|Posted by wilkinsoncc on March 4, 2014 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
This is a reminder to consider fire at the early stages of a construction project. Sometimes site conditions will be so difficult that alternative designs/ construction methods and materials should be considered at the outset.
Construction site fires are relatively rare, but often devastating and potentially fatal, not just to those on site but to neighbours too. Preventing and limiting the effect of a construction site fire depends on good initial design and planning and managing the risk throughout the build.
Construction dutyholders are legally required under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and the Regulatory Reform Order /Fire Scotland Act 2005 to identify the risks of fire and manage the key issues of general site fire safety. The key issues of which are
1. Risk assessment
2. Means of escape
3. Means of giving warning
4. Means of fighting fire
Certain building types are more vulnerable to fire during the construction phase when the final building regulation requirements are not yet in place, for example high rise construction and timber frame construction. Refurbishment projects can also present a higher fire risk. HSE expects higher additional precautions to be taken on sites that present a higher risk of fire.
Where the lives of people in adjacent properties are at risk from a fire on a construction site, an off the site assessment of the spread of fire to neighbouring buildings should be considered. The Structural Timber Association (formerly the UK Timber Frame Association) has free downloads of design guides on separating distances if you are considering building in timber frame.
All dutyholders in the supply chain should be actively communicating risks and controls of fire during the construction phase. Avoiding process fire hazards involves storing combustible materials safely away from sources of ignition. Further guidance for clients, designers and those managing and carrying out construction work involving significant fire risks can be found at HSG 168 Fire Safety in Construction.
We have experience of writing contruction phase fire risk assements for large and small projects, new build and refurbishment for clients including Lovell, JLL, and James Taylor. We have sucessfully worked with clients in the past to remove HSE enforcement notices, and to satisfy landlords requirements, to discuss your sepcific requirements please use our enquiry form.
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on March 4, 2014 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
Feb 2014 marks the 5th anniversary of family run business Wilkinson Construction Consultants Limited.
Statistics* show that construction related start ups generally have a poor record of survival, with less than half still being in business after 4 years, never mind those set up in the depths of a recession. Yet Wilkinson’s have not only bucked that trend they have grown year on year, being appointed on 250 projects in 2013 compared to just 21 in 2009.
Initially working from home Directors Geoff & Amanda Wilkinson have gone on to open offices in Kent, London, and Hampshire and now employ 3 permanent employees and another 2 on zero hours contracts, and are looking to expand again. Their daughter Tara joined last year on an apprenticeship, bringing a second generation to the family run business.
The company offers range of construction compliance services, but the jewel in its crown is its Approved Inspector Licence. The licence granted by the Construction Industry Council means that Wilkinsons can offer an alternative to Local Authority Building Control services, checking plans and inspecting building sites to certify compliance with Building Regulations. Approved Inspectors form part of the Governments commitment to reducing the red tape and bureaucracy that holds up the building industry, and Wilkinsons typically process applications in 5-10 days rather than the 5-8 weeks taken by many Councils.
Wilkinsons offer this service to both individuals and businesses alike, and projects range from small domestic extensions to multi million pound commercial developments. They have already established their green credentials working on a number of exemplar eco projects including new Passivhaus construction and the ECO refurbishment of Diggs Field in Haddenham.
Despite still being a small business Wilkinsons have managed to attract major clients including household names such as Vauxhall, Coffee Republic, JCrew and Telecity. They have also won public sector contracts with Schools, Theatres, Churches, NHS trusts and even the Italian Consulate. Despite being a direct competitor to their own in-house Building Control staff a number of London Local Authorities have chosen to appoint them due to the quality and speed of service.
Wilkinsons have consistently achieved over 90% customer satisfaction and been awarded both ISO 9001 and EXOR accreditation. Such success has not gone un-noticed and Wilkinsons have even been approached by the World Bank to advise on Construction Regulations in the UK as part of their annual Doing Business report.
