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To comply with Construction Regulations, you have to do the right safety planning

by , 05 May 2015
A very important phase when it comes to the construction process is planning.

And it's at this very first stage that mistakes can be the reason you don't comply with Construction Regulations.

Keep in mind that your construction processes must comply with the Construction Regulations 2014 to be legal. While this can be overwhelming and the process itself, the regulations contains six phases (planning, feasibility, design development, tender documentation and procurement, construction management and documentation, and project close).

Keep in mind that you're the one in charge for advising the construction team of the legal implication of any of the phases mentioned above.

For the purpose of this article, we'll be discussing the planning phase.

Let's have a closer look at what laws you must comply with in the planning phase!

Note that by planning, you put on paper what initially is only an idea. This is why you have to determine which laws apply to the project and also determine who else will be involved in the project that will deal with these requirements.

Here's how you can comply:

• Get a copy of the listed activities or listing notices (National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107)). You can get this from the  Department of Environmental Affairs, or https://www.environment.gov.za/legislation/gazetted_notices:

Listing notice 1: Outlines the activities that need  a basic assessment report (BAR). These are activities that have the potential to negatively affect the environment.

Listing notice 2: Identifies the activities that need both scoping and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). These are usually large scale or highly polluting activities. You must establish all the potential impacts by doing a scoping exercise.

For example, if you build storage facilities, underground storage, or storage and handling of dangerous goods with a combined capacity of 500m3 or more, you'll need to do scoping and an EIR and not a BAR.

Listing notice 3: Contains activities that will only need environmental authorisation through a basic assessment process. If the activity is taking place in one of the areas indicated in that listing notice. These areas differ from province to province. For example, cell phone masts. If your project is listed, you must apply for authorisation from the competent authority. You can do this by applying for a construction permit.

Read on to see how else you must comply...

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Other areas to take into account

• See if the project will directly affect any known Heritage Resources. This includes buildings older than 60 years. You can contact your local branch of the SA Heritage Resources Agency for assistance and advice. If the project will impact a Heritage Resource, you may have to apply for a permit for your project (See http://www.sahra.org.za/about/builtenvironment).

• You may need to apply for a construction permit, 30 days before starting any construction work if:

– It will cost more than R13 million;
– It's graded at CIDB level 6;
– It will take longer than six months; or
– It will involve more than 1 800 person days of construction work (Construction Regulation 3).

• Identify all the activities you'll include in the construction project. You can use a simple checklist.

 • If your project involves any of the below, the Principal Contractor must notify the Department of Labour (DoL) of the construction work seven days before work commences:

– Excavation work;
– Include working at a height where there is risk of falling;

– Include the demolition of a structure; or
– Include the use of explosives to perform construction work (Construction Regulation 4).

• In the end, also check if you need to get approval of your building plans from the local authority (National building regulations).

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