Importance of health and safety in architecture, Construction H&S tips, Design management regulations, Property
The Importance of Health and Safety in Architecture
18 September 2022
One of the primary functions of any building is to keep the human occupants sheltered and protected against harm. If a building fails to do this, or actually creates a risk of harm that wasn’t there in the first place, then the design is clearly lacking.
It’s for this reason that health and safety concerns inform so many of the building regulations that the construction industry is expected to abide by. Architects must consider these health and safety concerns, and weight the risk, not just to the people who’ll be eventually using the building, but to the people who will help to get the building constructed in the first place.
Health and Safety in Construction
Alongside agriculture, construction is among the least safe industries in the UK. The average building site is packed with potential hazards, and too often, the care and attention paid are lacking. In many cases, a single lapse in concentration, or a miscommunication between employees, can have disastrous results.
Preventing accidents is not just a moral imperative, but a financial one. Workers who become injured are less productive, and more likely to be absent from work – often for long spells. Moreover, employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment. Where accidents do occur that could have been prevented, workers might seek to pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible party – which might well be the business.
Challenges Architects Face
Forging a career as an architect can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Architects tend to have difficulty finding work in the first place, before they’ve established a reputation. They might also struggle to argue for quality and longevity in design over more immediate financial considerations.
There’s also an ongoing need to keep abreast of the latest methods and technological developments. This might include the hardware used to get the designs recorded, and the accompanying software, too. Increasingly, the plans laid out by architects are being communicated to the workers using software. It’s imperative that architects have a firm grasp of the tools, and that they’re able to anticipate potential miscommunication.
Balancing Costs and Budget
Too often, compromises on health and safety result from a desire to drive down costs. This might occur because the budget and the brief have over time become disconnected. It’s therefore critical that costs are monitored over time to ensure that a major correction isn’t needed further down the line.
Designers who attempt to do their work in a vacuum will often find themselves in financial difficulty, especially if the plans cannot be safely realised within the budget set out at the outset. Again, legal action can often result.
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photo : Alan Williams Photography
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