CEAS has issued its guidance on Health and Safety in Design to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
One point it notes is that the HSWA imposes a positive and potentially open-ended duty on designers to ensure the safety of persons ‘so far as is reasonably practicable.’ during the full lifecycle of the product, or structure being designed and that this differs from other regulations such as the Building Act 2004 which legislates minimum standards of performance.
This creates an interesting liability conundrum in that as a designer, injury or illness of building occupants from the effects of fire or smoke are a potential risk that needs to be mitigated. Applying the Building Code might not mitigate the risk sufficiently to discharge our responsibilities in the eyes of the court. If we are recommending more onerous requirements to discharge our obligations, at what point have we expended sufficient effort to discharge our obligations to a client that only wants to meet the minimum requirements of the Building Act?
If you firm is a member of CEAS then ask someone to download the guidance so you can read it. Other links are:
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
IPENZ PN1.219 Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Code of Practice Safe Design of Structures (Safe Work Australia)