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The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

Fire Safety Act

Yesterday the newly amended The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force. The changes to the act implement most recommendations set by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. It is vital developers keep up-to-date with all the latest legislation. Violation of the FSA can lead to fines, imprisonment, or both.

What is the Fire Safety Act?

The Fire Safety Act (FSA) is the primary legislation in the United Kingdom that sets out the fire safety requirements for non-domestic buildings. The Act applies to all commercial, industrial, and public buildings. As well as common areas of multi-occupied buildings such as apartment buildings and dormitories. The FSA places a legal responsibility on the “responsible person” for a building typically the owner or occupier. They must ensure that the building is safe from the risk of fire and that it meets certain fire safety standards.

What are the obligations of the responsible person?

Under the FSA, the responsible person must conduct a fire risk assessment to identify any hazards that may put occupants at risk in the event of a fire, and to implement measures to reduce or eliminate those hazards. This may include installing fire alarms and other fire protection systems, providing fire-fighting equipment, and ensuring that the building is properly ventilated and that exits are clearly marked and easy to use. However, the new legislation gives additional responsibilities for high-rise residential buildings. Namely, multi-occupied residential buildings of at least 18 metres in height or seven or more storeys.

Fire Safety Management Plan

The FSA also requires that all commercial buildings have a fire safety management plan in place. The plan should outline the procedures and protocols that will be followed in the event of a fire, including evacuation procedures, the roles and responsibilities of different staff, and the locations of fire-fighting equipment and emergency exits.

Employ an Expert

Project Managers have a critical role to play in ensuring compliance with the Fire Safety Act throughout the project life cycle. From design to occupancy and management of the building. John Burke Associates provides independent expert advice on all aspects of technical support and management functions. With our guidance you can achieve a “zero defects” project through our portfolio of tailored services.

 

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The Role of a Clerk of Works

Clerk of Works Role

A Clerk of Works role (CoW) provides expert oversight and scrutiny during the construction of a building project. Acting as an independent representative of the client or owner. They are responsible for ensuring that the work is carried out in accordance with the plans, specifications, contract documents and client requirements.

The main responsibilities of a CoW

The CoW ensures that construction is carried out to the highest standards of quality and safety. It is important for the CoW to have a thorough understanding of construction processes, building codes of practice, regulations, and the requirements of the client. The main responsibilities of the role are listed below.

Reviewing and approving plans and specifications

Before construction begins, the CoW should have the opportunity to review the plans and specifications for the project to ensure accuracy. This may include checking for compliance with building codes and regulations. They will also ensure that the plans and specifications align with the client’s goals and objectives.

Monitoring construction progress

During construction, the CoW visits the site regularly to monitor progress. They ensure that the work is being carried out in accordance with the requirements. This includes checking for compliance with HSE regulations, as well as ensuring that the materials and workmanship meet the required standards.

Inspecting and testing materials

The CoW is responsible for inspecting and testing materials to ensure that they meet the required standards. This includes checking for compliance with industry standards, and also ensuring the materials are suitable for the project.

Keeping accurate records

The CoW is responsible for keeping accurate records of all construction activities, including inspection reports, test results, and any deviations from the plans and specifications. These records are used to ensure that the work is completed to the required standards and to provide a record of the project for future reference.

Communicating with the client

The CoW acts as a liaison between the client and the contractor and is responsible for communicating any issues or concerns that arise during construction. This includes providing regular updates on construction progress, as well as addressing any issues or concerns that the client may have.

Acting as an expert witness

In the event of a dispute or legal action, the CoW may be called upon to act as an expert witness to provide testimony on the construction process and the quality of the work.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Clerk of Works plays a vital role in ensuring that the construction projects are built according to the plans, specifications, and contract documents. Furthermore, they ensure safety and quality standards are adhered too, while also representing client’s interests. They are responsible for monitoring progress, inspecting materials, keeping accurate records, and communicating with all stakeholders involved in the project. Speak to John Burke Associates today about our Clerks of Works Site Quality Inspection Services.

Work-Related Stress Management

work related stress

Work-Related Stress Management

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently published the 2021/22 health and safety statistics. Concerningly, the statistics show that 914000 workers are suffering from work related stress, depression, or anxiety. As leaders we must be proactive in approaching such matters with our employees. In this month’s blog we have put together our top tips for maintaining employee mental health wellbeing.

Why is it important to manage workplace stress?

In addition to your duty of care towards your workers, any stress in construction is a matter of health and safety. Construction workers will often risk their health and safety more so than in any other job. From operating heavy machinery to handling potentially hazardous substances. The physical demand of such role is alone a risk to health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is imperative they can carry out their tasks with a clear mind, focusing on their actions. If workers are feeling stressed or distracted whilst carrying out such tasks the risks increase greatly.

