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Check Competence of Building Contractors Prior to Awarding Works

Jun 30, 2015

Building Contractor Risk Assessment

It is of the greatest importance to ensure you don’t get your company or organisation into serious hot water by employing sub standard jobbing builders to carry out building works. Just because someone claims to be a builder does not mean they are suitably skilled to carry out the works you may have in mind for them to do. As the ‘Client’ you have duties to ensure that you hire contractors who are capable, experienced and skilled. These skills must ensure health and safety competence not just work skills.

Contractors need to be trained in asbestos awareness, working at height and many other aspects of health and safety. You have a a duty to ensure that people you hire to work on your premises, no matter how small or large the job, are going to be safe whilst they are working.

The consequences of not hiring appropriately qualified builders can be catastrophic. Earlier this year, Halsall Toys, a large toy company hired a jobbing builder to work on their 3344 square metre asbestos cement roof. They failed to check his competence to carry out this work. In the process of the works Craig Gray, who was working on the roof, fell through a skylight and sustained fatal injuries. Also working on the roof at the time was a 17 year old who equally could have easily have been killed on the project.

Halsall Toys had failed to hire a suitable contractor for the works. Halsall Toys had failed to request risk assessments/ method statements and the builders failed to use any safety equipment at all. Had Halsall Toys hired a competent contractor to do these works then this disaster could have been avoided. The HSE prosecuted the builder and the toy company. Halsall Toys were fined £200k with £10,483 costs. The massive fine will never make up for the personal tragedy involved in this event. Should the client have hired a suitable, professional organisation to carry out these works then peoples lives would be so much better now.

Don’t hire builders on cost alone. Hire builders who are skilled and competent. Always investigate the firm you are considering using. Are they members of safety schemes such as CHAS, Constructionline and Safe Contractor for example? Do they provide detailed risk assessments and method statements specific to the project they are quoting for? Have a read of the documentation they submit; are they realistic to the task you are hiring them to do? If not don’t just accept it ‘to get the job done.’ If they can’t provide suitable safety paperwork then the liklihood is they can’t carry out the work safely putting themselves and your organisation at risk.

Think Safety When Procuring Building Services