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Why Supervision is Important at Construction Sites

There has been enough evidence to show that most of the constructions done in Nigeria are done without proper supervision at construction sites.

It has also been observed that government concentrates in issuing the documents and collecting the required fees or the reward as the case may be instead of monitoring procedures.

Most developers fail to know that at construction sites, large and small, supervision has a key role to play in preventing accidents.

People who want to minimise cost of construction see supervision as mere bloating of expenses chart to look like thorough planning.

This is one of the major reasons building collapse will continue to ravage the metropolitan landscape of the country.

When construction sites are supervised properly, little mistakes that could develop into bumps and vacuum in the construction would have been averted at the point they were noticed.

But when you leave the construction, be it housing, roads or what have you unsupervised, you are sure to get poor job because the quality of job will not be solid.

This brings us to the reasons, professionals should be used to handle professional projects. If a trained person is handling a project in the discipline he is trained, he will know what ethical standards to adopt and aware of the consequences should an unprecedented happens.

One, the profession which he belongs to will sanction him, he will loose credibility among his peers and eventually patronage will drop.

Typical supervisory functions include planning and allocating work, making decisions, monitoring performance and compliance, providing leadership and building teamwork, and ensuring workforce involvement.

Supervision is therefore heavily involved in the running of a typical construction project and in particular in ensuring that health and safety is effectively managed.

The skillful supervision of a building repair project requires vast knowledge just one would need supervision for a fresh developing projects.

At least, knowledge of building parts, systems of building practices and methods in different areas as well as of the usability of current building practices and methods are very important.

Furthermore, being aware of prices and cost levels and broad social skills are prerequisites for successful project management.

Construction site supervision services can be complemented with comprehensive quality control services. This guarantees that the materials used, all equipment and systems are of good quality, function well and conform to the standards.

These can include, electrical equipment or building structures. Supervisors can also act as safety coordinators for projects to make sure the site is a safe working place for everyone.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in America has identified supervision as a Performance Influencing Factor (PIF), when attempting to prevent accidents. It has also been a factor in a number of major high profile accidents in the past, such as the Piper Alpha oil rig fire in 1998 and the explosion and fires at the Milford Haven oil refinery in 1994.

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The lack of proper provision of supervision also regularly features as an important contributory factor in less well-known accidents, including many of those occurring on construction sites.

It is not, however, always viewed as a critical factor for site safety and its provision is not always given the due consideration and weight it deserves.

Sometimes supervisors, for whatever reason, do not fulfill their role effectively and that leads to capital omissions that results to deadly mistakes.

Taking the American angle, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2(2)(c), places a duty on employers to provide such information, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of his employees.

Supervisors themselves have a legal duty under Section 7 of the Act to take reasonable care of themselves and others.

Failure to supervise properly and effectively can lead to the prosecution of supervisors. For example, in 2008, as reported by the HSE, David Swindell Junior, a contracts manager employed by 3D Scaffolding Ltd, was found guilty of breaching section 7 of the HSW Act following the death of an apprentice scaffolder that he was supervising.

Steven Burke, who was seventeen years old, fell 18 metres to his death. There are additional legal requirements relating to supervision, as contained in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).

Regulation 4 requires clients to make suitable arrangements for managing projects. While supervision is not specifically mentioned, supervision is an established and standard feature of the management of health and safety.

In regulation 12, CDM 2015 requires principal contractors to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase of the project and co-ordinate matters relating to health and safety.

Again, this must include consideration of the role of supervision.

Despite the legal requirements to provide supervision, there is no definition in the HSW Act or supporting regulations as to what comprises supervision.

What is supervision? How is it delivered? How much is required? All of these questions are left to employers and managers to decide.

Whatever definition is taken or used, the importance of supervision remains a critical consideration and plays a key role in ensuring that the management arrangements put in place by the client and the contents of the construction phase plan developed by the principal contractor are achieved and maintained.

Aside taking supervision seriously, one should also consider insuring both the site and the labourers because in the case of capital mistake that results in death, the insurance can assuage for the losses.

While you are taking notes of supervision and monitoring, you now see where there is the need to bring about insurance.

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Assuming fire happens at the building and there are tenants, there are liabilities involved, then how the occupants will come out of such liabilities is what insurance takes care of.

People at times think that may be the rate of the premium they are going to pay is going to be on the high side and so they abscond.

But that is not the answer because the law spells out the rules as per the rate you are going to apply and this is the premium you are going to pay in respect of this building.

But the issue is that such laws must be enforced. Enforcement in the sense that if you have a public building and it is not insured and you want to bid for business, let it be part of the conditions they have to meet for government to allow them bid for that business.

If it comes into operation, you will find out that all owners of public buildings and high rise buildings will have no choice but to insurance them.

The punishments meted to owners of building collapse are not enough except the style in use in Anambra State where the government threaten to confiscate the building and the sites of any collapsed building in the state.

If you look at developed countries, you can hardly take your car on the road without insurance. You know that if you do it and the police get you, you face a jail term and apart from that, when you come out, you can’t drive on the road again.

So that is what we call enforcement. When those things are in operation, people will have no choice but to key in.

The level and nature of supervision required in the construction sites should be determined as an outcome of the client’s management arrangements for the project and from the risk assessments carried out by contractors and others.

It is not sufficient to stipulate that supervision will be provided without specifying the detail of that provision.

The client’s arrangements for managing the project and the risk assessments for the project should stipulate the level and nature of the supervision required.

Questions such as who will supervise, how supervision will take place, how much is required and when, need to be considered.

Some workers and some activities will require more supervision than others. For example, young inexperienced workers may need very close and maybe constant supervision.

Migrant workers with poor English language skills or understanding of site safety standards, may need additional supervision. High-risk activities will need to be closely monitored by supervisors.


Source: TheSun

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