Friday, 19 February 2010

Check builders' credentials

Shropshire companies planning building work at their premises must check their contractor’s safety records first.

That’s the warning from Graham Davies, our Senior Partner, who said the rules on health and safety for major building works had now changed. “Under the new rules, it’s now your responsibility as the client to check the credentials of any builders you plan to use, before you sign a contract.”

Graham said the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 meant that the Health and Safety Executive had to be notified in advance of any projects scheduled to last longer then 30 working days, or that involved 500 person days of work.

“Until the new rules were introduced, you could appoint a contractor to manage the work who would be responsible for ensuring any sub-contractors complied with health and safety legislation. If there were any problems, the contractor would be liable for their actions, but now the Health and Safety Executive would be likely to hold you, or your company responsible instead.”

Graham said if your building work qualified as a project that the HSE needed to know about in advance, it was a good idea to take advice on how to meet the health and safety requirements.

“Start by appointing a CDM co-ordinator to advise and assist, and a main contractor to plan, manage and co-ordinate the work. You will also need to use a qualified designer to make sure the work will be suitable and safe. The financial costs of meeting CDM requirements can be significant, so try to plan building projects so they stay within the 30-day limit to save your company money and to reduce the stress involved.”