Safety on construction sites remains a challenge for the industry. While not always as catastrophic as the Grenfell fire, which shook up the industry safety standards in a major way, accidents resulting in major injuries and death still occur far too frequently. In recent months, the new Building Safety Act was passed into law and construction companies have a window period of 18 months to put systems and policies in place so that they’re fully compliant. While this may add to the challenges construction companies are already facing with inflation and skills shortages, implementing the changes has the benefit of resulting in a safer and more efficient industry.

What are the major changes?

It’s not uncommon when accidents happen for the blame game to start with no-one willing to stand up and be held accountable.  The new legislation has a strong focus on responsibility with building planning, design and construction having to pass through several phases of approval before work can continue. Failing compliance can cause projects to come to a halt which has major timeline and cost implications. Despite the challenge and risk that this represents, it is a good thing to implement more stringent policies that hold role players accountable for the work they do. This is a building block that can only serve to benefit the industry in the long term.

Digitization has an important role to play ensuring that information is accurately captured and distributed to various role players as needed. It’s a way to facilitate better collaboration and ensure better handovers for various phases of a project. Using technology to manage projects has long term benefits as well as it’s much easier to go back in the history of a project and see who worked on a specific deliverable and who signed it off as being compliant. With clear data more easily accessible it can help stifle the blame game and get more accurate answers, faster.

The new legislation also impacts the supply chain, requiring sub-contractors and materials suppliers to provide proof of standards or competencies. It is hoped that this will increase the standard of work in the industry and help identify those companies or sub-contractors that don’t think twice about cutting corners or using sub-par materials.

The takeaway is that companies shouldn’t delay in getting familiar with the new requirements. There are many changes that will need to be made, and the sooner these can be implemented, the more time there will be to iron out the challenges that crop up along the way.