Requirements, Regulations and Red Tape
Health and safety regulations, landlord requirements, permissions, permits and consents can all give clients a real headache: Every project encounters this type of red tape, and some are positively dripping in it! Luckily, here at GS Contracts we are not only skilled craftsmen and expert project managers, but also dab hands at cutting through the paperwork which often encumbers projects in the beginning stages, and sometimes hampers progress on site too.
Before We Begin
Over the years we have developed checklists and amassed know-how that allows us to keep one step ahead of the game when it comes to bureaucracy and compliance. Retail units, for example, are usually provided as a shell and core (e.g. breeze block walls, unscreeded floor and capped off services). This has the advantage of allowing the retailer to be fully responsible for the unit fit out (e.g. floor and wall surfaces, lighting, and on occasion, the frontage to the unit) but also means there is a whole shopping list of things that need to be checked before fit-out can even start.
Have You Thought About…?
Not to worry – we can guide any client through the minefield of requirements: Does the property have a basement? Then there will probably be weight restrictions to work around. Was the unit built before 2000? Then chances are you’ll need an asbestos report. Is there a sprinkler system? If not, is one required? Planning external seating? There’ll be permissions required for that. In a built-up area? There may be specific noise restrictions to take into account. What about delivery access and storing materials? Almost ready to open to the public – have you had a fire risk assessment done and do you have a COVID plan in place?
Tricky Locations & Landlords
For certain properties there is even more to think about – listed buildings immediately spring to mind, with their myriad of restrictions and covenants. But sometimes it’s the location or landlord which adds a layer of complexity: For example, we recently worked on the fit-out of The Athenian in London Bridge station: Our project manager attended a dedicated course with Network Rail which enabled him to run special inductions for sub-contractors, including information about measures intended to combat terrorism. On this project hourly checks were performed by station staff, doors had to be kept open at all times to prevent suspicious packages or bags being stashed away in a locked space and fire alarm systems had to be deactivated and reactivated every day to prevent an accidental evacuation of the entire station!
In addition, there were rules in place to prevent drilling into brickwork – special resin fittings had to be used and an external company brought in to run pull tests to ensure the intended loads would be safe to hang – and the originally proposed sliding doors were deemed unacceptable and had to be changed. With the advent of COVID, Network Rail were also conducting spot checks to ensure no more than the allowed number of operatives were on site at any one time and all staff had their temperatures taken every morning and evening.
Any work had to go through a 4-stage process for approval, including design, mechanical and ventilation, health and safety and construction drawings. At all these stages we liaised closely with the clients’ project manager and everything was uploaded to a portal for approval by Network Rail.
We’ve Got Your Back
We understand that jumping through red tape hoops can feel overwhelming, especially for inexperienced clients or those taking on a new type of project, but with GS Contracts you can rest assured we’ll have everything covered. Let us save you from a migraine or two and give us a ring to see how our team can help.