The Health and safety regulations act 2015 now includes domestic clients, no matter how big or small the work is. This has been changed to help combat the injure that happen on domestic work sites due to the lack of health and safety rules.As such, in small scale construction work, domestic as well as commercial clients must now uphold the standard of health and safety. This means they must help the contractors to make sure the project runs smoothly, and that the health and safety standards are upheld.
If the client instructs more than one contractor to work on the site, then the client must designated which one is the primary contractor. The primary contractor’s role is to act as the main liaison between the client and the rest of the contracted parties. They must plan and coordinate the entire construction phase and have ongoing arrangements in place for managing health and safety throughout the construction time. The contracted parties must cooperate with the rules set forth by the primary contractor, as if the do not, they may be liable. This may make the construction more complicated, and might lead to an increased construction time with additional costs.
Before work starts, you must have a heath and safety plan. This is normally done by the main contractor and they control who enters the site to work. If work lasts longer than 30 working days and has more then 20 workers working simultaneously at any given point in the project, or work exceeds 500 person days, then you must notify the project to the HSE. However all projects must have a health and safety plan by law, no matter how small they are. This is one of the new changes brought in by the new regulations. Normally this is done by the primary contractor or the primary designer. If the client does not appoint anyone directly, then the responsibilities fall automatically to the primary contractor, who must account for everyone new that enters the working site.
The key difference between commercial and domestic projects are who they are being done for. A commercial construction project is done for any reason relating to a business, from doing up an office space to building a new house to let. A domestic client is any individual who has construction work carried out on their home, or the home of a family member, that is not done as part of any business.
The most common health and safety issue is working at height, as 3 in 10 workers died from falling from a height in 2014/2015. Many of these stem from inundate safety procedures, such as using a ladder without 3 points of contact. As such, you should only use the ladder for low risk work, and never for more than a couple of minutes at a time. For longer jobs where the risk of falling is greatly higher, scaffolding is required.
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Helping the environment is surprisingly easy, as it can be as simple as switching off the lights when you leave the room or turning off the TV by the plug instead of putting in to standby mode. For example, turning off the taps whilst not in use may seem like a obvious thing, and every little milliliter adds up.
Another tip relating to water is the fact that showers generally use less than baths, meaning that you help the environment and your water bill will cost less. You may want to buy a shower timer to help you keep track of your usage.
Reducing your water usage helps the environment, and the answer how is very simple. Clean water is not a infinite resource, and we use machines to turn dirty water into clean and safe water that we use in washing and for drinking. This process requires a lot of energy, and we normally get this power via burning fossil fuels, releasing harmful byproducts that hurt the environment and cause damage to the planet. Getting a water butt for collecting water to use in the garden, as this collects natural rain water for you to use instead.
However, making clean water is not the biggest use of the power we create as over 2/5th of the energy created in the UK is used by transport and that another 2/5 is used on heating, meaning only 1/5th is split between everything else. So turning down the radiators and walking down to the shops instead of driving can help save money and the environment by quite a bit.
There are various renewable energy sources (i.e solar panels) and these require your own evaluation for cost efficiency.
A way of reducing your carbon foot print whilst still keeping warm is wall insulation. Getting good wall insulation means that you can turn your radiator down and still stay warm, even in the winter. With uninsulated cavity walls, for every £3 spent on heating £1 is lost, meaning that 33% of heating produced is wasted (information from the energy saving trust). As well as this, wall insulation can help with any condensation problems. There are three different types of wall insulation, Cavity, internal and external.
If you want to save money on your heating bills, insulating your loft or attic is one of the easiest and simplest. The recommended minimum depth is 270 mm but this may increase in the future. The savings from this can be quite good, as the insulation can last for a long time and the amount of money saved from wasted heat means that it can pay itself over multiple times. There maybe be a grant available to help you.
So if you are looking to stay warm in the winter, whilst keeping your heating bills down, then installing some insulation would help by a large amount.
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What is bungaroosh?
Bungaroosh is what could be called the heart and soul of many buildings in Brighton, and was a core building material during the middle of 18th and 19th century. It is a simple technique involving putting two boards parallel, filling them with hydraulic lime and miscellaneous materials, such as pebbles, bricks (broken or whole), pieces of wood, flint (which is found quite commonly near Brighton) and then leaving it to set.
Whilst this way of construction is quite cheap and simple, after time it can be come structurally weak due to the use as lime a bonding agent meaning the mixture is very susceptible to water and can easily dissolve if made too wet. The opposite is true as well, as it can crumble away if it becomes too dry. As such, the wall must be able to “breathe”. Since bungaroosh was used in a lot of buildings quite some time ago, a large amount of it requires maintenance work to keep them strong, which is best performed by a construction company which understands the need for the building to breathe and not use modern construction materials which will damage the building and are not permitted. If you do repair Bungaroosh, then you must use lime-based products, such as lime render or else the wall will not be able to “breath” and it’s structural integrity will fail.
As many old buildings in Brighton are made partially from bungaroosh, you must take great care in fixing these, and need to see if you are allowed to, as your building might be listed. If it is listed and you want to do changes and some repairs, then you must apply for listed building consent. You must also remember to do like for like repairs, as to not ruin the look of the building. As well as this, Conservation areas could also be an issue, as you must keep to the historical look to the place when making changes, and normally bungaroosh is a part of this. Meaning that for conservation areas, the planning permission is much tighter, as any changes must not falter the look of the area.
To see if you are in a conservation area or if your building is listed, please visit The Brighton and Hove website.
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