- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 23 Apr 2019
Ecologist for building design and construction
An ecologist studies the relationship between animals, plants and their environment. Ecologists often design and conduct surveys, identifying, recording and monitoring habitats and species. Key tasks often include analysis and interpretation of data and samples, and the use ecological data to help assess and understand the state of the environment. The work of an ecologist is often in support of European and UK environmental legislation.
 Typical activities
The role of an ecologist can be wide ranging and varied and may include:
- Undertaking site surveys e.g. Extended Phase I Habitat surveys, badger, otter, water vole, bat, bird, dormouse, great crested newt, reptiles and so on.
- Communicating with site managers, engineers, planners and others associated with a survey.
- Carrying out ecological impact assessments as part of a wider Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
- Taxonomy - classifying organisms and understanding their relationships.
- Analysing and interpreting data, using specialist software programs.
- Habitat management and creation.
- Writing reports and issuing recommendations.
- Undertaking data analysis.
- Advising engineering firms, road planners, construction firms and other stakeholders.
- Carrying out research and development and applied science.
- Undertaking teaching in schools, field centres, academic institutes etc.
- Keeping abreast of new environmental policies and legislation.
- Developing changes to policy and/or legislation, based on ecological findings.
Ecologists may be employed by a variety of organisations including:
- Government and statutory bodies e.g. Natural England, Defra, Environment Agency.
- Scientific bodies e.g. Natural Environment Research Council.
- Environmental consultancies (specialist ecology companies or as part of a wider environmental/engineering consultancy).
- Conservation and ecology NGOs and voluntary organisations e.g. Wildlife Trusts, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
- Ecological Clerk of Works.
Many employers now require further postgraduate qualification such as a Masters degree or PhD and pre-entry experience (paid or voluntary) is typically essential. There are various options for gaining practical voluntary experience including:
- The Wildlife Trusts.
- Local bat groups.
- Local badger groups.
- Local mammal groups.
- Local amphibian and reptile groups.
- Local botanical groups.
- Local moth groups.
- Local butterfly groups.
- Field Studies Council.
- Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management.
- The Mammal Society.
The Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) is the leading professional body that represent ecologists and there are a variety of membership options available. With the appropriate qualifications and experience, it is possible to become a chartered environmentalist (CEnv) with the Society for the Environment (SocEnv) or a chartered ecologist (CEcol) with Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Biodiversity offsetting.
- BREEAM Ecological value of site.
- BREEAM Enhancing site ecology.
- BREEAM Protection of ecological features.
- BREEAM Minimising impact on existing site ecology.
- Ecological impact assessment.
- Ecological survey.
- Ecology compensation.
- Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.
- Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Environmental plan.
- Environmental policy.
- Preliminary ecological appraisal.
- Protected species.
 External references
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
- Environment Agency.
- Field Studies Council.
- Find your Local bat group, Bat Conservation Trust.
- Local amphibian and reptile groups, Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK.
- Local badger Groups, Badger Trust.
- Local mammal Groups, The Mammal Society.
- Natural England.
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
- Society for the Environment.
- The Mammal Society.
- Wildlife Trusts.
Featured articles and news
Developing test methods for video flame/smoke detectors
Waiting for a new deal ...but will funding materialise?
Our servers have reached another milestone. Why not write an article and be seen by our 6.5 million users.
RSHP celebrates competition win in Paris.
All about approved inspectors.
Whilst apparently confusing, German conservation is actually not that different.
The rise and fall of council housing. Book review.
Drivers of change in global heating markets.
11 interesting facts about the use and nature of the material.
Will politicians ultimately fail to tackle Britain's structural challenges?
How self-certification can save time and money.