Rationalise H&S forum

    H & S Forum

    The purpose of the  Rationalise H&S forum is to discuss the current practices relating to the Health & Safety File on Construction Sites and Projects. The three key representatives involved are Construction Health and Safety Agents, Principal Contractors and Specialist Contractors.

    MBA North’s Gerhard Roets reported that after several engagements held between the second and third quarter by the forum, one of the key challenges that required reviewing and clarity was the allocation of Costs of Safety in a Bill of Quantity.

    A panel of delegates from the forum were chosen to seek further information and the first point of contact identified was to meet with the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) for guidance and further engagements on the aforementioned. Following a meeting with the Executive Director and board member of the ASAQS, an industry specialist was brought in to clarify what the legislation says: what the ‘sufficient’ cost of safety is, current practise, roles and responsibilities involved in budgeting for CH&S & improvements that could increase CH&S resource compliance for all stakeholders on Construction projects.

    A CH&S budgeting workshop was thus held on 6 July addressing CH&S budgeting on a project.

    The workshop was facilitated by Anton Krause, Project Consultant & Risk Management Strategist. In attendance were Karl Trusler Edutech Director at ASAQS, Larry Feinberg, Executive Director at ASAQS, Danie Stoltz SHEQ manager at Tyris Construction, Brian Randall from IWH and Cobus Coetzee, SHERQ National Advisor at SAFSEC and Mohau Mphomela. Executive Director MBA North.

    The following symptoms were found to be the root cause of challenges faced:

    1. The Client – Client not a specialist in CH&S; often the Client is not a single person (this is often difficult to determine on a construction project); does not appoint the Pr. CHSA at the commencement of the construction project (due to not being aware, as there is no one educating the client bodies – who is to do this?).
    2. The Professional Construction Health & Safety Agent (Pr. CHSA) – most often appointed too late (inadequate scope of work given); they are sitting in their own silo”; poor CH&S documentation determination and therefore poor costing.
    3. The Professional Construction Project Manger (Pr. CPM) – too little time to cover their potential contribution to the symptom.
    4. The Designer – too little time to cover their potential contribution to the symptom.
    5. The Professional Quantity Surveyor(Pr. QS) – they tend to be very risk averse by nature; they are also not that aware of CH&S and require better education programs covering such topics; the documentation that they produce is often not complete (poor); they are not specialists in CH&S and therefore have difficulty in clarifying CH&S budgets.
    6. The Principal Contractor (PC/C) – competitive pricing in the South African infrastructure and construction industry puts immense strain on CH&S; many PC/C companies do not see CH&S as a potential profit center and are therefore not committed CH&S on their projects.

    The next step in finding solutions to the abovementioned challenges are:

    • To de-silo the various built environment silos- the need for collaborative practices in the future
    • CH&S Guidelines education
    • Collaborative CH&S Awareness Campaigns.
    • Early integration of CH&S into the management of a construction project to encourage all involved to work together.
    • To improve people’s knowledge, attitude and behavior towards CH&S.

    The participants believed that other built environment stakeholders should have been invited to participate in the workshop. The South African Property Owners Association and National Treasury being key custodians and stakeholders in South Africa.

    Participants also believed that more time should have been allowed for the workshop. Master Builders Association will continue to workshop this issue and engage relevant stakeholders to find a solution.