Most construction clients have no knowledge of changes to key safety regulations affecting how they manage building projects which came into effect three years ago.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 place obligations upon the person or company commissioning the works to manage health and safety.
But the report by the British Property Federation (BPF) and the Construction Clients’ Group (CCG), shows that two-thirds of companies have no knowledge of the legislation whatsoever.
The report indicates that clients which do not have a regular involvement in construction are most ignorant about the regulations, even though jail terms or unlimited fines can be imposed on companies or individuals who fail to comply with them.
Among regular construction clients, the study found that the legislation has not led to a substantial improvement in health and safety performance, although costs and the level of administration required for compliance have risen.
James Preston-Hood, CCG board director and chair of the Construction Clients Group said: “The report bears out our own experiences; the regulations have not led to a substantial increase in site safety, while the costs and administration associated with complying have risen.”
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation said: “Health and safety is something which organisations should manage as carefully as their balance sheets. It is clear from the research that this message is not permeating outside of the regular client community and at a time where the construction industry is suffering under huge cuts, it is vital we do not up the burden further.”
Jon de Souza, chief executive of the Construction Clients’ Group said: “The findings of the report confirm that changes are needed to the legislation to deliver their intent. We would like to see the Health and Safety Executive commit to a root and branch review of the regulations and also refresh their communication strategy with the general business community.”