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October Overview – Liz Bennett

Hello All!

Let me introduce myself. I am Liz Bennett the fairly new Chair of the Building Safety Theme Group for Constructing Excellence SW.

I am a Fellow of the ICE and a practicing health and safety consultant and trainer with an interest in empowering others. Collaboration is at the heart of most of what I do.

The Building Safety Theme Group has been taking a deep breath after the sterling work to produce the Enlightened Clients Guide. If you have not seen this evolving and developing resource, I commend it to you, and those who produced it. Designed for Clients who are not used to building and construction projects such as School Governors, Primary Care Practice Managers and so on it is truly a really useful toolset for those who advise such clients. Want to know the headlines of different kinds of contracts? You can find information here. Need to know more about project risks and mitigation? Look in this guide.

What are we doing next and as well? There is the small matter of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) and the host of regulations made under it. What does it mean for us all? What do we need to do? Do we all need to do something? Heeeeeelp! What CESW and the various Clubs across the Region are doing is holding CPD meetings. I attended a fascinating event in Plymouth. Thankyou Devon Club, our hosts Foote Anstey and all the incredibly insightful and knowledgeable speakers. Though next time I prefer not to be stuck in the lift and then have to stagger up to the 6th floor with an army of fit young professionals champing at my heels! As the Building Safety Regulator pointed out, who sprinted on ahead of me, this is the lot of firemen on a daily basis, also encumbered with breathing apparatus and so on.

What are we doing about all this? The BSA and its regulations put new checks and balances in place and require new skill sets to be engaged. Above all there is a requirement for third party checks on what we plan to do and do in fact do. A sad reflection that as an industry we cannot be trusted. There are many elements to the process and the ways in which the legislation needs to be applied on different types and sizes of buildings. We are likely to split into Task and Finish Groups working on particular activities and using Theme Group meetings to come together to share, challenge and plan the next steps. We will create clear space and information for this and if you feel you would be interested in being involved in a group, do let me know. What are the groups? We all need to decide so suggest what interests you here, what you need and we will consider it with you. A couple of suggestions for you:

· Cladding design and installation group

· Competence requirements group

· Golden Thread Group

· Safety Case Group

What do you want to add?

Not content with dealing with all this new post Grenfell work, as a Civil Engineer I am also involved in a range of projects and noticing that HSE is taking lessons from Grenfell to apply across the whole of industry. Can we be trusted? Why is GIRI [ ] reporting we are still wasting around £20 billion every year due to error? Why are we forever making claim and counter claim and accepting unfinished projects and company failures as the norm? We are an amazingly creative and passionate industry full of incredible people. Because we can do better, we should do better. We must do better.

So HSE is looking hard at CDM 2015 compliance across all sectors. If you want to get to grips with the BSA 2022 you first need to be sure you know what you are doing in terms of CDM 2015.

My bet is you probably are not as certain as you should be. In all the hundreds of training courses I have delivered over the last 3-4 years only one group knew their way around the General Principles of Prevention. The senior leadership team from HS2. Do you? If you are part of a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor team you are told 3 times in law to apply these principles. That suggests they are important! You can find them in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 or in Appendix 1 to CDM 2015 in HSE publication L153.

Do you have an in-house list of the likely materials that you must by law include in the construction phase plan and thus by backwards extrapolation in the Pre-Construction Information? Schedule 3(2) speaks of these matters and has always been there. Have we done anything? The Design for Health Task Group (DfHTG) has a subgroup looking at this, can you help for your kind of project? Happy to promote your contribution if so. While I also chair the DfHTG which reports nationally into the Health in Construction Leadership Group, it is Gina of Britcon, CE National SME award winner, who is leading on this.

CDM 2015 is riddled with crucial elements that industry is ignoring. We are working on some of these. We will share some of what we are doing via the Building Safety Theme Group and would love you to join in. We are developing special versions of accredited and endorsed training for different sectors and various neuro diverse ways of communicating. Do you deliver training? Can we work together on this? We would love to share. We are especially looking for anyone who is deaf and working in our industry who would like to join us as we work with ITV Signpost to develop BSL courses by deaf people for deaf people. Next stop dyslexia…

If what we are all doing is in line with your personal ambition, corporate intent and takes us forward together, I believe we can do a huge amount. Let’s set to it.


Building (and Infrastructure) Theme Group Chair

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