Promoting Health And Safety Management On Construction Sites Construction Essay

Introduction

“ To construct is to be robbed ” : Johnson ‘s edict still carries much weight in the modern age. The Latham Report ( 1994 ) paints a image of misgiving and struggle, non merely between client and contractor but between the design and building squad and within the building squad itself.

The UK Government has attempted since the Latham Report was published in 1994 to alter the ethos of the building industry and do it less struggle orientated. Legislation followed on from Latham in the signifier of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, and farther enterprises in the signifier of The Egan Report and most late the Motion for Innovation ( M4i ) . The focal point for these enterprises was the public presentation of the building industry, chiefly its inability to fulfill client outlooks, the evident deficiency of teamwork between the assorted undertaking parties and the deficiency of station contract liability. In short, the accent was on value for money.

At the same clip, initiated by European societal statute law, the Construction ( Design Management ) ( CDM ) Regulations has provided a focal point on wellness and safety in the design, building and care stages of building undertakings apportioning specific duties to those named as map holders under the CDM Regulations.

The issue for consideration within this paper is whether both sets of enterprises can alter the civilization and focal point of the building industry and act in concert to advance wellness and safety on building sites and better the public presentation and image of the industry in this regard.

Latham and Egan: A Construction Industry Perspective

Both Latham ( 1994 ) and Egan ( 1998 ) have concentrated on the construct of the squad. Sir Michael Latham ‘s Report “ Constructing the Team ” was commissioned jointly by the Government of the twenty-four hours and the industry itself and represented an in-depth reappraisal of the procurance systems and contractual agreements which permeated the industry. In making this Latham considered the place of the chief contractor as the focal point for many of the long standing jobs in the industry: chiefly, that it is conflict orientated and beset by hapless on the job patterns ( Baden-Hellard, 1995, Critchlow, 1998 ) . The jobs highlighted by Latham in footings of hapless degree of service, hapless terminal merchandise and hapless after gross revenues service are linked to the chief contractor and the transactional power afforded to him by his cardinal place in the contractual model ( Berry 2000 ) . It is of small surprise, so, that the wake of the Latham study was a series of legislative steps designed to restrict this transactional power.

It could be argued, nevertheless, that the focal point on the contractor as the cause of the ailments of the industry ignored a more cardinal issue – the consequence on the attitudes of the parties to the contract of the usage of a procurance system which is based mostly on procuring the contract at the lowest monetary value. The common position of the industry was that it was competitory on monetary value but non on quality ( Barrie, 1988 ) . Other research workers, Hatush and Skitmore ( 1997 ) and Lingard and Holmes ( 2001 ) support this position.

The Egan Report “ Rethinking Construction ” was the study of the Construction Task Force chaired by Sir John Egan ( Egan 1998 ) commissioned by John Prescott to rede him on schemes for bettering the public presentation of the building industry. Like the Latham Report, Egan was concerned that the Construction Industry was non executing to the best of its abilities and was concerned with client satisfaction and procedure and merchandise development. It highlighted a figure of drivers for alteration: committed leading, a focal point on the client, integrated procedures and squads, a quality driven docket and committedness to people. It besides stated that the industry must supply “ nice and safe working patterns and better direction and supervisory accomplishments at all degrees ” ( Egan 1998 @ p.7 ) . Egan spoke besides approximately committedness to people and the demand to actuate secret agents through a mixture of supervising and preparation in a “ no blasted civilization based on common mutuality and trust ” and set a mark to cut down the figure of reportable accidents by 20 % per twelvemonth “ ( Egan 1998 @ p.19 ) .

Equally significantly, Egan made a figure of points sing the attitude of clients and the nature of the industry. Clients were seen as being excessively concerned with cost, comparing it to value, doing choice determinations in relation to both contractors and interior decorators based entirely on monetary value ( Egan 1998 @ p.10 ) . The industry was seen as being fragmented with the huge bulk of companies in the building industry using less than eight people ( Egan 1998 @ p.11 ) . The image is one of an industry dominated by little to medium sized endeavors ( SMEs ) , a image reinforced by Egan ‘s remarks sing a “ crisis in preparation ” and the famine of research and development. These two issues of client orientation and industry atomization are, it is suggested, cardinal to the jobs confronting the building industry in seeking to alter attitudes and public presentation in regard of wellness and safety on building sites.

