Leading building products manufacturer Steadmans has welcomed new construction industry legislation which took effect this month.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations are the main set governing the overseeing of health, safety and welfare on projects. The 2015 rules have replaced their 2007 predecessors and impose duties on people and organisations they define as principal designers, designers, principal contractors, contractors, workers, commercial clients and domestic clients.
Applying to all building and construction work, from concept to completion, the legislation – known as the CDM Regulations – covers projects including new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repairs and maintenance.
The new rules include a number of key changes. They now apply to jobs for domestic, as well as commercial, clients and all projects must have written construction phase plans. All people performing tasks must have the right skills, knowledge, training and experience – young or inexperienced personnel, such as apprentices, have to be supervised. The role of principal designer has replaced that of CDM co-ordinator, featuring in the 2007 legislation and principal designers and principal contractors must be appointed on projects with more than one contractor.
Principal designers have to co-ordinate all matters relating to health and safety, while principal contractors are ultimately responsible for operational site safety. Their duties include planning and monitoring pre-construction phases, taking prevention principles into account.
Welcoming the new regulations, Ian Hodgson, divisional director, Steadmans, said: “The 2015 rules are particularly relevant to us as their biggest impact is on businesses working as sole contractors on smaller projects – the kind of customers and jobs to which we supply a lot of materials. Companies in this position will have to act as principal designers and principal contractors, so will need to consider health and safety in designs and produce site safety plans.
“It may be tempting for some businesses in this position to see the new requirements as more unnecessary bureaucracy but of the 42 people who died on construction sites in Britain last year, 75 per cent were working on smaller projects. The focus of the legislation is therefore rightly shifting – after all, high-risk features, such as working at height, operating machinery and moving vehicles, aren’t just features of large sites.”
Statistics from the Health & Safety Executive show that, although construction has only about five per cent of Britain’s employees, the industry accounted for 31 per cent of fatal injuries and 10 per cent of reported major injuries to workers in 2013/14. In addition to the 42 fatalities, there were an estimated 76,000 cases of work-related ill-health in the sector during this period.
The executive adds an estimated 2.3 million working days were lost in the construction industry, 1.7 million due to ill-health and 592,000 to workplace injury, during 2013-14. It says that injuries and new cases of ill-health resulting largely from working conditions in the sector cost society more than £1.1bn a year.
Steadmans is a principal UK supplier for steel construction in the agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors. Its output includes steel cladding, galvanised roofing sections, composite wall and roof sheets, metal cladding, roofing products and fibre cement sheeting. All its relevant products conform to CE marking regulations and meet their requirements.
In addition to its headquarters site in Carlisle, Cumbria, Steadmans has facilities in: Uddingston, near Glasgow; Fyvie, Aberdeenshire; and Belfast, Northern Ireland. The company employs 150 people overall and benefits from being part of the SIG UK group.