Half of APS members ‘unsure’ how to plan for Safety Bill

Some 138 APS members responded to the survey in January 2022 (Image:
Survey of safety professionals also reveals concerns that tight programmes are leading to increased design and construction risks. By Will Mann.

A clear majority of Association for Project Safety (APS) members believe the looming Building Safety Bill will be the biggest issue affecting their roles over the next decade – but 50% say they are ‘unsure’ how to plan for it.

Those are among the key findings of a survey of the APS membership to mark the relaunch of the association’s magazine as Project Safety Journal.

Asked what issues will have the biggest impact on their jobs over the next five to 10 years, 61% cite the looming Building Safety Bill. Only 8% say they are ready for the Bill while 28% say they know what they need to do.

And even though the new Bill is currently passing through parliament, APS members are worried about attitudes to safety in the wider industry. Asked about the biggest safety challenges faced by construction projects, 60% say that ‘insufficient time is given to design and planning phases’. A further 44% say ‘construction programmes are too tight’.

Other issues expected to have an impact on the roles of health and safety professionals over the next decade include skills and supply chain capacity (picked by 49% of respondents), retrofit and low carbon technology (48%) and digitalisation (47%).

Nearly a third (31%) of those surveyed are concerned about the competence and skills of designers, with 28% saying the same about construction management professionals. Unsurprisingly, building safety is considered the area where health and safety professionals need to upskill most (70% of respondents picked this option).

Other skill priorities cited include retrofit and low carbon technology (chosen by 43%), digital tools and processes (also 43%) and general legal issues (41%). Another 28% feel that health and safety professionals could improve their softer skills in areas such as teamwork and leadership.

Views of APS members

“Clients are not willing to allocate resources to health and safety.”

“There is a lack of health and safety awareness amongst all project participants from the client through to the trades.”

“Unrealistic bid prices lead to bad decisions from the start of a project.”

“There is a lack of competency and skills among some principal designers.”

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