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Enforcement action taken against 'Commercial Clients' under the Construction Regulations

23 March 2018


Recently, it has been necessary for the Health and Safety Inspectorate to take formal enforcement action, in the form of Improvement Notices, against Clients who have failed to meet their legal duties under Regulation 7 of the Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016 (‘Construction Regulations’). 

The following information and advice is designed to raise awareness and provide clarity on the role of the Client.

Role of the Commercial Client

The Construction Regulations makes a distinction between Commercial Clients and Domestic Clients. Client duties apply in full to Commercial Clients (for Domestic Clients the duties normally pass to other duty holders). 

A Commercial Client is any individual or organisation that commissions or carries out a construction project as part of a business. When considering the extent of the Client’s duties, and what would be considered ‘reasonable’ to achieve, this will be proportionate to the size of the project and risks involved in the work. Small, straightforward projects will not require the same depth of preparation or time allocation as large, complex projects or where specialist skills are needed to tackle specific hazards.

Commercial Clients have a crucial influence over how projects are run, including the management of health and safety risks. Whatever the project size, the Client has contractual control, appoints designers and contractors, and determines the money, time and other resources for the project.  Although the Client is not required to take an active role in managing the work, they must satisfy themselves that suitable arrangements are in place to ensure the project is properly managed.

Domestic Clients

The following link provides clarification and guidance on the role of the 'Domestic Client'.

What is the Client required to do

For all construction projects, the client must take reasonable steps to:

  • ensure that all people appointed to work on the project are competent
  • ensure there are suitable arrangements in place for the management of health, safety and welfare during the project
  • ensure a realistic timeframe and budget is allocated for each stage of the project, from design concept to completion
  • provide relevant pre-construction information to all designers and contractors engaged on the project

Minor construction projects

When more than one contractor is involved with the work, in addition to the above duties, the client must appoint, in writing, a Principal Contractor and ensure a construction phase plan, prepared by the Principal Contractor, is in place before construction work starts.

Major construction projects

Where the construction work will last more than 30 working days or involve more than 500 person days, the client has to, in addition to all of the above:

  • appoint, in writing, a health and safety project coordinator as early as possible in the design process, and if practicable, at the concept stage
  • provide relevant information to the health and safety project coordinator for the health and safety file
  • ensure the health and safety file is kept available for anybody who needs it – usually the lifetime of the building

Legal Requirements

Regulation 7 of the Construction Regulations sets out the legal duties of the Client. Further guidance is provided in the Guidance on the Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016'.

 Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016

Commercial Client Course

A half day course has been arranged by the Jersey Safety Council, which is supported by the Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate.

The course will assist commercial clients, including property managers, insurers and all those who have influence on the manner in which any construction project is procured and managed, to understand the duties placed on them by the Construction Regulations.

This includes maintenance and refurbishment projects.

Half day course for commercial clients: your duties under the construction regulations

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