Key to the accomplishment of the marks set was the scheme outlined by Egan of Partnering. Inherent in this is the function of the client and the focal point on the client as the lead participant in implementing alteration.

Latham and Egan: A Research Perspective

Latham and Egan focused upon partnering as a cardinal scheme in advancing alteration. Partnering has been described in a figure of ways. Typically, the CII ( 1991, p. four ) refer to it as “ long-run agreements between companies to co-operate to an remarkably high grade to accomplish separate yet complementary aims ” ; Day ( 1996 ) saw partnering as the indispensable component in assisting struggle through the obliteration of the traditional barriers between client and contractor. The accent in these and other definitions of partnering ( CII 1991, NEDO 1991 ) is basically fiscal: nest eggs in cost, increases in productiveness

To be effectual, hence, partnering must bring forth touchable benefits for all parties ( Critchlow 1998 ) and to make this requires, it is suggested, a extremist reworking of the civilization, attitudes and mentality of all those engaged in the building procedure ( Marler 2000 ) . Atkinson ( 1998 ) identified the importance of the person in cut downing mistakes on site and as a consequence bettering wellness and safety and the quality of the building procedure as a whole. The inquiry remains, nevertheless, as to whether a solution which addresses concern aims is compatible with accomplishing a solution to wellness and safety issues which are basically human dealingss orientated.

Berry ( 2000 ) in a instance survey based research undertaking investigated the nature of struggle in the building industry and came to a figure of decisions: that, given the nature and construction of the present procurance methodological analysis, struggle in the building procedure is ineluctable ; that the dimensions of struggle identified are mostly negative and that this negative struggle manifests itself in the signifier of emphasis and that negative emphasis leads to mistakes which themselves have reverberations which are clip, cost and quality related ; that direction of the person, though proved to be effectual, is frequently neglected in the building industry ; that the contractor is in a cardinal place to positively command struggle for his ain and the client ‘s benefit

In geting at these decisions Berry set about a survey of six undertakings keeping for each a site struggle journal in which events were ab initio recorded. From this the events were classified harmonizing to four operating degrees. From this initial categorization the struggle journal was re-written retrospectively and the events reclassified to place both the causes and effects of struggle. A narration was besides provided and a flow chart of events was prepared to enable a clear image of the chronology of events and to enable struggle and its fiscal and operational effects to be accurately traced back to the initial cause.

The advantage of this attack was that it provided deepness of analysis to the slightly unidimensional degree provided by the quantitative analysis of the diary events entirely

From this combined analysis it was clear that the peculiar type of contract had small consequence on emergent struggle within the instance surveies. More prevailing than inter-organisational struggle was intra-organisational struggle originating from both the client and the contractor. For the client this originates with his method of procurance of design and other advisers and continues with the ongoing concentration on cost as being the dominant factor in the undertaking. This attitude provably influenced the behavior of all parties to the contract and contributed to dysfunctional behavior at critical points in the undertaking life. For the contractor such behavior exhibited itself inter alia through allotment of resources: neglecting to fit resources to demands through the inappropriate pick of site direction forces, inappropriate transportation of hazard and duty at subcontract degree.

The issues raised in this and other research ( Djebarniu 1996, Loosemore 1999, Loosemore and Tan 2000 and Fraser 2000, Bresnen and Marshall 2000a ) all support the points made by Latham and Egan in regard of the chief drivers for alteration ; committed leading, a focal point on the client, integrated procedures and squads, a quality driven docket and committedness to people. All, nevertheless, are basically critical of the focal point of the procurance procedure which is basically cost and, by extension, struggle orientated.

It can be farther surmised that current methods of direction within the building industry appear to owe more to Taylor than to Locke. This is an of import differentiation when one considers that the thrust in wellness and safety is towards personal duty and behavior based safety direction ( Lingard and Rowlinson 1998 ) and poses cardinal inquiries sing the ability of the industry to alter. An of import issue is the attitude of client and undertaking administrations towards partnering and the benefits it will supply.