We would like to thank you all for your support and orders which have made this possible, and look forward to working with you again in the future.
*Source: Entrepreneur Weekly, Small Business Development Center 1.1.2014
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on November 14, 2013 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Podcast first published on Building Design Expert September 2013
We chat with Geoff Wilkinson, and he shares his thoughts on the current Building Regulations, their value and some of their short-comings, and a lot more besides.
This podcast is approximately 43 minutes long
The podcast can also be downloaded from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/building-design-expert-blog/id639243437 ;
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on September 3, 2013 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
The HSE have announced it will carry out a major inspection and enforcement initiative targeting the refurbishment sector, from 2 to 27 September 2013.
The HSE has said it will focus in particular on small sites to demonstrate that it is prepared to use the enforcement tools at its disposal to prevent immediate risk and bring about sustained improvements
The initiative will focus on the main causes of accidents and ill-health in refurbishment, including: falls from height, temporary works (structural stability) asbestos & respirabile silica and site welfare.
To ensure that you are up to date why not subscribe to our Health & Safety Advisory service? For just £98 + VAT per annum you get
To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting #HSEAdvice
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on August 28, 2013 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
The Government have announced new online national planning guidance which it hopes will give much needed simplicity and clarity to the planning system.
Planning shouldn’t just be the preserve of technocrats, lawyers and council officers. Yet up to now even the experts have struggled to plough through all the background documents and find the right advice. To be effective planning needs to be supported by practical guidance that anyone can consult and follow.
The existing technical guidance, often complex and repetitive, is catalogued in an astonishing 230 separate documents and is almost impossible to use effectively. Following an external review, ministers have proposed a new streamlined planning practice and today (28/8/2113) sees the opening of the new tool in test mode and for comment. Unfortunately none of the current planning practice guidance can be cancelled until the final online guidance is in place and live later in the autumn.
This is a great step forward but I dont feel it goes far enough, and certaintly does nothing to speed up the process or improve the customer experience of making a planning application. Dont get me wrong some Council planning department are excellent, but a lot are simply shocking, missing deadline after dealine for getting applications processed. What I believe we need is an expansion of competition by allowing approved persons to certify and self-certify planning compliance or to allow applicants and agents to process applications under delegated powers or prior to commitee regardless of the location of the development.
We have already seen that competition between local authorities and Approved Inspectors in the provision of building control services provide a stimulus to greater efficiency and higher standards of service to the customer .
The introduction of competition in development control is the logical future for the new planning regime, struggling to balance the need to speed up the system with limited public resource. Whilst some might argue that it must remain a LA function performed by LA employees the truth is that there has already been creeping privatisation under the Labour Government - to the extent that saw entire departments taken over by private suppiliers (see http://www.capitasymonds.co.uk/partnerships/breckland.aspx) .
A proposal to allow Approved Persons could introduce competition in service provision but still ensure impartial and professionally managed local consultation and free up Councillors and their officers to focus on ‘the vision’: getting and keeping their policies and local plan-making up to date – surely this is the proper role for democracy in planning.
Todays announcement can be read in full at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-streamlined-planning-guide-launched-online ;
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on July 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
For the latest news and views check out our Twitter Account and newsletter Compliance In-Site
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on April 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Two companies were today (24 April) ordered to pay a total of £794,658 in fines and costs after a driver was run over and killed by his own lorry.
Father-of-three Gary Walters, 51, was working for Gloucester-based contract haulier Larkins Logistics Ltd when the fatal incident occurred on 11 October 2010.
He was collecting a trailer loaded with structural concrete products from Bison Manufacturing Ltd in William Nadine Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire. He failed to apply the brake in his cab and, because Bison’s drivers had not applied the brake to the trailer, the vehicle moved off as he was coupling the two parts together.
