When you’re using contractors at a property, whether a simple repair or a larger replacement, then there’s more to a simple verbal go-ahead at the right price. Getting this right beyond this makes good property management.
There’s a host of initial set-up information from insurance cover to risk assessments, but even after all this you often still need to provide an ‘induction’ for them actually be on site, particularly with more larger and multi-occupied properties.
This shows that they’re familiar with how they practically carry out their jobs at the property, for the benefit of everyone not just themselves.
Fire safety is often the driver of this, but there’s all other kinds of issues to consider as well and formally communicate to them. If anything ever then goes wrong, it demonstrates that the ultimate property interest or manager has done their part of not only first instructing a suitable contractor, but then ensuring that they’re also up-and-running nice and safe on site.
The way in which all this is then documented can vary, and it’s worth clarifying your own situation with a suitable risk assessor.
In short, it will boil down to a list of various pieces of information and property issues that need addressing with the contractor. And not only providing these, but then demonstrating that it has been communicated correctly.
Therefore, here is a list of 15 core aspects to consider, not necessarily exhaustive but certainly a good summary of the generic ones to consider. We have these summarised in a handy one-page summary you can immediately download here.
1. Fire Safety
This is often the driver for such an induction, with a separate Fire Safety procedure to go through.
The gist is that those visiting the property are immediately up to speed in knowing what to do if there was a fire incident, in addition to good housekeeping principles such as not blocking fire escape routes.
Of course contractors may need a whole host of special personal protective equipment, whether simple gloves and heavy-duty shoes, hard-hats and masks, or overalls and high-viz jackets.
Once you know what’s needed, then check who supplies them, more often than not the actual contractor, and then practically how they will be used and stored.
3. Work Areas
The actual job at hand is essential to know about, right down to a detailed spec and exact area of work.
Make sure any additional issues are also considered, for example storing materials somewhere else, and dealing with any additional risks and hazards.
The basics such as toilet provision and any facilities for refreshments and breaks is something that can be taken for granted but important to clarify.
They may need to be separate to those usually in the property, and maybe even arranged by the contractor, however even if they are shared with other building users then understanding the timings and any additional mess can also be important.
This applies to everyone really, not just property contractors wanting a cigarette break.
Be clear on where (and when) these are allowed, and details such as where cigarette-butt ends are left and what access arrangements are needed to go outside.
6. Vehicle Parking
Not only usual parking arrangements, but accommodating larger lorries and vans, and the need for deliveries and drop-off points.
Any necessary permits and access codes are therefore helpful, along with arrangements such as cordoning off areas for others not to use in the meantime.
7. First-Aid & Accidents
The contractor should have their own procedure right down to first-aid boxes and first-aiders, and an accident book to record and issues.
However make sure this links to any property-wide arrangements and recordings as well.
8. Asbestos Management Plan
An absolute must for a contractor to not only see the building’s asbestos survey and plan, but sign for and actually take note of.
Any works with potential to affect any asbestos areas must of course be carefully arranged, including any licenced asbestos-removal companies.
9. Tools & Equipment
A little like PPE above in that contractors will of course bring and use their own equipment, however there may be cases where these are shared and others utilised.
But make sure any arrangements for these to be safely stored and accessed are noted, and at who’s risk.
10. Work at Height
A separate but very essential procedure to be clear about, and that the contractor has this in hand regarding any higher-access works, including suitable equipment and people.
11. Cleaning & Rubbish
Again this should be the role of the contractor to arrange, although reality is often more complicated. Even with the best-behaved contractor in town, you may need to dovetail in a separate clean afterwards, along with additional issues such as removing excess rubbish from site being arranged
Any building security arrangements must be issued, including access codes and keys, how to deal with any alarms, and also what to do in an emergency and when any issues are detected.
Also any necessary documentation on site to deal with, for example signing the visitors log and completing any incident forms.
13. Formal Documentation
This is a whole area in itself, and should really be well organised and checked beforehand – whether correct insurance cover is in place, accreditation and qualifications, risk assessments and methods statements, plus any additional ones such as permits to work.
And also watch out for others being involved as well, for example sub-contractors, and the contractor checking any wider property folders and information.
This not only includes the basics of water, electricity, and gas – but others just as applicable such as heating facilities, and internet and aerial systems.
And as well as how to connect to and work around as needed, clarify other scenarios such as how to cut-off in an emergency, and dealing with, say, trailing cables across an area or using things like lifts at the property.
The Ideal Induction
Therefore as you face the task of ‘inducting’ a contractor at a property, first take a step back to see what you’re actually trying to achieve here.
Rather than just box-ticking for the sake of it, you need to demonstrate that you have first selected the most suitable contractor, and then secondly making sure they are up-and-running on site okay so they can carry out their task safely and satisfactorily.
This often boils down to common sense, and simply communicating what you would probably want to do anyway.
Therefore documenting any form of contractor’s induction should be just this. A handy list as a reminder of the issues to address, a tick-list of them then being addressed, and then all parties signing and dating with any supporting comments to confirm that all is well.
You can immediately download a summary of these 15 issues raised above as a handy starting point for this, but remember that all these need adapting for your own unique property and situation.
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