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Building Safety Rules for UK Home Owners

New UK Construction Design and Management regulations are due to come into force. They can affect the sale of a property if the builder's renovation or other work does not abide by the rules.

CDM REGULATIONS: New legislation plans aim to reduce accidents in construction projects.

There will be legal requirements for on-site safety standards. It covers work carried out for homeowners who live in the property after completion.

The Managing Director of the Health and Safety Environmental specialists made the point. Pending legislation recognises that large construction sites should no longer be places where people get killed or seriously injured.

Thus, the resulting changes will focus on smaller projects. The emphasis will be within the domestic household sector.

They also commented on the way construction projects get organised. It can ‘substantially’ reduce the risks to workers.

It is imperative that all those involved in the industry should work together to meet the new standards. That includes architects, engineers, builders, and homeowners.

Health and Safety Environmental Specialists

They also pointed out that the HSE commissioned a report last year. It showed few homeowners considered security as the main factor when choosing a contractor.

Some projects may need a health and safety file describing how the work got carried out. It should also state what got installed. If this document is not provided at the end of the work it may affect the future sale of the property.

The new rules should take effect from April [2015]. That means all builders who are working in the private or domestic household sectors must create a construction safety plan for all construction projects which have the same basic standards as commercial projects.

Health and Safety File Required by Law

They must have a health and safety file at the end of all projects. This particularly applies where there was more than one contractor involved. The handover pack should include drawings, specifications, and all components that got installed.

This information is likely to get requested by lawyers and conveyance solicitors. They would need to view the information when real estate properties get bought and sold.

CDM duties get transferred to the contracting partner where there is only one. The responsibilities rest with the main contractor if there is more than one.

What if there is more than one company involved? In this case, one of the main designers must also coordinate all issues related to workplace health and safety.

What if the principal designer changes hands, or is not engaged until the end? The responsibility for the health and safety file moves up the chain. It may then rest with the main contractor. They are usually responsible for following the stringent workplace safety rules and operations at the site.

The HSE may begin visits to home improvement sites on a routine basis. They will focus on the provision of safe working practices and welfare facilities.

Health and safety offenses that result in death or serious personal injury could end with unlimited fines. It could also mean imprisonment for those who made the decisions. It also applies to those who failed to make the decisions that in turn, led to the tragedy.

Homeowners should select their contractual partners wisely. They should press for the handover of the new health and safety file.

The importance and objective of new standards’ enforcement is to pressure builders. They aim to stop builders cutting corners in safety. That is despite their savings of 5% to 20% in costs by employing unsafe operations.

There are many examples where builders cut corners including:

  • Insufficient compliance with scaffolding rules and regulations.
  • Not using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Employing unskilled workers.
  • Not producing a specific construction phase plan for the project.

Of course, this creates an increase in bureaucracy and higher building costs. But, there must be an avoidance to any increase in unscrupulous builders.


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Building New Safety Rules for Home Owners in the United Kingdom