Mr Walters, of The Street, Crowmarsh, Oxfordshire, is believed to have gone round the front of the vehicle, possibly in an attempt to get into the cab and apply the brakes, but he was struck by the cab and run over. He died of multiple injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that drivers working for Bison did not routinely apply the trailer brakes to ensure the units were safely parked. Following Mr Walters’ death, a police vehicle examiner examined ten other trailers at the site but none had the brakes applied, and no other manual system of restraint, such as chocks or hooks, was in place.
Both companies had identified the risk to workers, but had failed to implement appropriate control measures. Their method of working ignored published safety guidance, which meant that drivers and other employees were all at risk.
Following a trial on 8 and 9 April 2013 Larkins Logistics Ltd, of Dobbs Hill Farm, Staunton, Gloucester, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was today (24 April) fined £350,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £100,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £23,317.
Bison Manufacturing Ltd, of Bridge Place, Anchor Boulevard, Admirals Park, Crossways, Dartford, Kent, admitted the same charges and was fined £233,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £67,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £21,341.
Mr Walters had three children with his wife Vanessa – James, who was 19 at the time of the incident, Joanna, 15, and Tanya, 13. Mrs Walters said:
"I hope that people learn from this tragedy and that today’s prosecution will go some way to changing the way people in the same industry work. I do not want this to happen to another family.
"Telling our children their dad had died was the worst experience of my life. I felt so helpless that they were hurting and that there was nothing I could do to make it better. As a parent you want to protect your children at whatever cost.
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on April 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
A client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out.
Clients only have duties when the project is associated with a business or other undertaking (whether for profit or not). This can include local authorities, school governors, insurance companies and project originators on Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects.
However domestic clients are a special case and do not have duties under CDM Regulations. Domestic clients are people who have work done on their own home or the home of a family member.
BUT that does not relate to a trade or business, whether for profit or not. It is the type of client that matters, not the type of property.
Local authorities, housing associations, charities, landlords and other businesses may own domestic property, but they are not domestic clients. Also if the work is in connection with the furtherance of a business attached to domestic premises (ie a shop) the client is not a domestic client. Sometimes groups who would otherwise be domestic clients form companies to administer construction work.
A common example of this is a company formed by leaseholders of flats to undertake maintenance of the common parts of a structure. In such a case the company is not a domestic client and will have duties under the regulations.
As domestic clients have no client duties under CDM which means that there is no legal requirement for appointment of a CDM-C or principal contractor when such projects reach the notification threshold. Similarly, there is no need to notify HSE where projects for domestic clients reach the notification threshold.
However, its often forgotten that designers and contractors still have their normal duties as set out in Parts 2 and 4 of CDM and domestic clients will have duties under Part 4 of the regulations if they control the way in which construction work is carried out. Designers and contractors working for domestic clients have to manage their own work and co-operate with and co-ordinate their work with others involved with the project so as to safeguard the health & safety of all involved in the project. The guidance in http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg344.pdf is a great starting point.
If you are unsure if the rules apply to your project contact email@example.com for general advice and prices for writing Health & Safety Files, RAMS etc
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on April 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
GUEST BLOG - Poorer people are more at risk of house fires
Natasha Sabin - Island Fire Protection
The Philpott case is a harsh reminder of how poorer children are at greater risk of dying in a house fire. While the fire was deliberately ignited in the Philpott case, there are many other poor children who are victims of accidental fires. Older housing, fewer precautions and overcrowding are all factors.
The NHS reports that domestic fires are more prevalent in low-income areas. CAPT charity reports that children are 38 times more likely to die in a house if their parents have never worked, or are long-term unemployed.
Poorer housing conditions
Those from a lower-income household are more likely to live in poor condition housing. This means that there are far more hazards that can lead to house fires, such as faulty wiring.
On top of this larger families tend to live in smaller houses, meaning there is more clutter that will help the fire spread.
Another problem is that people from lower-income households are more likely to live in rented accommodation, which is another risk factor. Cornwall council states that you are seven times more at risk of a house fire if you live in a rented property.
