10 May 2023

Safety First: Total collaboration is vital to make a real difference

Safety First: Total collaboration is vital to make a real difference

As the construction industry patiently awaits the reveal of gateways two and three in the Building Safety Act, our Design Director at Caddick Construction, Adam Tucker, shares his views on the impact new regulation will have on the sector, from delays in the programme to uncertainty in costs, and how the industry can unite itself for the better. 

“As an industry we’re certainly not shy of adapting to new challenges. In recent years, these hurdles have reared their head through price increases and supply shortages, and it's no accident that we’ve been able to keep our operations on course whilst tackling these head on. But as we all await the next phase in the Building Safety Act, once again the industry is experiencing uncertainty and speculation as tighter design and fire safety regulations are set to be implemented.

“It’s not easy to fully understand the implications for the industry until the road map for implementation is fully understood, so we’re having to keep ourselves poised and ready to adapt. We know that the Government is setting wheels in motion for the announcement of gateways two and three in October this year. And it will come as no surprise that these guidelines will steer the extent of regulations to ensure safety in every stage of the build programme, from the design stages right through to completion, handover and aftercare.”

How can we plan for the future?

“While we wait to see what these regulations look like, we can only anticipate what they might be and keep one step ahead of the change, and keep one eye on the anticipated outcome. We’re working hard to get as many of our ducks in a row as possible by developing and outlining a planned policy document. Forming part of this process for us has involved setting up workshops with legal teams, fire safety specialists and design consultancies with the aim of opening up the conversation and working together. What we need is total collaboration to make a real difference.

“Getting ahead of the game for us has meant collaborating with our counterparts, industry peers and stakeholder groups. Joining forces in this way has been vital for the planning process, and it’s the Building Safety Act that’s driven this collaborative approach. Working alongside our Caddick Group counterparts, MODA and Caddick Developments, has also meant that we’ve been able to get ahead of the game when it comes to us understanding the impact on delivery to meet our clients’ requirements.”

So what does all this mean for our clients?

“What we do know at this stage is there is likely going to be an impact on design approvals and overall timescales, and we are keen to establish in detail what the true knock-on-effect looks like. Currently we’re working with very swift approval times on changes to the plans, even with the more unique details. But now, with the guidance from key information sources we are beginning to paint a clear picture of the commitments required and each stage and a programme for compliance.

“Whilst there remains some level of uncertainty around the changes to regulation and how this will impact our clients’ budget - and our own timescales - it’s important that we continue to meet with industry experts. By working together to get ahead and get prepared, we’re doing everything we can to ensure we minimise the aftershock as much as possible for our projects and our clients.”

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