Many of us enjoy making a few property improvements to brighten up our homes and to create a more comfortable environment for us and our loved ones. But sometimes we go beyond a fresh lick of paint and decide make improvements that can make a seriously positive impact on the value of our property. Larger home improvement projects such as extensions, conservatories, adding a level above or below a property, a serious ‘man shed’, a granny annexe or even a pool are all incredibly exciting investments that can make your home more desirable to buyers.
However, the scale of these projects means that they take a lot more consideration when it comes to safety. In this guide, we take you through the various important areas which should be considered during these projects.
Picking those who will be working on your large scale home improvement project is a good starting place when it comes to safety. When selecting these workers it is important to ask them questions specifically about their experiences and qualifications.
For example, if you are working with a tradesman who will be undertaking electrical work, ensure that they have the right qualifications to do so. Similarly, ask all those you are working with whether they have an understanding of site safety and what to do if something goes wrong.
On large scale projects it is also worth checking that your tradesmen have public liability insurance to cover any issues should they occur.
Protective barriers are the best way to ensure site safety. For example, when a building is unsafe for those not working on the project to enter you can use temporary fencing to create a physical block to entry. This fencing also allows you to clearly display signs highlighting any potential danger.
In cases where you are creating an obstruction on a public highway (a skip for example), then it is recommended that you follow the guidelines highlighted in Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual.
Often on larger projects, there is a requirement for large and heavy materials to be delivered such as prefabricated reinforced steels or cement. The delivery of these materials do pose a potential risk to the public and anyone who is working on-site, therefore it is important to have a plan in place to deal with such deliveries.
Any large vehicles which may be a danger should already have high visibility markings to ensure they are clearly seen. In addition to these, you may want to ensure that you or another responsible individual is available to ensure that pavements are clear and it is safe for the vehicle to park or pull into the site.
When your project requires working at height it is likely that you will need to erect scaffolding in order to provide a safe and stable platform to work from.
In some cases, you need a special licence to put up scaffolding, so this will need to be checked ahead of time. Once erect it is important to protect those who may be below the scaffolding from the potential of falling objects (tools, rubble etc). One way to do this is to use a scaffolding net to create a protective barrier.
If you need to get rid of waste such as rubble, it is also worth installing a waste chute to your scaffolding to safely transport waste from height to ground level.
Large scale renovations are a great way to invest in your property and increase its value. By being aware of the safety requirements of these bigger projects you put yourself in the best position to ensure nothing goes wrong for you or others.