Attitudes to Partnering: Survey and Consequences

Bresnen and Marshal ( 2000b ) make the point that there is small empirical grounds of the effectivity of partnering in pattern. Indeed, there is small understanding on the signifier partnering should take: strategic or undertaking based. For the most portion the benefits are expressed in footings of profitableness, productiveness, cost and quality The disadvantages are besides couched in the same footings: deficiency of competition ( Davies 1995 ) ; extra partnering costs through workshops ( Bennett and Jayes 1995, Barlow et Al 1997 ) ; deficiency of flexibleness in the market topographic point ( Critchlow 1998 ) ; the domination of bing adversarial attitudes ( Berry,2000 ) . The negative remarks use every bit to the contractor/subcontractor every bit good as the client/contractor interface raising concerns about the building industry ‘s ability to follow supply concatenation direction as portion of its partnering scheme. The deductions for the creative activity of a wellness and safety civilization on site are, it is suggested, a cause for some concern.

In an effort to farther look into the issues raised above, an probe was undertaken into the attitudes of parties to the building procedure was undertaken to find their attitudes towards partnering and the benefits its green goodss.

A sum of 86 questionnaires were sent out: 40 to contractors, 46 to client administrations. In choosing the sample group a combination of purposive and systematic sampling was used. The questionnaire was designed to prove a figure of hypotheses: that partnering is infrequently used in the building industry ; that partnering has the potency to better client/contractor dealingss ; that partnering has the potency to better merchandise quality and dependability ; that attitudes to partnering from the client side tend to concentrate on their ain answerability ; that attitudes from contractors tend to concentrate on the net income component ; that partnering can convey to the parties a figure of benefits.

The questionnaire was selected as the most appropriate method of informations aggregation given the clip bounds imposed on the survey and the purpose, which was to supply empirical grounds of the usage of partnering. The questionnaire content expanded on the hypotheses given and was comprised chiefly of closed inquiries with merely two unfastened inquiries which asked the respondents to spread out on their responses to inquiries associating to the impact of partnering on quality, dependability and supply concatenation direction.

Of the 40 questionnaires sent out to contractors 35 were returned a response rate of 87 % . Of the 46 questionnaires sent out to clients 26 were returned a response rate of 56 % . A response rate overall of 71 % . The dislocation of the respondents is as shown in Table 1 below:

Client %

Contractor %

Quantity Surveyor

38

29

Undertaking Manager

27

28

Director

11

23

Client Manager

8

0

Engineer

8

2

Architect

4

0

Interior designer

4

0

Recruitment Manager

0

2

Head of Procurement

0

16

Table 1

While Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers dominate the sample, the sample is, it is submitted, representative of organizational constructions in client and catching administrations ( Berry 2000 ) . All respondents felt that they were cognizant of the general rules and aims of partnering with 73 % of the client group and 91 % of the contractor group holding had engagement with partnering in the yesteryear. For the most portion partnering appeared to be client driven with merely 20 % of respondents describing contractor goaded partnering agreements.

81 % of the client group and 91 % of the contractor group were cognizant of the Latham and Egan Reports though 75 % and 51 % of the groups severally felt that it was excessively early to state if the marks were being achieved. Assurance in the consequence of the studies was marginally higher in the contractor group who were besides more confident that the relationship between client and contractor had improved since the Latham Report: 60 % compared with 38 % in the client group and that the potency for struggle was lessened.

The huge bulk of the sample group felt that partnering to win must be applied throughout the supply concatenation. This was one of the inquiries where the respondents were requested to spread out on their pick of reply. The written responses echoed reasonably closely the principle for partnering provided by Egan and other research workers: cost decrease ; riddance of waste ; betterment in quality and value ; just allotment of hazard. This was supported in a farther response where 77 % of the client group and 72 % of the contractor group felt that partnering was an assistance towards quality sweetening and increased dependability. Again this was expanded upon in written remarks which cited the undermentioned grounds: clearer communicating ; clearer hazard allotment ; greater commonalty of aims. Overall, a high grade of synchronism with the findings of Egan and the findings reported by Bresnen and Marshall ( 2000a ) in their critical reappraisal of partnering in building.

Given the degree of compatibility with bing research this allows a figure of decisions to be drawn from the informations gathered in the study associating to issues of answerability, net income and specific effects. The consequences are shown in Table 2 below.

Client

Contractor

Do you experience that a true partnering agreement can ne’er be owing to the opposing involvements of he two parties

Yes

No

38

62

28

72

Make you hold that partnering has been good received or disagree and experience that is there still a grade of apathy and cynicism

Agree

Disagree

31

69

23

77

Where partnering is used do you experience that clients put excessively much accent upon their ain answerability at the disbursal of the true purposes of partnering?

