Jun 06, 2014

Health and safety: prevention over cure

On June 6 it’s the Government’s deadline for responses to the replacement of the Construction Regulations, the legislation introduced in 2007. The proposals seek to make the regulations easier to understand, and generally make things more efficient for construction firms.

That’s good news as the market begins to pick up pace. The latest figures from the ONS showed construction output rose 5.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014. Naturally, more work means there are more opportunities for accidents.

That doesn’t need to be the case if the right techniques are used. Offsite construction methods, for example, in combination with timber systems, offer enhanced safety in addition to the associated speed of build, sustainability and cost benefits.

These are the methods we employ, working with industry body the Structural Timber Association, to improve and develop health and safety standards. That means preventing health and safety issues from occurring, rather than treating them after the fact.

There are a number of health and safety benefits to taking this approach to construction. Here, we outline the top four:

Reduced falls: We use a safety deck system to help prevent falls. Our Edge Protection System allows our team to work more safely on site and is fitted to floor cassettes prior to the crane erect. It’s a lot safer and can be cheaper than using traditional methods such as arrest systems. It can also speed up the construction process as workers will feel safer, providing them a secure platform while they work at height.

Less traffic on site: Manufacturing our timber systems offsite reduces the number of people and vehicles circulating in a confined space. This is beneficial in many ways, particularly seeing as it relieves on site traffic, which can significantly reduce the prospect of accidents. It also helps to speed up the construction process. According to Build Offsite, companies that manufacture offsite finish construction 50% faster than companies that use traditional construction methods. Having fewer vehicles in the area will also significantly reduce pollution and noise for the surrounding environment.

Reduced material handling & damages: There is a reduced risk of damage when material is manufactured away from the construction site. The timber systems are in a secure, controlled environment within our factories, meaning there is less potential for them to be damaged accidentally or by weather conditions. When materials get damaged on site, this not only increases expenditure but delays project completion.

Lower levels of waste: Manufacturing timber systems in a factory means the amount of waste produced on site is reduced significantly. That means less is lying around, creating potential obstructions or polluting the local area. Waste is also more easily controlled in a factory setting, making it more straightforward to recycle and reuse. Both our facilities in Aberdeen and Witney are ISO 14001 and Chain of Custody certified meaning we do our utmost to limit our impact on the environment and only use sustainable timber and wood based products.

What do you think of the changes proposed for the Construction Regulations? Tell us by getting in touch or tweeting us on @TimberSystems.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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