The Importance of the Building Site Office and Welfare Facilities

Because a building site can be such a dangerous working environment, best practice in all matters regarding health and safety must be strictly adhered to at all times. The site office itself is the building site’s focal point. It acts as both the centre of operations and centre of administration for all work that is carried out on site. Because building sites themselves do not afford much opportunity to display the full range of informational and procedural documents and posters, copies will be either on display, or filed away on the site office, and so it is critically important that all of the necessary documentation is easily accessible for both full and part time staff at all times. The on-site safety induction process is there to ensure that everyone knows the location of this material.

The site office is usually located in a Portakabin as are the sites temporary rest rooms. As the communications centre for the whole site, it must, of necessity, house all of the communications equipment including walkie talkies, computers, scanners, photocopiers, faxes and phones. It is therefore prudent when considering where to position the site office, to make sure that it is not easily accessible by non construction personnel, and that it is clearly visible not only to make it easy to find, but to also act as a deterrent to any pilfering. Construction site crew should always expect clean, reliable portable restroom and recreation point and any other facilities specially supplied and fit for purpose. Welfare units should be sited to manage traffic effectively ensuring adequate segregation of pedestrians and vehicles – Safety first! It is reasonable to expect flushing toilets and running water, connected to mains water and drainage systems. Not only should there be an adequate number of toilets, but toilets and changing rooms must be adequately ventilated, lit and maintained in a clean condition. The contractor should also provide washing facilities in close proximity to both toilets and the changing areas.  All building sites should provide secure storage facilities such as lockers for staring personal clothing not worn on site and for protective clothing / PPE needed for a day’s work. Rest facilities in the UK will require adequate heating facilities. Electrical equipment is safer than gas heaters; however ventilation and storage is of critical importance when LPG heaters are used. Ref: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis59.pdf

As well as health and safety documentation, the site office may also house some confidential data such as information on personnel and salaries. These should be filed discretely and safely. Many construction companies have small safes in which to keep any sensitive material. Any easily removable items can be clearly marked as being company property to help to avoid theft.

In order to help to control the flow of pedestrian traffic in and out of the site office, access should be strictly limited to authorised individuals only. Well trained security staff usually man the entrance to the site office. Access is only granted to those who have the stipulated id cards. With health and safety uppermost in mind, there should be a clocking on system to record the comings and goings of all workers. It is always important to know who is on site in case of emergencies, or simply to ensure that the site is unmanned and secured at when work has ceased.



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