roof lights are designed to save energy.
  • Use water-based or natural paints and wood stains that will not damage air quality.
  • Use materials supplied by local merchants and stores so that you do not have to transport them over long distances.
  • Install storage facilities (inside or outside your home/building) for collecting recyclable materials.
  • Consider installing solar panels to heat water and generate electricity.

You can save energy and water in the home by following some simple tips:
  • Use an energy-efficient gas condensing boiler for hot water and heating.
  • Insulate hot-water pipes and tanks.
  • Install dual-flush toilets.
  • Use aerated taps and shower heads that have a reduced flow rate.
  • Install separate temperature controls for different parts of the house, such as thermostatic valves that control the temperature of radiators.
  • Use low-energy lighting and light bulbs.