This is because rented properties tend to be more poorly maintained – occupiers are reluctant to invest in a property that is not their own, and owners are less inclined to maintain a building they are not occupying. While it is the landlord’s duty to ensure the home is fire safe, tenants may not be aware of this. Similarly, landlords may not be aware that one of their houses is in need of repair or maintenance, especially if that home has been occupied by the same tenants over a long period of time.
On top of this, lower income homes also tend to have fewer safety devices. CAPT report that lower-income households are less likely to own a working smoke alarm.
Overcrowding in homes, which is linked to low-income and poverty, is also a factor. Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are buildings occupied by more than one family. This includes flats, hostels and sheltered accommodation.
The more people occupying a building, the greater the risk of fire is, simple because there are more sources of ignition and electrical appliances. Also, types of buildings that house a large number of people are more likely to be poorly constructed and be occupied by vulnerable people.
According to Bedfordshire council, you are six times as likely to die in a fire if you live in a HMO as you are if you live in a single occupancy home. You are also more likely to sustain a burn or scald. The risks are even higher if tenants don’t know each other.
There is a strong correlation between income and smoking. If you are poorer, you are more likely to smoke. Cigarettes and smoking materials, of course, are one of the leading sources of ignitions in all house fires. Ironically, smoking in the house reduces the likelihood of having a working smoke alarm.
Natasha Sabin is a fire safety enthusiast from Island Fire Protection, who specialise in providing a range of services to help make the business sector safer.
photo credit: jc-pics via photopin cc
|Posted by wilkinsoncc on March 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
The latest Annual Report from BCPSAG in respect of the 2011/2012 returns has now been published. This is the first set of returns on the revised Performance Indicators, which have generated a record number of returns.
The Report is available on our links page or on the BCPSAG website at: http://www.cic.org.uk/services/the-performance-indicators.php
The results provide indicators regarding the performance of Building Control Bodies measured against the National Performance Standards.
This analysis work was carried out and the report produced by ELJ Consulting on behalf of the Building Control Performance Standards Advisory Group (BCPSAG). Funding was provided by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The key findings of the analysis are:
• 199 BCBs participated this year, more than double last year's response of 85. Of these 89 respondents took part in the survey for the first time.
• Performance in the Process Management Performance Indicator was good, with the majority of respondents covering 12 or more of the 14 areas questioned. Three areas were identified as having room for improvement; pre-application advice, checks on dormant jobs, and certification before completion.
• Responses to the Complaints Handling Process Indicator showed complaints rates were very low, with the average BCB receiving only one complaint per 236 applications. Half of the respondents resolved 80% or more of their complaints to customer’s satisfaction, though individual performance varied widely.
• The Building Control Work indicator clearly shows that whilst domestic alterations, extensions and improvements constitute an average 68% per cent of applications this generates only 56% of fees, conversely for other types of project fees generate a higher percentage than projects.
• Responses to the Building Control Staff questions showed that BCB's predominantly employed full-time direct staff over half of whom were fully qualified with corporate membership of relevant professional bodies.
• At just over 18% the largest proportion of staff had specialist experience in fire engineering and risk assessment, whilst the lowest area of expertise was acoustics which on average1 stood at 4% of staff.
• Women made up an average proportion of 24% of staff. Almost two-thirds (63%) of staff were between the ages of 41 and 60 with the under 24 proportion being low (3.2%).
• Over the past year more BCBs lost employees than gained, but the majority of respondents reported no change. This suggests a slight reduction in the size of BCB workforces over the last 12 months.
If you would like to know more about how we scored contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Website ® WILKINSON CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANTS LTD Contact email@example.com
Company details Co Reg No 06808615 Vat Reg No 977 3745 63 Approved Inspector Building Control CIC Licence No 153
Reg Address 16th Floor Portland House Bressenden Place London SW1E 5RS D&B D-U-N-S® No 211518835