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Health & Safety Regulation - Construction
Page 2

Homeowners FAQs

The following is a copyright of www.hsa.ie


For designers and PSDP
Royal Institute of Architects
Engineers Ireland
Association of Consulting Engineers
Society of Chartered Surveyors
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technicians

For Contractors and PSCS
Construction Industry Federation
Chartered Institute of Building

What is a Particular Risk?
A Particular Risk is includes:
- works that put a person at risk of falling from a height where the risk is aggravated by other factors e.g. roofwork where access is restricted,
- burial under an earthfall where the risk is aggravated by other factors, for example, deep excavations in poor soil conditions,
- works near high voltage power lines, for example, building a house on a site which has existing power lines crossing the site,
- works exposing a person to the risk of drowning, for example, construction of wall beside or near a pond or river,
- work involving the setting up or taking down of heavy parts, for example, installation of precast floors or assembly of steel beams, or
- work involving asbestos.

The list above is not exhaustive, projects may have particular risks which are not listed above. If you need further advice on what is a particular risk talk to your designer or contractor. They are competent and will be able to advice on what is or is not a particular risk for your project. Your Designer and Contractor are obliged by the regulations to inform you if the project you are engaged in requires Project Supervisors (i.e. if there is a particular risk, more than one contractor or if it is scheduled to last greater than 30 days).

How do I know the people I hire are competent?

All designers, contractors and project supervisors working on a domestic project have a duty to demonstrate to the Client that they are competent to carry out the works safely. The homeowner should take reasonable steps to assess competency. Asking questions such as those in our Homeowner Guidance will help you with this.

Can my architect/designer make the appointments for me?

As the "client" you must make the appointments. However, your architect or builder can assist you in making these appointments and can also take on the roles of Project Supervisor Construction Stage or Project Supervisor Design Process if they are competent to do so.

If I am renting a house, am I a "Client"?

The person having the building work done is the client, in most cases it will be the landlord (including local authorities) who will be the client. In a small minority of cases where you as a tenant get building work done on the property then you may fall under the definition of a client.

What about building work on apartments?

As in all other construction work the person who is having the building work done is the "client". For example:

- If you engage a builder to re-fit your kitchen and move an internal wall then you are the client.
- If the building management agency is having the basement car park resurfaced, then they are the client.

Why are we making these changes?

These changes are being made to bring Ireland fully into compliance with the requirements of an earlier EU Directive relating to health and safety for workers involved in construction. Duties already apply to commercial enterprises, both large and small, and these Regulations extend certain duties onto homeowners who are having building work done on their house or on someone who is having a new home built that they intend to live in.

What benefits will these changes bring?

These Regulations should further enhance construction safety. In the past three years (up to 2013), 12 fatal accidents and many more serious injuries have occurred in the course of construction work on private homes. In that regard, these new Regulations will mean that "competent persons" (known as Project Supervisors) will be in place to co-ordinate the design and build of private homes. Compliance with these Regulations should lead to better safety standards on small construction sites and thereby reduce the level of injuries and fatalities occurring on such sites each year. Construction work is intrinsically high-risk and nobody wants anyone to be killed while construction work is taking place on their house.

Will a person charge extra to take on these responsibilities?

Any additional charges which a contractor might wish to levy for taking on the roles of Project Supervisor are a matter for negotiation between the client and the contractor.

What if the contractor has an accident?

If there is an accident on the building site and the person is out of work for more than three consecutive days the contractor must report the accident to the HSA who may investigate. If you are a client and have made your appointments you will have fulfilled your duties and responsibilities in that respect.

Can I be prosecuted if I do not make the appointment?

We have produced guidance and forms to help homeowners fulfil their duties as simply as possible. However these are legal duties and it would be an offence to fail to comply with them.


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