What can leaders do to help?

Open lines of communication

You should encourage all workers to speak up when they are feeling unhappy about work. Ensure that you listen and take on board what your workers tell you, no matter how trivial it may seem. Dismissing smaller issues means there is potential for it to become a much bigger issue. Furthermore, it can leave your staff feeling undervalued, unimportant and, in some cases, hopeless.

Heed the Warning Signs

As managers we should be looking out for any warning signs that workers wellbeing is at risk. This could be little things such as seeming more tired or irritable. Or it could be more obvious such as clashing with other workers on site. All of which are warning signs that your worker is struggling and may need your help to cope with stress.

Promote Wellbeing

It is always beneficial to invest in employee wellness, be it perks such as gym memberships or simply providing healthy refreshments. Promoting a healthy lifestyle will contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of your staff.

CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory

John Burke Associates offer CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services as part of our portfolio. This includes involvement with clients and Principal Designers at all stages to make a significant contribution to reducing risks during construction. Speak to our team today to find out more.

 

HSE Work Right | Your Health | Your Future

health and safety

Late last month, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched their new campaign to combat serious aches, pains, and strains in construction. Many of us working in the construction industry have suffered with some form of workplace injury in our career. In fact, over 40,000 construction workers suffer with injuries to their muscles, bones, joints and nerves. While many organisations focus on avoiding major injuries, it’s these seemingly minor injuries affecting the industry on a major scale.

Cause and Effect

One of the primary causes of such aches and pains is the lifting and carrying of heavy objects on site. The daily tasks a construction workers body endures takes its toll to such a degree that it affects every aspect of their lives. From an organisational perspective it may be seen as hazards of the job, but this view is short-term. Such injuries can slow down production, cause low morale and generally become an issue in your organisation. Therefore, HSE inspectors will be carrying out 1,000 inspections in October and November to see how workers are moving heavy materials.

Your Responsibilities

Employers are required by law to prevent the ill health of their employees where possible. This includes long-term injuries which can develop over time such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It is your responsibility to ensure your workers have the correct training and equipment to carry out their duties.

Management Advice

Implementing and enforcing a clear health and safety strategy for your workforce now can save time, money and stress later. Taking a pragmatic approach to ensure workers are aware of the risks and manage them correctly. Here at John Burke Associates we provide CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services for both the client and the Principal Designer. We offer them assistance with their respective ‘duties’. We also provide advice and support to ensure clients comply with their statutory obligations. Click here to find out more about our CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services.

 

Managing a Workforce in National Mourning

Queen Elizabeth

John Burke Associates joins the country, if not the world, in mourning Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III.  We would like to express our sincere condolences to the Royal Family during this sad time.  Our offices will be closed, and projects suspended on Monday, 19th September 2022, as a mark of respect as our Monarch is laid to rest.

Are Organisations Obliged to Close?

As RICS Chartered Surveyors we feel it is appropriate to take time to commemorate Her Majesty’s Reign. However, the Government has made it clear that there is “no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period”. Whilst this may be the case, we review the CLCs guidance in this blog as to what considerations you should take.

Location

The CLC urges organisations in the Central London area to consider potential site restrictions during the State Funeral. There is expected to be a large influx of people entering the capital to pay their respects. As such, there may be restrictions due to enhanced security, road closures and traffic issues, consequently causing site accessibility issues. Furthermore, local authorities within the area of Her Majesty the Queen’s Lying-in-State have instructed several construction sites not to carry out any noisy works or freight deliveries until Tuesday 20 September.

Reputation

Due to the nature of construction, any works within the capital could be seen as disruptive to gathering mourners. In an age of social media and instant communication, organisations are encouraged to consider the reaction to continued works. Some may perceive this as inappropriate or disrespectful to continue such works during a period of National Mourning.

Workforce

Another consideration you must make, is your workforce. Whilst it is clear there is no statutory entitlement to time off, workers may expect the opportunity to pay their respects. You must consider the moral implications of refusing them the right to do so.

Where Closure is Not Possible

It is accepted that certain parts of the industry where essential services are involved cannot cease work. In such circumstances the following guidance should be applied.

  • Use a common-sense approach to ensure that you are operating respectfully during this period
  • Consider staggering the start and end times of work on site
  • Minimise road movements of freight over the next week

For more information you can read the full guidance by clicking here

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III | 1926 – 2022

Managing a Construction Site in a Heatwave

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

The UK is experiencing unusually hot weather which is causing complications across the construction industry. As temperatures soar to over 30 degrees again this week, people are asking, how hot is too hot to work? In this month’s blog we look at the principal contractor’s responsibility to protect both their workers and the project.

