April construction law could give clients more responsibility for on site safety

Building site deaths could now be the responsibility of clients because of new regulations, according to an expert on construction law.

Ken Salmon, construction lawyer at Mace & Jones, warned that it is now up to the client to ensure that those employed are competent, and that they have been provided with health and safety information.

The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 in April, widened responsibility for safety on sites. Clients who commission new buildings are now responsible for health and safety, even if they are not directly involved in construction work. Previously, it was only the contractors, designers and managers who faced liability.

The client will also be responsible for providing sufficient planning time and making arrangements for managing the project. They could even incur liability for choosing a particular design system or product.

Salmon said: “A death on a building site will be followed up by an investigation of the care taken by all parties, including the individuals whose only role is choosing the contractors, designers or managers and footing the bills.”