Jo describes some key Health & Safety considerations to take into account when planning a renovation.
Health and Safety in home renovation may not be glamorous, but it is vitally important. Sadly, construction accidents do happen, and so do dangerously built houses.
The Construction Design & Management (CDM) Regulations are designed to help ensure your dream home is also a safe one.
The CDM Regulations, which came into effect in 2015, state you must appoint a ‘Principal Designer’ to be responsible for Health & Safety during the planning of the project. For a big build this is a big job – and is one of the ways a project manager will really add value. Without a Project Manager, you will need to either appoint your Contractor to be the Principal Designer or fulfil the role yourself.
The ‘Principal Contractor’ is responsible for Health & Safety during the construction. Their responsibilities under the CDM regulations should be reflected in your contract with them. This is another thing your PM can help manage.
Planning for safety
Good planning is essential to a safe build. Your Principal Designer will:
- Help you find and appoint a Contractor who will prioritise & manage safety, throughout the construction process and beyond.
- Plan a timeline & budget with sufficient time & resource to carry out the build safely.
- Plan to mitigate any particular hazards involved in your project.
- Collaborate with Building Control, Structural Engineers and other specialists to design a house that is safe to live in.
- Choose non-hazardous materials and finishes.
- Create a pack of information to help you safely manage any future construction work.
Your contractor is responsible for managing Health & Safety during construction, but you have a role to play:
Provide Welfare facilities – the construction team must have access to bathroom facilities. Agree a plan with your Contractor: will they use yours, or will you pay for a portaloo?
Respect the timeline – Cutting corners results in dangerous work. A good project plan will always include contingency to allow for unforeseen circumstances.
Insist on Safety – If you spot a hazard on site, ask your contractor to address it.
Be safe on site
As well as being dusty, noisy and inconvenient, construction sites are dangerous. Falls from height, slips, and moving objects are the biggest causes of construction site accidents. If you stay at home during a big build, you are also exposed to health risks through sustained noise and hazardous materials.
The easiest way to stay safe is to stay away.
If you do need to go on site:
- Be alert and look after yourself.
- Let your Contractors know when to expect you and always follow their safety rules.
- Embrace Construction-site chic! Wear practical shoes, a hard hat, and a high viz jacket.
If you’re planning a large renovation and are concerned about what the CPD requirements mean for your project- get in touch. We can offer help and guidance with all aspects of residential renovation.