Yes

No

Sometimes

15

27

58

43

8

49

Would you state that contractors pay excessively much attending to the net income component that is generated instead than encompassing the overall aims of partnering?

Yes

No

Sometimes

77

15

8

34

57

9

Do you experience that partnering will one twenty-four hours replace the more traditional competitory tendering procedure?

Yes

No

15

85

14

85

Table 2 ( From Hughes 2001, p.61 )

Despite the clear grasp of the benefits of partnering there still remains a strong suggestion of cultural jobs within the building industry. There is clearly a reluctance to go from the traditional methods of cost control through competitory tendering. This, combined with grounds that the contractor is still excessively concerned with profitableness and the client squad with answerability, does non portray a image of an industry probably to set wellness and safety foremost. This was reinforced to an extent by a farther series of propositions put to the respondents the consequences of which are shown in Table 3 below.

Client

Contractor

Partneringaˆ¦ .

True

P/T

False

True

P/T

False

Aidss rapid declaration of contract differences

Avoids dearly-won overproductions

Promotes better design standards

Produces safer working patterns and sites

Produces increased turnover and net income

Produces increased productiveness

Apportions risk reasonably

Helps advance teamwork

Merely provides a agency to an terminal

Reduces exposure to judicial proceeding

Helps parties to understand each others

Aims

38

15

23

31

27

27

38

62

38

15

65

58

69

46

23

65

46

42

27

31

53

27

4

16

31

46

8

27

20

11

31

31

8

40

29

40

26

11

29

43

85

29

37

74

54

69

43

49

57

57

49

13

40

51

24

6

2

17

25

32

14

8

2

31

12

2

Table 3 ( From Hughes 2001, p.63 )

Whilst it may be argued that supplying a in-between option enables the respondent to avoid a determination it can be proposed that any entries in the true or false columns carry farther weight. This being said some interesting decisions can be drawn from these responses.

On the positive side, there is a definite support of the public-service corporation of partnering in furthering communicating and teamwork, this is supported by the little per centum of respondents who felt that there were no benefits in the signifier of either the turning away or rapid declaration of differences. Beyond this general place, nevertheless, the messages are well more divided and potentially negative

The contractor group were in general less enthusiastic about the fiscal impact of partnering ; 32 % did non experience that it increased turnover and net income and merely 29 % felt decidedly that it increased productiveness. In the same context 46 % of the client group and 25 % of the contractor group felt that partnering did non bring forth safer working patterns and sites: merely a minority, 31 % and 26 % severally felt that there was an betterment. It is suggested that the contractor group responses reflect something of a split between attitudes to the client and attitudes to subcontractors and that whilst there may be better communicating between contractor and client, the same does non needfully keep true for the interface between contractor and subcontractor.

This suggestion is supported by statements made by respondents to the questionnaire where the relationship between contractor and subcontractor was still seen as confrontational despite the importance of the supply concatenation doctrine. This, it is further suggested, has cardinal deductions for the execution of effectual wellness and safety direction systems.

Implementing Health and Safety Management

The overarching scheme for implementing wellness and safety is legislative ; chiefly the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Construction ( Design and Management ) Regulations 1994 ( HSE 1994 ) ( CDM ) which became active in 1995. There is some argument, nevertheless, sing the effectivity of the CDM Regulations in bettering the safety record of the building industry. The HSE ( 1997 ) in look intoing the effectivity of the CDM Regulations found that both clients and contractors were by and large supportive of the ordinances and had reacted positively to them in footings of amending their ain policies but that there were some concerns which existed associating to the addition in bureaucratism which the ordinances imposed which had no evident impact on efficiency.

The function of the Planning Supervisor was understood as was the demand for the Pre-tender Health and Safety Plan but this was undermined by remarks contained in the rating which suggested that clients were more concerned about the fiscal benefits to be gained from any new direction control system and that contractors were concerned about the application of the ordinances to subcontractors and the quality of the information with which they were provided. The consequences were to some degree inconclusive: there was support for the ordinances and a feeling that they provided the vehicle for an increased consciousness of safety issues but that it was excessively early to make up one’s mind whether they were effectual. Further research, nevertheless, has provided support for the issues raised by the HSE study.

