Bringing It Home! Construction Regulations 2013

Author:Mr Martin Cooney and Niav O'Higgins
Profession:Arthur Cox
 
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On 7 October 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Mobile Sites Directive (92/57/EC) applied to the owner of a private dwelling house carrying out works on her house. The case concerned a prosecution taken by an Italian health and safety authority, against the home owner, in respect of her failure to appoint the equivalent of a project supervisor for the design process.1 Italian law did not require her to do so at the time and the Italian court had referred the case to the European Court of Justice for guidance on whether the Italian legislation was in breach of the Mobile Sites Directive. The European Court of Justice ruled that the Mobile Sites Directive did not allow national legislation to provide a derogation for domestic clients.

The Mobile Sites Directive was first implemented in Ireland through the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 1995 and subsequently updated in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2001 and then the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006 and associated amendments. None of these regulations applied to domestic clients as the definition of a "client" meant a person for whom a project was carried out "in the course or furtherance of a trade, business or undertaking, or who undertook a project directly in the course or furtherance of such trade, business or undertaking". Obviously this was at odds with the European Court of Justice's decision and it was clear that the Mobile Sites Directive had not been correctly transposed into Irish law.

On 1 August 2013, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 (the "2013 Regulations") came into effect. The 2013 Regulations replace and revoke the 2006 Regulations (and all amending regulations) and their main objectives are (i) to fully transpose the requirements of the Mobile Sites Directive and (ii) to reduce the regulatory and administrative burdens while maintaining health and safety standards. Some of the main changes brought about by the 2013 Regulations are discussed below:

Definition of the 'Client'

The Regulations define a "client" more broadly as a "person for whom a project is carried out". This is in line with the terms of the Mobile Sites Directive and means that the 2013 Regulations apply to a person having construction work carried out on their own home. The client's key duties under the 2013 Regulations include:

Appointing competent persons...

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