The New Construction Health and Safety Regulations 2010
Building and construction are two fields that have been around for a long time but have seen rapid changes. The market for construction products has expanded tremendously and new techniques, products and assembly lines have all made a big difference. Two main pieces of legislation have made modifications to the legislation for construction products: Building Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2010. These amendments cover three main issues: regulatory effectiveness, consumer protection and training and education. The main regulations concerning Building Products are: Building Regulations 2010, Building Regulations 2011 and Building Regulations 2012.
The Building Regulations 2010 set out the obligations of manufacturers, suppliers and contract manufacturers to ensure that construction products produced in accordance with the applicable harmonised technical specifications and that they meet the statutory requirements laid down by the European Union. The Building Regulations also states that any product that fails to comply with the regulations is to be banned. The Product Liability Act further stipulates that manufacturers must take personal liability for any defect or breach of contract caused by their product, and also stipulates that they must provide evidence of compliance with the regulations. The manufacturer is then obliged to notify the Council for Construction Supervision if it should detect any instance of non-compliance. If the manufacturer should fail to comply, the Council will refer the case to the European Commission for investigation and possible penalties.
There are two sections within the Building Regulations that directly concern construction products within the UK: Technical Standards and Provisional Equipment. Both these bodies require that any product which is used in connection with construction work in the UK must be conformed to essential standards. For example, all rope and timber required in decking, buildings and foundations must be constructed using British Standard No. R-values for strength, flexibility and durability. Likewise, all steel fittings and pipes used in foundations need to meet British Standard BS. Other important technical requirements of these regulations include: the minimum dimension for doors and windows, the distance from the point where a seam joint can be joined to the first floor, the distance between studs and rafters, and the minimum pitch for stairs.
The second set of regulations pertains to fire safety within construction works, and provides additional measures to reduce the risk of fire. For example, provision has been introduced to ensure the implementation of the European Standard EN 3420 – the recommended type of construction materials for buildings. This means that all building products, including window dressings, are required to be constructed in accordance with the standard.
In addition, all steel products within UK require documentation to confirm that they have met the essential requirements set out in British Standard EN 3420 – such as whether the steel has been heat treated to a minimum sulphide level. Furthermore, all structural components are required to be designed to comply with the current Building Regulations, and all workers must be trained in safety and fire prevention. All products which are used in connection with construction must also be made from high quality steels, in order to remain in line with the regulations set out by British Standard. Additionally, all steel products within UK must be manufactured at least five months before they are released into the marketplace. Such products are then inspected during manufacture to check that they meet all British Standard requirements.
Following the release of the Building Regulations, in September last year, all construction products were brought into line with the new harmonised standards for fire resistance, and a further consultation was held on improving the installation of smoke alarms. It is hoped that these changes to the building regulation in the UK will make it much easier for people to stay within the law and help reduce health costs. The consultation is likely to continue, with experts working on further revisions to the regulations, possibly bringing them into line with international standards. For more information on the harmonised construction product registration process, it is important to contact the British Standard Group on + 44 8802 9090, or visit the British Standards Foundation’s website. All browsers will support the latest specs, so it should not be necessary to reformat your computer when trying to view the documentation.