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

There is no set maximum temperature when it comes to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA). However, the act does require employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment at a “reasonable” temperature. Where there is a risk of workers suffering prolonged sun exposure, there is a risk of heatstroke, exhaustion, sunburn, and dehydration. It is your responsibility as principal contractor to ensure that if you choose to continue work, you take precautions.

What Precautions to Take On-Site in a Heatwave

  • Ensure you include a sun protection module in your health and safety training. When a weather warning is in place, hold a morning meeting to readdress this policy. Also encourage workers to wear factor 15 SPF or above, allowing time to reapply when necessary.
  • Advise all employees working in the direct sun to wear long sleeves and keep their heads and shoulders covered.
  • Where reasonably practicable, schedule work to minimise sun/heat exposure.
  • Provide onsite water point and shaded rest areas to encourage rehydration.

Other Site Considerations in a Heatwave.

As a project manager you must assess the risk of continuing production in extreme heat. It is not just the effect of the heat on your employees which poses a risk! Operating machinery in extreme temperatures can cause malfunctions and overheating. Working in a heatwave without a full risk assessment could jeopardise your insurance policy or result in injury. It is imperative that you take into consideration the machinery and materials you are working with.

Potential Consequences

If as an employer, you fail to provide a safe working environment for your employees you are breaching HSWA. This means you are at risk of potential prosecution, criminal charges and even a custodial sentence. However, the HWSA also imposes a responsibility on the employee to take reasonable care of themselves. This means they have a duty to adhere to the safety advice you provide.

Preserving Historical Buildings

historical buildings

Here at John Burke Associates we have had the pleasure of working on some of the most exquisite architecture. From innovative modern designs to sublime historical buildings, each project enjoyable through its individual merit. For example, state of the art technology used in modern construction is constantly evolving, giving developers innovative ways to build. Thus, providing project managers such as ourselves new and exciting methodologies and process models. However, there is something about historical architecture, which is thought provoking, when one considers architecture before technology.

Why is Historical Building Preservation Important?

In addition to the law, there is an abundance of reasons to support the preservation of historical buildings and architecture. Whilst the covenants of working on a listed building is often more complicated, the reward is also much higher. Here are a few reasons we believe preserving history is also beneficial.

Intrinsic Value

Many historic buildings play a bigger role in our communities than you may imagine. The grand designs and intricate details of older buildings created by materials such as rare hardwood from primary forests which no longer exist. Such buildings are often focus points for towns and cities to serve as a reminder of the area’s history.

Environmental Considerations

In an era where net zero is at the forefront of the construction industries priorities, refurbishment is a positive step. Regenerating old buildings to give them a new lease of life saves energy resources spent on building materials, equipment, transportation, and tools. Therefore, reducing the harms of construction waste while preserving historical beauty.

Educational & Cultural Aspect

As mentioned earlier, when looking at an older building, one can’t help but appreciate the beauty created without advanced technology. These buildings are evidence of the work our forefathers and ancestors put into making our towns and cities beautiful. Restoring and preserving historical buildings and landmarks enriches the cultural values of those residing nearby. Consequently, unifying goals towards a better future whilst preserving the fundamental history of construction.

Work with an Award-Winning Team

John Burke Associates provide a comprehensive portfolio of services to our clients. Our award-winning team have worked on a variety of projects pertaining listed buildings. Most recently, father and son team David and Dale Hayward received the prestigious Peter Wilson Award 2022. This was given for their work on the grade 1 listed Indigo Hotel in Bath a large and complex project. Click here to find out more.

 

Peter Wilson Award 2022

Peter Wilson Award

We are proud to announce that our father and son team David and Dale Hayward are the recipients of the prestigious Peter Wilson Award 2022. They have been given this award for their work on the grade 1 listed Indigo Hotel in Bath. This was a large, complex, and challenging project which both David and Dale displayed great passion towards throughout.

More About David & Dale

Both David and Dale work in our Clerk of Works division at John Burke Associates. David was appointed as Head Clerk of Works, mentoring his son Dale as Assistant Clerk of Works. Dale worked on this project whilst completing a BSc (Hons) Construction Management Degree. They enjoyed working as a team, especially when they discovered the original Architects were also father and son.

The Project

The project was to enlarge the Indigo Hotel at South Parade in Bath to include connecting buildings within Pierrepoint Street and Duke Street. The development was to provide a total of 166 rooms with associated facilities. This involved the restoration, renovation, conversions, alterations, and extensions of the six-storey building.

The History

The buildings are Grade 1, Grade 2* and Grade 2 listed and form part of an architectural set-piece c1743 to 1749. As mentioned earlier, the original architects were also a father and son team, John Wood the Elder and John Wood the Younger. The properties are constructed on stone vaults and the ownership of the property have a boundary in the centre of a main road. This is because the vaults extend below the highways.

