Coping with compliance in the construction industry
Regulatory compliance represents a major challenge for the construction industry – and for manufacturers supplying this important sector.
The number and reach of relevant regulations is extensive, covering fields as diverse as the health and safety of workers, the efficacy of building materials and products, and the legality of construction contracts.
Why it’s so important
Despite the onerous burden involved, companies have no choice but to comply… it’s the law. Powerful enforcement bodies and tough penalties await those who fail to do so. The onus is on firms to take steps to manage their regulatory obligations efficiently to avoid falling foul of the law.
However, you can turn this into an opportunity. Often, compliance leads to better efficiency, improved health and safety records, cost savings, enhancing brand reputation and overall competitiveness and performance.
Finding the simplest solutions
Help is at hand: certification to key management system and product standards offer the tools to help you remain compliant – and provide some defence from investigations, prosecutions and penalties.
Occupational health & safety: Certification to BS OHSAS 18001 (soon to become ISO 45001) enables the construction industry to adhere to regulatory requirements efficiently and improve your company’s health and safety record. Certification also helps you to fulfil your responsibilities under the recently revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, and the construction industry’s certification scheme, Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP).
Preventing bribery: The anti-bribery management system standard BS 10500 takes account of the Bribery Act, turning legal requirements into practical measures. Construction companies, both large and small, can implement BS 10500 to ensure compliance with the law – and gain commercial benefits.
Product certification: Manufacturers (rather than building contractors) make the decision to CE Mark, and must do so for certain products under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). Go one step further The BSI Kitemark offers construction industry specifiers and contractors a much higher level of product assurance and gives manufacturers the ability to differentiate their products.
BIM is a software-based system that addresses the issue of collaboration between companies throughout the supply chain for large building and infrastructure projects. The system brings together all the components that make up a project in the development stage, creating a common language, shared knowledge and increased transparency between all the parties involved, from the main contractor through to much smaller sub-contractors.
Just as design software can provide three-dimensional drawings of a potential building, BIM can model every component part of a proposed project, so that the main contractor can see in advance – and on an ongoing basis as the project develops – where any clashes are likely to occur. By collating accurate information, from drawings and specifications to materials and measurements, problems can be avoided throughout the supply chain, saving time, costs and waste.
The Government is now sufficiently persuaded of the benefits of BIM to have set a clear mandate for construction companies to use it or else be excluded from public sector tenders.
Hate the red tape?
Love them or loathe them, regulations are a fact of business life – and companies have no choice but to comply with them… it’s the law. Powerful enforcement bodies and hefty penalties await those who fail to do so. And, as regulations seem inexorably to increase in number and complexity, so the challenge of effective compliance for organizations also grows. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the construction industry – where both contractors, and also manufacturers supplying the sector, face multiple legal and regulatory requirements.
See it as an opportunity to grow, and improve, and you can reap the rewards of your compliance.