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Navigating Construction Work in Snow and Low Temperatures

employer responsibilities

As the temperature drops in the UK this week, the challenges of working in construction during snow or low temperatures are significant. Understanding the legal obligations, employer responsibilities, and practical advice for coping with these conditions is crucial for the safety and efficiency of any construction project. In this blog, John Burke Associates explains your key responsibilities to your workers.

Understanding UK Laws on Low-Temperature Working

In the UK, while there is no legal minimum outdoor working temperature, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 mandate that employers provide a ‘reasonableworking temperature. For construction sites, this means employers must assess risks and implement reasonable measures to protect workers from the cold. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on working in cold conditions, emphasising the need for risk assessment and management.

Employer and Site Manager Responsibilities

Employers and site managers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workers. This includes:

Risk Assessment:

Identifying potential hazards associated with low temperatures and snow, including risks of slips, trips, falls, frostbite, or hypothermia.

Providing Appropriate PPE:

Ensuring all workers have access to suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as insulated gloves, waterproof boots, and thermal clothing.

Site Safety Measures:

Implementing safety measures like gritting for icy surfaces, providing sheltered areas, and ensuring that equipment is safe to use in cold conditions.

Training and Awareness:

Educating staff about the signs of cold stress and the importance of regular breaks in warm areas.

General Advice for Working in Snow or Low Temperatures

Working in cold weather calls for specific precautions:

Stay Warm and Dry:

Layer clothing to stay warm and dry. Waterproof and windproof outer layers are essential.

Regular Breaks:

Take regular breaks in heated areas to prevent cold stress.

Stay Hydrated and Energised:

Drink warm fluids and eat high-energy foods to maintain energy levels.

Clear Snow and Ice:

Keep working areas clear of snow and ice to prevent accidents.

Check Weather Forecasts:

Be prepared and adaptable to changing weather conditions.


Working in construction during snow or low temperatures in the UK requires careful planning and adherence to safety standards. By understanding the legal framework, fulfilling employer responsibilities, and following general safety advice, construction sites can maintain productivity while ensuring the wellbeing of all personnel. Remember, the key to successful winter construction is preparation, awareness, and ongoing vigilance against the unique challenges posed by cold weather. Stay safe and stay informed!

Celebrating Success in Collaboration on Award-Winning Project

Architect of the Year

At John Burke Associates Clerk of Works Division, we are excited to share our recent collaboration with Hall McKnight on the remarkable St. Mary’s Wantage project. The project has garnered acclaim and recognition within the architectural community. This outstanding achievement led to St. Mary’s Wantage receiving the prestigious “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award at the Architect of the Year 2023 event. This blog post will delve into the details of this project, the award category, and the significance of this recognition.

The Architect of the Year 2023 Awards

In the ceremony held at The Brewery in London, the Architect of the Year 2023 awards celebrated the excellence and innovation within the architectural sector. This event brought together the brightest minds and most talented professionals in the industry, serving as a platform to acknowledge their contributions.

Recognising Excellence

The “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award, which St. Mary’s Wantage secured, stands as a testament to architects who excel in non-domestic projects of relatively small scale. Whether through new construction or refurbishment, this award category is specifically designed to highlight unique one-off small projects. To be eligible for this award, an entry must showcase a single completed non-domestic project constructed between December 1, 2021, and December 1, 2022, with a project value not exceeding £5 million.

St. Mary’s Wantage: The Award-Winning Project

St. Mary’s Wantage reflects the creative genius of Hall McKnight and the meticulous oversight of John Burke Associates Clerk of Works Division. This project embodies the essence of the “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award, showcasing design excellence within a limited budget.

Design Excellence That Shines

The judges at the Architect of the Year 2023 awards evaluated entries for evidence of design excellence, and St. Mary’s Wantage undoubtedly delivered on this criterion. The project not only met but exceeded expectations, demonstrating the remarkable results that can be achieved in the realm of small-scale, non-domestic architecture. The synergy between design and execution was evident in every detail of the St. Mary’s Wantage project.


Our collaboration with Hall McKnight on St. Mary’s Wantage has resulted in a remarkable architectural achievement that has received well-deserved recognition within the industry. Winning the “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award serves as a testament to our commitment to excellence, creativity, and the successful execution of small-scale non-domestic projects. We are proud of this accomplishment and look forward to more opportunities to contribute to outstanding architectural endeavours in the future. We would like to congratulate Hall McKnight on also being awarded the overall Gold Award and Refurbishment Architect of the Year.

