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Your Health and Safety Responsibilities For Building Design and Construction- A Brief Summary

Site Safety Illustration

You need to think about health and safety whenever you employ people to do work on your house; the law even applies to very minor work such as redecorating or upgrading a bathroom. It is not difficult or expensive to comply with these laws, but since 2013 the scope of Health and Safety legislation has been very broad, and literally all homeowners should read the relevant sections of the HSA website www.hsa.ie .

When working with DKAD, your architect will advise you of specific Health and Safety duties for your extension or renovation project.Literally all homeowners should click here for essential HSA guidance.

  1. As a general rule, you need to find competent and serious people who know how to work safely, then you have to invest enough time and money to do the work in a safe manner. Irish legislation imposes certain strict rules.
  2. When there is more than one company, or contractor working on your home, you need to appoint a “Project Supervisor Design Process” for planning the project and “Project Supervisor Construction Process” for the actual building phase.They both perform specific duties on your behalf which are clearly defined in law.
  3. The Health and Safety Authority must be informed of ongoing work.

Checking Competence

You must check that the people leading your project, whether tradesmen, contractors or design professionals are experienced and competent to do the work safely. Sometimes this means having specific safety training, and sometimes evidence of work experience is enough. DKAD has a competence form and checklist for staff and suppliers which allows you to asess and record such abilities to ensure compliance with the law.

Project Supervisor Design Process

DKAD regularly assumes the role of PSDP in addition to core architecture services. The PSDP takes responsibility for Health and Safety during the design stage, and works to ensure that any safety issues can be either designed out of the scheme or identified early to preclude accidents, injuries or other losses during construction and the ongoing operation of the building.The PSDP records all risks and design considerations in a Health and Safety Plan which forms the starting point for Health and safety compliance on site.

Project Supervisor Construction Process

At the start of construction, the PSDP passes on the Health and Safety plan to the PSCS. The PSCS is usually the main contractor on very small domestic jobs, but may also be a specialist professional or consultant on larger builds.It is important to have specific written agreements with the PSDP and PSCP, in addition to the agreements you have with them for architectural work or construction. These agreements show that you have largely complied with your legal responsibilities for health and safety.

The Site Safety Survey

At the start of the design process, DKAD typically conducts a special survey of safety risks on site and records the risks on drawings, in photographs or in the  Health and Safety Plan.

Suggested Agenda for Site Safety Meeting at Commencement of Works

At the start of building work, we usually hold a special safety meeting where all parties review the plan, and further examine the site for potential hazards that may emerge as a result of the building work.

 1 Attendees: Employer, PSDP, PSCS, Contractor, Architect
2 All parties conduct visual inspection of site based on DKAD site survey checks
3 Collect all available/ pertinent data about concealed services from utilities companies and government sources
4 Note data on drawings by hand, retain and circulate in digital form to all parties
5 Update site rules and procedures based on outcomes of meeting
6 Identify possible residual risks that may result upon completion for safety file purposes
7 PSDP to note location of safety file on site and list required contents and record keeping procedures.

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