Compliance in the construction industry

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Construction is one of the most regulated industries in the UK, which means that firms must invest a great deal of both time and resource into ensuring that they are complying with regulations and legislation. With so many different requirements, regulations, and legislation to comply with, it would be easy to overlook something, which is why we recommend implementing management systems to keep track of your compliance efforts.

Health and safety

By its very nature, construction is a dangerous industry, and so the industry is subject to stringent health and safety legislation in the form of Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) regulations. The purpose of CDM is the protection of both your colleagues and the public, and further protections for both are positive things.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the CDM regulations has naturally spawned a variety of schemes and frameworks for ensuring compliance. This means there is a risk that your organisation could implement a framework that does not quite match the requirements needed for a tender; not an ideal situation.

Thankfully, the launch of Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) has resulted in an umbrella body for assessment schemes. If the SSIP recognises a scheme, this is an international recognition that means you will not get left behind

One of the best ways of complying with CDM is by achieving ISO 45001 certification from an accredited certification body, as it mirrors many aspects of CDM. In fact, ISO 45001 is recognised by SSIP as satisfying the competency requirements of the CDM regulations, which means you can avoid multiple assessments and the associated fees.

Tender requirements

Industry compliance is not limited to legislation; standards and other requirements will demand your organisation’s compliance too, especially if you want to submit tenders.

For instance, Building Information Modelling (BIM), the process of managing information through the whole lifecycle of a build, is increasingly popular in construction, but the accreditation is becoming something that organisations will need to comply with in order to tender for contracts. The UK Government requires construction suppliers to work at BIM Level 2 in order to tender for centrally-procured government projects, with plans to increase this requirement to Level 3 at a later date.

BIM brings many positives with it, but its implementation can place a strain on the rest of your organisation. For instance, because BIM makes it possible to produce thousands of 2D construction drawings from a single 3D model in mere minutes, it puts pressure on document control procedures that were built to handle a slower, paper-based design process.

This means it is more important than ever to have a solid Quality Management System (QMS) in place to handle the drastic changes caused by the adoption of BIM.

Thankfully, the process of implementing a QMS can actually make it easier to achieve BIM Level 2 accreditation. That is because they are both focused on quality management, so one can take the hard work out of the other.

Environmental legislation

Is there any industry subject to more environmental regulation than construction? From waste management to impact assessments, each project is subject to strict regulation to ensure that it has as little effect on the environment as possible. To try to list every potential way you need to comply with the various regulations is beyond the scope of this article; you already know what you need to do, but the sheer number of regulations to comply with means it would be easy to overlook something.

This is another area where management systems can help you track your compliance efforts and ensure that nothing is missed. In this instance, implementing an Environmental Management System makes it easy to ensure that your organisation is complying with all of the relevant environmental legislation. It does not hurt that it also demonstrates your green credentials when tendering for a contract, either, especially if you have formalised it with ISO 14001 certification.

Management systems

There are always going to be requirements, regulations, and legislation that require compliance within the construction industry, and that is not going to change any time soon. Implementing comprehensive management systems can help you make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, and that your organisation is fully compliant.

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Written by Lee Styles

HSMS Scheme Manager - Company expert for 'Occupational Health and Safety' Standards; OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001. Additional assessment expertise for the following standards; ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001.

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