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Avoiding the pitfalls of contractor management

Article date: 23 December 2005

A property developer’s legalresponsibilities for the health and safety of contractors whilstworking on-site are often misunderstood. In fact, poor managementof tradesmen can result in civil claims for compensation, and insome cases, criminal prosecution.

Finding reliable contractors and ensuring they complete the jobto a satisfactory level forms a vital part of the propertydeveloper’s role. However, if an accident occurs due to aproperty owner failing to ensure a contractor can work safely ontheir property, liability may lie with the property owner.

By following some basic principles and adopting a carefulapproach it need not be a cause for concern. Norwich Unionprovides some top tips on effective contractor management:

  • adopt a structured approach to the selection of contractorsincluding retention of an up-to-date list of approved firms
  • Define all aspects of the work before beginning the selectionprocess
  • When selecting a tradesman be sure to ask what experiencehave they had in the work required? What is their health andsafety performance, including the number of accidents etc? Whatrelevant qualifications and skills do they have? Do they have anindependent assessment of their competence? Are they a member ofa professional body?
  • Don’t just leave the contractor to get on with the job,establish early communication and liaise with them throughout thejob
  • Check contractors carry adequate employers’ and publicliability insurance
  • Request that contractors adopt formal procedures to ensurethat works are carried out to appropriate health and safetystandards
  • Keep a record of incidents occurring during the works andreview with the contractor to help improve performance
  • More hazardous jobs such as work at height, hot work andstructural work on buildings come with a higher risk. It is vitalthat in such cases the contractor’s work is thoroughlyunderstood and monitored throughout.

Fur further information and guidance for managing contractorsand the possible risks created through the work they carry outvisit http://www.norwichunion.com/RiskManager/AdvanceUsers/Contractors/cntContractors.htm

-ends-

For further information, please contact:
Clare Schofield at Staniforth on 0161 274 0100 or Sally Leeman atNorwich Union on 01603 684225/07800 699670

Notes to editors
About Norwich Union Insurance

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14 per cent
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    • One in five households
    • One in seven motor vehicles
    • Around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, announced itsacquisition of the RAC in 2005. The acquisition brings togetherthe RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise andleading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media.