Readers’ comments | Quality alarm, dust control, Suicide bids warning
Permitted development needs to be regulated but at the same time we can’t stick with the same outdated and cumbersome planning criteria which have contributed a lot to the crises.
Can building control not inspect and ensure standards are being maintained? A predetermined list of all qualifying criteria – minimum size, materials, access – could be made available and building control then inspects before issuing an occupancy certificate. Insurers would not be allowed to insure unless the occupancy certificate were issued.
As Anthony Bonnett stated, it is the responsibility of the local authority to ensure that standards comply with the Building Regulations, which will have been approved prior to construction.
Surely, the policy of permitted development only refers to planning approval aspects and not to the specification of materials or the details of construction? Is this debacle just another example which highlights the failure of local authority and client supervision?
Richard JF Moore
As a UKATA-approved asbestos awareness and non-licensed asbestos trainer, I am in daily contact with the trades, who we must respect and care for.
The HSE’s Hidden Killer campaign has been around now for nine years. UKATA was formed 11 years ago and the excellent IOSH “No Time to Lose” campaign is well established but I find it amazing that many people still don’t understand the need to protect themselves.
Even the most basic dust control hierarchy of avoiding dust creation, control by wetting down, extraction with M-class vacs before face fit testing and use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) are widely misunderstood.
We need more site discipline, coupled with good practical training. We also need more enforcement officers in local authorities and the HSE.
After years working in the construction industry both on site and at management level, the problem with dust control has never been really addressed. It is always the subcontractor’s problem, never the main contractor’s problem. I am not aware of anyone who has been prosecuted for lack of dust control, pollution, damage to adjacent property or vehicles.
When you travel around sites like I do, it’s frightening to see the complete lack of care given to protecting site operatives from the effects of dust: concrete dust, wood dust, plasterboard dust. All construction dust is dangerous. The HSE needs to take a strong stand with companies who fail to protect their employees.
Manchester Town Hall is a fine building with a historical background.
The wood content in its structure means that it is susceptible to a high fire risk. It is important to feature the highest standards to ensure protection against fire.
A proven fireproof cable like type MICC (mineral insulated non-ageing), must be considered to ensure that fire protection and the electrical supply to essential services is deemed secure.
The sooner lowest price bidding is banned from the industry the better.
In our construction industry, I suggest that MBAs should be broader and feel more like engineering degrees.
Estimators should rely on engineers and project managers to prepare prices and programmes for the bid, and to critically review the contract conditions.
The upstream design information must be assessed, and the client’s consultants held to task if the information is not adequate.
The construction industry has many “fat cats” but they are always crying out that they are not making money! Market forces bring out the best in innovation and value for money for the public.