The cardinal function of the Pre-tender Health and Safety Plan has been considered by Tam et Al ( 2001 ) in the context of the Hong Kong building industry, which has a hapless safety record comparative with the UK. They considered the consequence of the debut of the Supervision Plan ( comparable with the Construction Health and Safety Plan ) and recorded a positive response in footings of consciousness on site of wellness and safety issues. The research findings were qualified, nevertheless, by remarks sing the strength of the alteration and the demand to reenforce the message of safety against viing messages of cost and clip. Tam and Fung ( 1998 ) had earlier established a correlativity between the usage of sub-contractors and the incidence of accidents on building sites. These were related besides to a deficiency of safety preparation and a deficiency of consciousness of the operational and fiscal effects of accidents amongst little contractors.

Dainty et Al ( 2001 ) considered the troubles environing effectual supply concatenation direction in the building industry where SMEs using 24 or less workers comprise about 98 % of companies runing in the building sector. Like Bresnen and Marshal, Dainty et Al found that partnering was restricted to the Client-Contractor interface with the SME subdivision of the industry, who are mostly subcontractors holding small managerial input. In add-on, they found that the SME subdivision was itself layered with changing degrees of managerial competency. Supply ironss were in themselves fragmented with many SMEs working for a scope of undertaking administrations. It was clear from their probes that relationships at the contractor-subcontractor interface were debatable and struggle orientated stemming from the transactional power of the contractor and the inclination of the undertaking administration to concentrate on costs instead than value. A position supported by Heath et Al ( 1994 ) and Heath and Berry ( 1996 ) .

In the same context, Bresnen and Marshall ( 2000b ) look intoing the public-service corporation of fiscal inducements as a footing for behaviour alteration in the context of partnering, concluded that the fiscal inducements that form the footing of partnering understandings are of deficient valency to efficaciously act upon single behavior given the complexness of the societal and organizational constructions usually present on building sites. The civilization on site is non, it is suggested, one which promotes conformity as a normative response.

Griffith and Phillips ( 2001 ) in analyzing the influence of the CDM Regulations on the procurance and direction of little edifice plants commented upon the addition in managerial work load imposed by the Regulations, a work load which could non ever be borne by the SME. They besides found that this top down legislative control did non move to positively alter the civilization of the administration and that the manner frontward to improved wellness and safety pattern was through better preparation, clearer contractual answerability and improved workplace control.

In a general sense it is accepted that the most effectual execution of wellness and safety takes topographic point at the degree of the person ( Duff et al 1994 ) . This point of view has been supported by Lingard and Rowlinson ( 1998 ) , who linked the betterment of safety on site with motive of the person, and Lingard ( 2001 ) who associated site based first assistance preparation with improved safety public presentation on site. The deduction being that schemes for betterment must be centred on the person, proposing that a top-down attack to behaviour alteration on site will be of limited consequence. This consequences in something of an deadlock for an industry dominated by top down direction and populated by secret agents who are traditionally immune to alter and frequently unmindful to the demand to work safely.

Decisions

There is grounds to propose that the Government ‘s legislative enterprises in regard of wellness and safety direction in the building industry have been good in the sense that the CDM Regulations do hold a positive consequence on safety on site. It is non as easy to set up, nevertheless, that the consequence is both broad ranging and long permanent – a alteration in civilization. It appears that a figure of barriers exist which act to forestall this. The construction of the building industry, the fiscal orientation of the procurance procedure and the adversarial nature of contractual relationships within the industry all combine to restrict the consequence of wellness and safety enterprises in the workplace.

Partnering has been proposed as the strategic mechanism through which the civilization of the industry will alter. The research grounds presented in this paper suggests, nevertheless, that this is non the instance. It is clear that partnering has some good effects on the client-contractor interface but it is every bit clear that this does non widen to the contractor-subcontractor interface. The consequence is an industry with a disconnected attack to the direction of wellness and safety on site where the cost of wellness and safety is secondary to considerations of clip, cost and quality.

Although the research would propose that long term betterments can merely be achieved through schemes that encourage the person to be come more safety witting and set up a minimal degree for single behavior in this context, a top down scheme is, it is suggested, needed to supply the environment within which this alteration can happen. Despite the accent placed upon the polar function of the contractor in finding the civilization of contractual dealingss, the cardinal issue for wellness and safety prevarications in the polar function of the client in act uponing the position of wellness and safety direction as a cardinal issue in the procurance procedure instead than its present place as being one point on a list dominated by the lowest cost as a standard for choice.