Building upon Action to Safeguard Single-Sex Spaces

building regulations

The DLUHC released a statement on 13th August 2023, announcing its intention to implement changes in building regulations to enforce the provision of gender-specific toilets. The department highlighted that the proposed policy aims to not only reinforce the concept of single-sex spaces but also promote the inclusion of self-contained toilets that cater to diverse needs.

Emphasis on Privacy and Dignity

Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, asserted that the introduction of gender-neutral toilets had inadvertently infringed upon the privacy and dignity of women and girls. Badenoch emphasized that the forthcoming regulations would ensure that every newly constructed building in England is mandated to offer separate male and female facilities or unisex alternatives, thus safeguarding the dignity, privacy, and safety of all individuals.

Gender-Neutral Toilets vs. Unisex Facilities

Gender-neutral toilets, designed for use by individuals of any gender, have been the subject of increased discussions surrounding inclusivity. These facilities are especially beneficial for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who may feel uncomfortable or face discrimination when using gender-specific bathrooms. The government’s announcement made a clear distinction between gender-neutral toilets and unisex or universal facilities. They define the latter as “single, standalone facilities used by both genders”.

Balancing Inclusivity and Need

The proposed policy recognises the importance of providing unisex toilets in new public buildings, as long as the available space permits. However, the government underlines that the installation of unisex toilets should not come at the expense of female toilets. This balanced approach aims to ensure that the needs of various groups are met without compromising the rights and comfort of others.

Benefiting Disabled Individuals and Easing Access

In addition to addressing concerns of privacy and inclusivity, the proposed policy is expected to have a positive impact on disabled individuals. By mandating separate male and female toilets, the government aims to reduce queues for accessible facilities. Currently, these accessible toilets are sometimes the only non-gendered options available, making the policy potentially transformative for those with disabilities.

In Conclusion

The proposed changes in building regulations are set to undergo consultation, indicating the government’s commitment to fostering a comprehensive and well-informed approach to this important matter. As England moves forward with these potential adjustments, the balance between privacy, inclusivity, and accessibility remains at the forefront of the conversation.


John Burke Associates Attends the Future of Construction Contracts at JCT 2024 Event

JCT 2024 Event

In the dynamic world of the construction industry, staying up to date with the latest developments and advancements is crucial. John Burke Associates recently had the privilege of attending a prestigious event organised by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT). This event provided an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated JCT 2024 Edition, unveiling significant changes that will shape the future of construction contracts. In this blog, we will dive into Graham’s experience at the event and highlight the key insights he gained.

JCT 2024 Edition: A Glimpse into the Future

The JCT 2024 Edition, set to be published next year, promises to revolutionize the way contracts are approached in the construction industry. As the current JCT 2016 Edition is widely regarded as the industry standard, the announcement of the forthcoming update generated immense excitement among attendees.

Embracing Digital Transformation

One of the central themes of JCT 2024 is the continued focus on digital working. JCT recognises the importance of adapting to the digital age. Therefore, it will publish the new edition exclusively through its Construct subscription service. Which will ensure easy accessibility and streamlined processes for users. This demonstrates JCT’s commitment to embracing digital transformation and making contracts more accessible in the modern era.

Key Updates and Changes

Several significant updates and changes were unveiled during the event, reflecting the evolving needs of the construction industry. Among the core themes of JCT 2024 are modernization, legislative compliance, and future-proofing. Let’s explore some of the key highlights:

Modernising and Streamlining

JCT 2024 addresses the need for increased flexibility and inclusivity. The introduction of gender-neutral language ensures contracts are inclusive and reflective of the diverse workforce in the industry. Additionally, the adoption of electronic notices provides more flexibility in communication, aligning with the digital era.

JCT Target Cost Contract (TCC)

JCT 2024 introduces an entirely new contract family, the JCT Target Cost Contract (TCC). Comprising a main contract, sub-contract, and guide. This addition offers a fresh approach to managing projects with a target cost framework, enhancing transparency and collaboration.

Legislative Compliance

The JCT 2024 Edition incorporates essential updates to align with legislative changes. Provisions related to the Building Safety Act, Termination accounting, and payment provisions reflecting the Construction Act, and new insolvency grounds reflecting the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 ensure that contracts remain legally compliant and protect all parties involved.


