building valuations


Health and Safety in the Property Industry


1stAssociated can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.

We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Health and safety in the property industry, as opposed to the construction industry

We have intentionally called the article health and safety in the property industry rather than in the construction industry because the construction industry in one way or another has made great leaps and bounds forwards in the Construction Design and Management documentation (CDM), with the associations, such as MaPS developing originally for what were known as planning supervisors, although they actually didn't plan anything, they looked at safe ways of carrying out construction work. It could be argued, we suppose, that they did plan the safety of a project. They are now known as Project Safety Officers. This area has developed further and there are now exams for membership, when you become a registered project safety officer. This is developed from the CDM Regulations, which came out in 1994.

Ladder up the side of a three storey building Workman up a ladder on a three storey building Working at the top of a ladder on a three storey building
Ladder up the side of a three storey building
Up a ladder, three storeys up
At the top of the three storey building


The property industry carries on with things as they always were

Contrast this with the property industry. Here we would define this as much smaller work, possibly relating to property management and maintenance or relatively minor refurbishment. This is where building projects don't fall under the CDM rules. A brief preace of what falls under the CMD rules are:

A building project that carries on for 30 working days, or 500 man hours, or has more than 4 people and any demolition of any sort will require a building contractor to carry out a risk assessment and forward and F10 form to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


Fiddler on the roof!

These pictures were taken early one Sunday morning in Norfolk when we were on our way to look at another project (yes we did say Sunday). The repair being carried out is cement pointing of a flashing. It could be argued that it should be lead work anyhow; lead work would make a far better job of sealing the chimney on the roof. Series of photos showing man on a roof without scaffolding
  Early one Sunday morning, could be any street in the country almost


Series of photos showing man on a roof without scaffolding
Notice the ladder going up onto a roof that can just be seen in this photo if you look carefully As we got closer we could see the ladder more clearly

From behind the chimney. The bricklayer is literally standing on the ridge of the roof repointing the chimney and surrounding cement flashing. Whilst we won't go into the rights and wrongs of cement flashings (!) it is amazing to watch!


However, in this case it was to our amazement as we watched the bricklayer climb a ladder, then a crawler ladder and reverse on the ridge carrying a bucket of mortar. For those of you who have never carried a bucket of mortar it is relatively heavy. They proceeded to hang on to the chimney by the base of it. Whilst the house was single storey it was still a fair drop. The owner did manage to save the relatively small amount of money by not having a scaffold put up around the chimney! Series of photos showing man on a roof without scaffolding
  A man without any common sense!


Does health and safety equal poor workmanship?

It does make you wonder what sort of quality work they are carrying out if they are working on a Sunday without scaffolding.


Who would have thought painting windows could be this dangerous


The second example takes us to London, where a red brick building was having some general maintenance carried out and we found painters and carpenters hanging off the windows; both of them quite happy to stand on the window ledge, three storeys up and paint the windows, with far greater reliance in the strength of a window sill than we have! It doesn't bear thinking about what would happen if they slipped, not being on the first floor or the second floor but being on the third floor. Dangerous practices

The red brick building is a three storey pub



Risking a fall at high level


Risky work for a painter

A man painting the sliding sash windows at third storey height

Colleague joining him on the left hand window, sanding them down


Even the smallest of jobs may need a risk assessment

We hope our examples show that even the smallest of jobs can be made dangerous and that if you were a person in charge of the maintenance, even if the work doesn't require a health and safety plan under the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) you may require a risk assessment under the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974, or indeed you may require a risk assessment for your own piece of mind and to ensure the safety of the people that you employ.


What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is fairly simple. There isn't a standard format, as far as we are aware. We spoke to a registered MaPS surveyor who advised that they require a statement of what you are doing and thoughtful appraisal of this with the protection of safety measures that you are putting in place.

An example of this would be with chimney repairs, where it could have been that the property would have been scaffolded to gain proper access (incidentally, we would also recommend a lead flashing rather than a cement flashing, as in the long term a cement flashing will become brittle, crack and allow water in).

With regard to the windows, if this is the only work that is being carried out on the property then it may be that you use a cherry picker or similar lifting device, or possibly even a tower scaffolding with stabilisers at that height, although the phone in the photo may be a step too high, and we certainly wouldn't have been keen working off of it.
Tower scaffolding
Small scissor lift close up Large scissor lift Scissor lifts being transported

Small closed up scissor lift


Large scissor lift
Scissor lifts being transported
Cherry picker

Cherry picker: I f you can afford to use one of these to pick cherries you have too much money!


Cherry pickers
red cherry picker
Scissor lift and cherry picker

Also available in red

Scissor lift and cherry picker together


Cherry picker and scissor lift
Yellow cherry picker

Close up view of cherry picker

Cherry picker in yellow; probably the most popular use for cherry pickers

Thank you to Nationwide Platforms, contact number 0845 745 0000, for allowing us to take the photos and for the chat explaining what they do.


Independent safety advice

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to safety we have MaPS registered project safety officers who can give advice and guidance. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back. This advice can be for commercial or residential projects.

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The contents of the web site are for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.

All rights are reserved the contents of the web site is not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of

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