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Building And Construction Safety Regulations And Standards
Legislation regarding health and safety in construction and building design falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act.
Everyone involved in a building project has legal obligations under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) to ensure the health and safety of all those who might be affected by the work, including site operators and members of the public. These regulations set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves from harm and anyone the work affects – including taking reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to building sites.
Early building standards first came into effect in the mid-1960s. Today, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) reside over The Building Regulations 2010 and The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010.
These regulations set out what type of building work the standards cover, which buildings are exempt, notification procedures that must be followed when carrying out building work, and the requirements for specific aspects of construction design and building.
These aspects include structural safety, fire safety, the control of toxic substances, appropriate acoustic levels, ventilation, sanitation, fall-protection and a number of other stipulations which cover the processes and work involved in the design, installation and inspection of building works.
Health and Safety Standards for Employers
If you are employer you have an obligation to satisfy specific requirements of the Health and safety at work etc act 1974. These obligations are set out within The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which places importance on carrying out risk assessments, applying principles of prevention, a written health and safety policy for the workforce, and a method statement explaining how health and safety risks will be controlled.
The Health and safety at work etc. Act includes a number of regulations that set the safety standards for all specific aspects of building and building design. This includes working at height, lifting, manual handling, noise control, the use of hazardous substances and the use of Personal Protective Equipment, among others.
What are the penalties for failing to meet building and construction standards?
Failure to comply with the Building Regulations can result in a fine or an enforcement notice to remedy the work that has been carried out.
Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations, the Fee for Intervention scheme allows the Health and Safety Executive to recover any costs of intervention from those who fail to comply with health and safety legislation.
Establishing a new building safety regulator
Following the Grenfell Tower fire, and recommendations in the ‘Building a Safer Future’ report by Dame Judith Hackitt, the government has asked HSE to establish a new building safety regulator, to oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings. The new regulator will be independent and provide expert safety advice to local regulators, landlords and building owners, the construction and building design industry, and to residents.
HSE is currently working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Home Office, Local regulators, building control bodies, building owners, housing providers, the construction industry, the Local Government Association, Local Authority Building Control and the National Fire Chiefs Council, to establish the new building safety regulator.
It is currently consulting with these bodies, industry and citizens before bringing any new regulations into law. To keep up to date on this process click here.
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