Now the majority of renovation sites are operational again after the Covid19 lockdown, there are additional health and safety procedures that need to be implemented to ensure workers are kept safe. 

New Construction Leadership Council (CLC) guidance introduces consistent measures on construction sites of all types and sizes in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing and to ensure employers and individuals make every effort to comply.

Who is responsible for putting new government guidance in place (or updating previous policies) will largely depend on whether a client is self-managing the project or using an outside contractor. 

It has always been the case that commercial projects and residential renovations must be carried out under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM), which outlines the legal requirements for the health and safety of projects from concept to completion. 

If a client is using a single main contractor, then generally it is the contractor’s responsibility to follow CDM and to keep employees and sub-contractors updated on health and safety arrangements, including safe distance working. Renovators who are engaging single main contractors would be well advised to familiarise themselves with the liability and Health & Safety clauses of any and all building contracts to avoid any nasty surprises.

For projects with more than one contractor, clients should have already appointed a principal designer and principal contractor under regulation 5 of CDM. The principal designer has full responsibility for co-ordinating the health and safety pre-construction and the construction phase plan. Clients should discuss any new risk assessments or rules that need to be put in place with the principle designer. This is done in coordination with the principal contractor, who is then responsible for implementing the regulations on site, including consultations with employees and subcontractors and monitoring the situation. 

If a client is self-managing, in terms of CDM they will automatically have the responsibility of being both the principal contractor and the principal designer. This means they need to be fully aware of all the potential health and safety risks, and ensuring their implementation. If a client has appointed a principal designer, it is vital they work with them in updating recent health and safety regulations.

Without a principal designer on a renovation project, the client needs to continually review all health and safety aspects of the design, with responsibilities including:

  • Organise design hazard review meetings
  • Ensure that the designers are following the nine CDM principles of prevention
  • Liaise with the designers 

Self-managing clients would also need to be aware of their duty of care to bona-fide and labour-only sub-contractors when working on their site. A labour only subcontractor is generally hired on a short-term basis to help on a project. As such, they are classed as an employee of the contractor or person managing the project and will therefore work under their supervision and direction, including all health and safety policies. They will also generally be included on the employers’ liability and public liability insurance should any issues occur.

Your clients or their contractors may also hire a bona-fide subcontractor to help finish a specific job, such as a plumbing, roofing, or an electrical specialist. These are generally considered to be contractors who work under their own supervision and direction. This means they are also responsible for their own health and safety and have their own liability and employers’ liability, though it is necessary to check that they have a limit of indemnity that covers them for the work they are contracted to do. Please also note that the use of bona-fide subcontractors doesn’t change the self-managing client’s Health & Safety obligations as far as pre-existing site risks are concerned.

Health and safety is always paramount on construction sites, and we are happy to talk to our Broker network directly as to how these new regulations may affect their current and future clients. Just get in touch.

Categories: Blog, Industry Knowledge

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