Do the new health and safety rules apply to my house extension?
I am about to undertake an extension to my house and I have heard that there are new health and safety requirements for the client and architect. Do these apply to my project?
The answer is yes. The new Health, Safety and Welfare at Work (Construction Amendment) Regulations 2012 come into force tomorrow 1 June 2013. They will see a significant change to construction safety regulations and the way the regulations will affect small works to domestic properties.
Up to now, if you were proposing to carry out some building works in your own home you did not have to appoint anybody to act as a project supervisor or notify the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
All this will change tomorrow. From this date onwards, anybody considering carrying out an extension or even some other small works to their own home must appoint a Project Supervisor for the Design Stage (PSDP) and for the Construction Stage (PSCS).
Usually, the Project Supervisor for the Design Stage (PSDP) will be an architect or engineer and the Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) will be the contractor involved.
Both the PSDP and the PSCS must demonstrate that they are competent to carry out this duty. Failure to appoint a PSDP or PSCS or failure by the PSDP or PSCS to carry out their duties can carry very severe fines and even jail sentences.
Examples of construction work you may have completed on your house, which may come within the new regulations, would include: building a new house or a new extension; an attic conversion; refitting a kitchen; re-slating a roof; fitting solar panels or roof skylights.
The regulations also specify that if the works are proposed to be carried out in less than 30 working days or 500 man-hours then they would be exempt from the regulations.
The details of this are set out in the regulations and can be accessed on the HSA website www.hsa.ie and the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work (Construction) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 - S.I.No.461 of 2012, and S.I. 504 of 2006, available from www.irishstatutebook.ie.
A registered architect will be able to advise you on these new regulations. You can find a registered architect on www.riai.ie.
Peter Andrews is Director of J. Peter Andrews Architects.