Are You Responsible? A Board Director’s Guide to Complying with Building Regulations

If you are the director or non-executive director of a company, do you gather your board at least once a year to discuss the risks surrounding your buildings and building systems?

Does your risk and compliance officer bring these items to your attention?

Should they?

The correct answer to all of these questions is “yes.” This is because every risk in the organisation is ultimately your board’s responsibility. You need to know the risks relating to all aspects of your buildings and associated systems, such as electrical, fire, and mechanical systems. This means knowing all of the regulations and standards you need to follow to be legally compliant.
Not sure if you are compliant? In this article, we will guide you through your responsibilities as a board director in the area of building regulation compliance. By following these recommendations, you can be confident that your systems are compliant and safe.

What are the duties of directors regarding buildings & building systems?

Health and safety at work are governed mainly by the Safety Health & Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007, and the duties of directors, managers, and other similar officers are set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. According to Section 80 of the 2005 Act, as director, manager, or similar officer, you have direct responsibility for safety and health in your organisation. In other words, if an offence under health and safety legislation is committed, and you authorised or consented to the act in question, or you allowed it to happen through your negligence, you could be as liable for punishment as if you committed the act yourself.

Even worse, if you do face proceedings because of a breach of health and safety regulations at your organisation, you have to prove you did your best to stop it happening. If you cannot prove that you did everything you could be reasonably expected to do to prevent the breach, you will be presumed to have authorised it.

That is a big responsibility. So how can you as a board director comply with your responsibilities to ensure the safety of your building and building systems?

How can I ensure I am compliant?

The legislation around health and safety in the workplace is detailed and can be daunting to interpret as a board director. What you need to know is that the physical environment your employees work in must be adequate. This means:

  • The workplace you provide should be spacious enough to accommodate your employees safely.
  • Work areas should meet minimum standards for stability, ventilation, fresh air, temperature, and lighting.
  • Pedestrians and vehicles must be able to move around safely.
  • Traffic routes, entrances, and exits must not be obstructed.
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, doors, gates, loading bays, and ramps must all meet safety standards.
  • You should provide proper toilet, washing, and welfare facilities.
  • If any of your employees work outdoors, they should be protected against bad weather, noise, slippery surfaces, and other difficult conditions. This means adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • You must make arrangements to allow pregnant and breastfeeding employees to lie down.
  • Where necessary, you must make provision for workers with disabilities.

Put Proper Systems in Place

As director of a board, you have many responsibilities—and buildings and building services is one you may not have considered before. The best way to ensure you are compliant is to create a system of testing, inspection, checking, and compliance (TICC) that is simple to follow and gives you peace of mind.
Elements to include in your system include:

  • Convening a discussion with the board at least once a year to discuss the risks surrounding your buildings and building systems.
  • Building a strong relationship with your risk and compliance officer, ensuring that they keep you informed of any issues before they escalate.
  • Reviewing your fire-fighting equipment to ensure it has been inspected regularly and those inspections recorded.
  • Ensuring all emergency exits are clear and properly signposted.
  • Maintaining emergency lighting.
  • Ensuring proper ventilation and fresh air.
  • Providing good welfare facilities and clean drinking water.

Keeping track of your responsibilities as a board director can be difficult without the proper systems in place. If you are looking for an effective way to manage and maintain your organisation’s buildings and building systems and ensure easy access to your supporting documentation, contact us at TICCbox today. We will talk you through our integrated compliance solution and help give you the peace of mind you need.