Anticipating the industry’s evolving needs, JCT 2024 incorporates changes to align with the objectives of the Construction Playbook. Additionally, previously optional supplemental provisions related to Collaborative Working, Sustainable Development, and Environmental Considerations will be incorporated into the main document, reinforcing the industry’s commitment to sustainability and responsible construction practices.

A Note from Graham

“It was a pleasure to be at the House of Commons for The Joint Contracts Tribunal Parliamentary Reception. I also had the honour of attending with the new President of the ICWCI Jerry Shoolbred and discussing ideas with JCT Chair Karen Kirkham about future amendments. It was great to hear the updates on the suite of JCT contracts and meet new people from across the industry. A fantastic day ”.

Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

progress your career

Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

Are you currently working in a supervisory role within the construction industry? Perhaps you are a senior building tradesman looking for a change in career? John Burke Associates may have the ideal opportunity to allow you to progress your career and earn while you learn. We are looking for the right candidates with transferable competencies, who will receive professional mentoring to become a clerk of works.

What’s Involved in the Role?

The Clerk of Works role is to provide independent third-party site inspection i.e., to Systematically Inspect, Record, Report, and Highlight potential issues. As such the role is best suited to someone who has a meticulous approach to their work.

A Clerk of Works Must…

  • Ensure that all work carried out conforms with the technical requirements, drawings, specifications, and British Standards etc.
  • Inspect and test materials to ensure they comply with requirements.
  • You will be expected to anticipate and identify potential issues before they arise.
  • You must ensure that all communication is clear between all parties.
  • Ensure Health and safety guidance is adhered to.
  • Monitor the project and compile accurate and concise reports and records.
  • Highlight variance in construction work, by means of sampling, benchmarking, testing, and


The Benefits

If you love the construction industry but feel that working on-site full-time is no longer manageable, change your pace. Becoming a Clerk of Works or a Site Inspector allows you to develop and diversify your skills. It also gives you the freedom to work at a different pace while allowing you to retain a key role in the industry.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Clerk of Works and progress your career, call Ian Carey CMgr MSc DMS PgDip FRICS FCIOB FCMI FICWCI FCABE today. We require both Clerk of Works and Site Inspectors to cover the Greater London and Home Counties regions. Furthermore, we have both full-time and part-time projects available, all roles are on a self-employed basis. Therefore, allowing you to manage your own workflow.



Introducing Graham Little Technical Manager

technical manager

John Burke Associates is proud to announce that we have a new member of our Clerk of Works department. Graham Little is our new Technical Manager, we are excited about the level of experience he brings to the team. Graham tells us a little more about himself below.


My name is Graham Little, and I have joined JBA as the Technical Manager for the Clerk of Works department, reporting to the Technical Director Ian Carey.

Health and Safety is always my priority. I am NEBOSH certified, a first aider and a mental health first aider. My background is 25 years in the construction industry, where I have worked both client and contractor side.  I started my career as a Carpenter & Joiner and in my years I have cut fully blind dovetail joints, hand-dug trenches with a graft and have worked Civils, Quantity Surveying and as a Setting Out Engineer.

This has allowed me to work on Bridges, schools, hospitals and major infrastructure projects.  I progressed to the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Proving Grounds in the International Testing and Inspection sector. I managed a facility that was 650 acres, 26 building complexes and 50 miles of test track and designing and delivering on all construction projects within the company’s capex expansion plans. I had responsibility for a c.£10m p/y opex budget and a c.£42m p/y capex budget. Covering UK, France, Finland and Morocco and have notable projects consisting of;

Notable Projects

  • Designed and delivered the UK’s first Electric Vehicle Battery Test Facility.
  • Designed and delivered c.£100m of capex construction projects in the UK during 2017 to 2020.
  • Designed the global office standard for interiors of all company buildings in the group.
  • Managed the project to design and deliver an HV supply upgrade from 1.65MW to 10MW. This took two years from conception to completion. I also secured grant funding.
  • Legal responsibility for all Fire safety design and compliance.  I designed and implemented the fire strategy and upgraded all existing structures to current fire regs. This includes barriers, breaks, zoning, detection and suppression.
  • Designed all DSEAR areas on site, all fuel storage & testing, and designed controlled explosion zones for thermal run away from Battery tests, ethanol and Hydrogen which were the first facilities in the UK.
  • Designed and installed structures and buildings to government organisations specifications.

In conclusion

I am very excited to be on board with JBA and look forward to working with all our stakeholders and through knowledge, experience and CPD; Grow the business and contribute to the quality and safety of the industry.


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.


Call Our Team Today

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.


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.