Prioritising safety with a specialist construction advisor
Annie Button has written an article that looks at and discusses prioritising safety with a specialist construction advisor.
The process of purchasing or constructing a new property can be complex and stressful from a legal perspective.
As a solicitor or property professional assisting clients through this process, ensuring their safety should be a top priority. Most established builds have already had rigorous due diligence checks conducted on them, with surveyors’ reports extensively detailing faults that could pose significant safety concerns. However, newly built properties can pose entirely new sets of defects and safety concerns if not properly identified ahead of time.
Appointing an experienced construction project safety consultant early on can help proactively identify and control risks, leading to a smoother transaction and added peace of mind. It’s often believed that new builds offer aesthetic advantages compared to older homes, along with them having fewer deteriorated or worn parts or materials. However, the safety risks of new builds have prompted homeowners to ask prudent questions about their rights when identifying them post-purchase.
This is where property professionals and solicitors can proactively ensure that unsafe new builds do not pose undue problems for new buyers. Bringing in a construction health and safety advisor provides numerous advantages in this regard, and this short guide will outline why and how they can aid solicitors in representing clients for a newly built property purchase.
The benefits of a specialist construction advisor
Liaising with the building project team to appoint a construction safety advisor can offer plenty of benefits working in tandem. Property professionals can facilitate this communication and ensure that construction health and safety steps are being followed to the letter thus making sure any new properties do not pose undue health risks to their new inhabitants.
Benefits include the following:
Comprehensive risk assessments
A competent construction health and safety advisor will conduct thorough assessments covering all aspects of the build, identifying any issues that could compromise safety. This allows steps to be taken early to eliminate or control hazards. Their expert eye spots risks that may be missed by others or omitted in RICS home valuations or reports.
Ongoing monitoring and analysis
The advisor will monitor the evolving construction site, analysing safety performance and relevant building compliance. They can quickly flag any new hazards or incidents that could develop as a result of ongoing work. Preventative action can then take place, together with the implementation of safety measures. Instead of safety being reactive, it becomes proactive.
Ensuring regulatory compliance
Navigating the complex web of construction regulations and standards can be difficult. The advisor ensures all legal obligations are fulfilled, such as those under CDM and relevant building regulations. This prevents costly delays or penalties down the line which had not been accounted for.
Improved communication and reporting
The advisor also serves as a central point of contact for safety issues, facilitating clear communication between all project stakeholders. They can provide regular updates and reports to keep everyone informed of safety performance and unexpected changes, ensuring a transparent reporting line.
Reduced risk exposure
Perhaps most importantly, the construction health and safety advisor’s input significantly reduces the client’s exposure to safety risks and liabilities. Their oversight and expertise provide a crucial risk management function that can ultimately prevent lives from being put in unnecessary danger.
A diligent construction safety professional can make conveyancing processes much more seamless and thus provide a better experience for the customer. Meeting client expectations and deadlines is aided exponentially by the construction safety advisor’s input.
Key times to appoint an advisor
While earlier is better, there are certain key stages at which appointing an advisor delivers maximum impact and value for the build.
Initial planning and design
Engaging an advisor during the design phase allows safety to be proactively incorporated into structural plans or design consultations. Hazards can be ‘designed out’ early and preventative steps can be established before arriving on-site.
Before site mobilisation
Before work begins, a safety review identifies risks and requirements for the site setup phase when incidents may occur.
Throughout the build
Ongoing support during the entire build process offers the greatest risk reduction and oversight. The advisor can respond swiftly to any emerging issues with regular check-ins with the appointed project manager(s) and validate any anomalies.
At completion and handover
A final review ensures all safety elements have been implemented before the property is handed over and occupied.
How a specialist advisor improves the client experience
Having a dedicated construction safety expert enhances the client experience in the following ways:
- Peace of mind – Working with a professional who guarantees that rigorous safety precautions are in place reduces stress and concern.
- Confidence in the build quality – The advisor’s oversight results in a higher quality end product with fewer defects.
- Faster approvals – Their input helps gain quicker approval for planning permission and permits from regulators.
- Avoiding delays – Early hazard identification prevents disruptive incidents from occurring during construction.
- Clear communication – They coordinate safety information between stakeholders and keep the client updated.
- Legal compliance – Ensuring all complex regulations are met removes a problematic burden from the client.
- Value for money – Although appointing an advisor requires an upfront cost, this is far outweighed by the risk mitigation value they provide.
Selecting a suitable construction safety consultant
To see the full benefits of working with a diligent advisor, it’s crucial that property professionals choose one who demonstrates certain capabilities and qualities.
These include (but are not limited to):
- Industry experience – Look for extensive construction project expertise and real-world case studies, not just theoretical knowledge and conjecture.
- Technical competence – Seek proven skills in hazard identification, risk assessments, safety audits, incident investigation and statutory compliance. Look for accreditations such as ISO 45001 if necessary.
- Communication skills – They need to liaise effectively with clients, contractors, regulators and other parties. If they can demonstrate this ahead of being instructed, you’ll know they can communicate well.
- Proactive mindset – The ideal advisor takes a hands-on approach focused on hazard prevention rather than a reactionary and accusatory one.
- Testimonials – Look for specific customer and client reviews, ratings, and feedback on their own site, as well as third-party ones like Google, Trustpilot, and social media platforms.
- Specialist focus – An advisor specialising in construction safety will be more effective than a generalist.
Partnering for a proactive approach
Appointing a specialist construction project safety advisor early on provides property professionals with expert assistance to identify and control risks proactively. This helps create a smoother and faster property transaction for the client. It also reduces delays, enhances communication, and provides essential risk management.
Selecting an experienced and technically competent advisor ensures the highest quality of safety support. While representing some initial cost, a specialist advisor delivers excellent value by preventing far greater financial and reputational losses from safety incidents. Their input leads to a higher quality end product and added peace of mind.
Kindly shared by Annie Button