Organisations looking to expand their property infrastructure should minimise their legal risk and the associated headaches by ensuring their construction contractor assumes the role of principal contractor and even principal designer. That’s the view of Antony Hunt, managing director of Smart-Space, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and installers of re-locatable, semipermanent and permanent buildings.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 cover all construction work including new build, renovation, refurbishment, modification and demolition – not just people using tools on site, but also the planning that needs to happen before a project begins. Responsibilities under the regulations are split between the client, the principal designer and the principal contractor, with other designers, contractors and site workers involved in the project also having a role to play.
“The regulations are in place to ensure everyone understands what is going to happen in a project and to ensure there are clear lines of responsibility with regards to welfare, safety and security,” says Antony. “They are key to the integrity and success of every project. However, if the formal appointments of a principal designer and contractor are not made, then the buck stops with the client – not just in terms of legal responsibility for everything that happens on site, but also with regards to documentation, training, checking and reporting.”
These roles, responsibilities and documents need to be followed to evidence due care to the persons engaged in constructing, using, working on or demolishing a building. “In our experience, not many contractors accept or even offer to take on these principal roles when taking on a project, so potentially leave their clients very vulnerable as a result,” says Antony, “That creates unnecessary risk and extra pressures for companies who may be unaware of their compliance obligations or who may find the fulfilling of these obligations to be time consuming, stressful or even intimidating.
“The fact that we have a comprehensive in-house operation, manufacture in the UK and don’t sub-contract installations means we are happy to take on the principal contractor and designer roles for projects.
“It provides significant benefits for the customer. We provide them with a great building, plus we reduce their regulatory workload and remove their vulnerability to projectrelated health and safety issues.”
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