Clerk of Works

As Clerk of Works, their main involvement was recording, photographing, and sketching the original historical features. This is so that such features can be removed for the stabilization and builders works and replaced afterwards. Such features included historical panelling, lime plaster, original coving, stairs, windows, and doors.

Site Inspection

The building inspection was an enjoyable task, as many of the items of the original building had a variety of characteristics. Often the characteristics are the biggest requirement to reflect the age of the building. As such, only the safety aspect took precedence over this. The client’s requirements included out of plumb, bows, curves in walls and open texture of lime wall finish to maintain the charm of the building. There aren’t any British Standards to cover much of the work carried out, but the workmanship of the craftsmen brought out much of the character. The Conservation Office and Architect gave David and Dale guidance on a variable range of acceptable standards of finish for their daily inspections.

The Award

The Peter Wilson Memorial Award was introduced in 2013 and is awarded by the ICWCI to celebrate remarkable achievements. Here at John Burke Associates we are proud of our team and celebrate their achievements. Back in 2019 our colleague Jon Tucker was also the recipient of the award for his outstanding work on the major refurbishment to the Principal Hotel (formally The Russell hotel) London.

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Digital Construction Week (DCW)

Digital Construction Week

Digital Construction Week (DCW)

This month, Europe’s leading technology and innovation event for the built environment returns. The must-attend event takes place over two days in ExCel London on the 18th and 19th May 2022. Digital Construction Week (DCW) will be demonstrating the latest innovations which will revolutionise the built environment. With over 150 well-known brands in attendance, along with the latest cutting-edge start-ups. All of which showcasing the latest tech, tools, and solutions for digital construction.

Expert Speakers

In addition to the introduction of the latest technology, they also offer a free-to-attend education programme. This programme features over three hundred of the industry’s brightest and most forward-thinking minds. These expert speakers will be discussing the future of digital construction and the latest key trends.

The Net Zero Stage.

With Net Zero looming, decarbonisation is at the forefront of the industry’s priorities. DWC has a dedicated stage to face the challenges of low carbon construction. The focus is to use digital tools to make carbon more visible and accountable to project teams. Thus, work on reducing the emissions released from material extraction, transportation, and processing of all construction activities.

Other Theatres.

As well as the Net Zero stage, there will be eight other theatres focusing on some of the key areas shaping digital construction. Such areas include Information management using BIM, geospatial, visualisation, digital transformation and more. Furthermore, the programme has over 160 plus hours of free to attend content from the expert speakers we mention above.

Connect, Collaborate, and Innovate.

Here at John Burke Associates we agree the industry must connect, collaborate, and innovate to meet decarbonisation targets. Digital Construction provides a platform for this to take place, bringing the decision makers and developers together. If you are in the construction industry and wish to attend this event you can request a free trade ticket by clicking here. You can join the industries most creative and brightest minds in digital construction

 

Building Safety Act 2022

Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Bill was granted Royal Assent on 28th April 2022. This means that whilst it may not deliver what everyone wants, it is a step in the right direction. This act aims to fundamentally change the way UK property is designed, built, and managed. Thus, closer to resolving the building safety crisis and giving leaseholders more protection. However, the bill comes with hundreds of clauses which require further clarification through secondary legislation.

RICS Response

RICS has released an article on their website which details their intended solutions to the concerns which surround the bill.  They continue to work constructively with Government, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR within HSE), BSI and industry to support the measures in the Building Safety Act to be implemented swiftly. We have summarised the points they have raised in the article below.

Timing & Clarification

It is imperative that organisations such as RICS who represent our profession (and others impacted by the act) can give their valuable input. The industry will need a clear brief from our government outlining the timeline going forward. This includes when the legislation will be ready and forewarning any consultations to be brought in. Therefore, allowing the industry to support it at pace.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Whilst PII does not feature in the bill, RICS feel it is a vital component in the implementation of the Act. Currently, it seems the PII market is too weak to meet the requirements of the industry. This is a point RICS have pursued since late 2018 and continue to call out. They feel it needs delivery of the long-awaited Government EWS (External Wall Systems) PII scheme to support professionals that are carrying out external wall assessments. Furthermore, they also need the Government to intervene to find a solution for PII firms providing wider fire risk and building safety assessments and those carrying out remediation; and for all those involved in HRBs design, construction, and management.

Remediation Funding

RICS continues to support the Government to review holistic ways to fund the remediation programme. But ultimately up-front funding should be made available to leaseholders along with a clear timeline for remediation. Consequently, enabling mortgage lending, meaning sellers can sell, and buyers can proceed with confidence.

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