Pointers to success with building projects; site safety & security

Adrian Wild shares his experience on how to ensure safe & secure construction sites

Site safety is extremely important. It is critical that you take out adequate insurance, which will cover you for most accidents, but only if you can demonstrate that you took precautions to avoid them. You will have heard of CDM (Construction Design and Management Regulations) 2015, which are the latest health and safety regulations on and around building sites.

How does CDM 2015 apply to you?

  1. All building projects must have a detailed Construction Phase Plan in place and workers with the right skills, knowledge, training and experience to complete the build, as well as contractors to supervise, instruct and provide information. If more than one contractor is involved you need to put together a health & safety file and appoint a Principal Contractor who is responsible for the coordination and management of the construction phase of the job.
  1. You will act as the project manager; employing individual traders at different times. The way in which construction work is carried out must comply with all the matters outlined in Part 4 of CDM 2015. This requirement is set out in Regulation 16 of CDM 2015 (which effectively replaces Reg 26 in CDM 2007). This is not a new requirement. The HSE expects builders to demonstrate sufficient health and safety capabilities to meet the requirements of Part 4 of CDM 2015. Individual contractors will be expected to be able to advise you on any specialist matters within their own work activities. The HSE’s expectation of a builder in this position will be one of coordination and management, not of direct supervision of contractors on site. You are entitled to expect contractors to plan, manage and monitor their own work in compliance with CDM 2015.

Good working practice includes:

  1. Hard hats and safety boots are worn on site at all times
  2. A First Aid box should be made available
  3. Eye protection and gloves should be used where appropriate
  4. Scaffolding should be correctly erected and secured
  5. The perimeter of your building site is adequately fenced off so members of the public do not enter
  6. Keep a tidy site and ensure dangerous obstacles – e.g. holes, are appropriately made safe

Site security

Firstly and foremost you should ensure you are adequately insured for losses as a result of theft or vandalism on site; however you will find that you are not covered for the time, inconvenience and financial losses that you consequently incur e.g. labour resources who cannot make progress due to materials theft from site. You therefore need to follow a few basic security guidelines:

  1. Lock away or remove expensive items from site at the end of the day or make use of a secure container
  2. Fence your site to deter trespassers and potential thieves
  3. Use security lighting
  4. DO NOT leave materials/plant lying around for opportunists

A last, if not slightly drastic option is the employment of site security guards. We know of a very small number of build sites that were repeatedly ‘raided’- the only deterrent being permanent security on site.

People management

Finally a note on managing people on site. The key is good communication, keeping everyone informed about what is happening and when and what is expected of them personally, co-operate and compromise where appropriate. At the end of the day if you’re not confident enough in managing the project yourself…employ a project manager and let them take the strain!

Oh and last but not least, ensure you pay your contractors on time…