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Conference speaker Q & A: Mark Snelling

27/08/2019 - 11:36AM

Mark Snelling is giving a presentation and delivering a workshop at this year's APS National Conference in Sheffield on Wednesday 4 September. The overall focus of this year's conference is  how effective the CDM 2015 Regulations are in view of the upcoming review in 2020.

In this Q & A Mark gives us his view on what's working and what could be better in CDM and health & safety. 

APS: Please tell us a bit about what you do and how long you've been doing it?

Mark Snelling: I am Managing Director of Safetymark Consultancy Services which I started in 1985. I am also Health, Safety and Fire Advisor to the Association of Residential Managing Agents [ARMA]. The role involves writing guidance for ARMA members and answering their questions as well as involvement in the Hackitt review and one of the Government’s Building a Safer Future Working Groups.   I also wrote the APS Design Risk Management Guide with Andrew Lesley.

APS: What part do the CDM regulations and/or health and safety play in your job?

Mark Snelling: I work primarily as a CDM adviser to Build UK contractors and other major clients. I undertake the role of principal designer when the client is willing to give me sufficient authority to carry out the role as the law requires and where I have the appropriate skills.  

APS: In construction/building management what do you think is working well? 

Mark Snelling: In recent years construction has become a far more collaborative process. Larger projects are designed and constructed by multidisciplinary teams with early contractor input. Health and safety compliance is routine for Build UK and other major contractors and is becoming better understood by the design community. Fatalities in the construction industry are at an all time low and the need for management of the possible risks to health in construction is starting to be fully understood.

APS: What do you consider to be the biggest challenges facing the construction/building management sector currently? 

Mark Snelling: Work undertaken by those responsible for the management of high rise multi occupied residential buildings since the Grenfell fire has highlighted serious failings in the construction of fire safety measures in such properties. These failing go far beyond ACM cladding. It is likely that similar failings will be present within other types of buildings. In their Building a Safer Future consultation, the Government are proposing significant changes to the way fire safety is managed in the design and management of multi-occupied residential buildings (and possibly other buildings). These changes will not only be difficult to implement but will certainly highlight many more failures. 

APS: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about you, your presentation, CDM or the sector in general.

Mark Snelling: Much has been written about design risk management within CDM. Although the phrase “significant risk” is only used in the guidance, many of the arguments about what is required still focus on this phrase. The risk of injury to those working on and living in what is designed and criminal prosecution are only two of the risks that a designer faces; however wider financial and reputational risks associated with over management of risk in the design are often used to justify a lower level of compliance. The phrase “reasonably practical” is extensively covered by case law: the standards set out by the courts of appeal in the test cases are far higher than generally understood. Many and varied methods of risk assessment and risk management are explained in various international standards; however many are rarely used within the construction design risk management process outside process and engineering projects. 

In short most of what needs to be said about design risk assessment and management has already been said.  The requirement now is for those involved to understand and implement the various tools that are at their disposal and to pay attention to the case law that already exists.

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Source: APS

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