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Construction health and safety registration snags

SACPCMP construction health and safety registration of 3000 Officers could be fast-tracked in six months, unless the Competition Commission rules it as unfair.

Another snag in registration is that the blanket exemption amending the Construction Regulation Amendment (see the report on postponement on Sheqafrica.com), was circulated by DOL, Master Builders and other bodies, but could not be found among the notices in the Government Gazette.

UPDATE; Chief inspector Thobile Lamati circulated a stamped and signed version, dated 7 March, on 13 March.

Consulting body Nioccsa executive member Rudy Maritz commented; “The SACPCMP registration process will be bypassed or short-cut internally. Given the anticipated number of applications and the window of 6 months, it is unlikely to happen on time, thus preventing construction CS Officers and companies to comply. The regulation then becomes null and void.

A law can only be enforced if it can be achieved by a reasonable person. It is like asking for a driving license and nobody issues it. Not even a reasonable person can comply.

Construction Agents have been given 18 months to get registered, at this stage only with the SACPCMP. Designers and Engineers already have their own statutory councils under their umbrella body, the CBE. In essence what needs to happen within the 18 month period is for the Chief Inspector to approve the remainder of the CBE councils to enable their members to comply with the requirements of CR5(7), which comes into effect in August 2015.

Construction Managers / Officers; At this point in time, these individuals have 6 months to apply for registration, submit two reports and write a competency exam.

So if the SACPCMP does not want to make an ass of their construction industry partners they have to get 3000 registrations done and dusted within 6 months, 500 per month, 25 per day. The only way is to reject the majority or gyppo the system.

Or, even worse, accept IOSM and SAIOSH registration. Scary thought. If this should happen, the registration should be publicly questioned and exposed as a scam.

Regulatory gaps

Because the registration categories are not linked to the Construction regulations, clients will use the loophole to appoint Officers as [acting] agents. It is cheaper. And the [appointed] Agent will be the engineer. Just like it has been in the former regs.

No CHS Officer can accept an assignment as agent in the full scope of the law. Not even a registered agent can apply the full scope. There will always be an Agent in the form of a resident engineer and the designer.

Competition Commission Evaluation

The CBE submitted on behalf of 5 councils, excluding ECSA, an application for exemption from the requirements of Section 2 of Schedule 1 Part A relating to professional rules as a prohibited practice in terms of Chapter 2 of the said Act. Part of the process was a letter from the Compcom to the councils to circulate a questionnaire to their members as it does not accept the application and motivation from stakeholders sufficient to make a proper assessment.

It stated “We acknowledge that we have received submissions from your voluntary associations or stakeholders namely, supporting granting of the exemption. However, the Commission deems it appropriate that in order to give weight to you submission, we also have input from the individual members. Therefore, in furtherance of such evaluation, the Commission hereby requests this letter be sent to your members for them to directly communicate with us in writing and express their opinion whether they support or object to the Exemption Application being granted in respect of the rules relating to the Reservation of Work (IDOW’). Please request that they provide us with the requested information by close of business on 30 May 2013.”

Comments closed 3 months prior to the start of the SACPCMP registration process for CHS Agents, managers and officers.

The CBE did not in its application include the IDOW rules for health and safety practitioners within the three categories under the CHS scope of services.
In terms of this process, the SACPCMP as the only DOL approved council, did not circulate the letter to its “CHS members” as it did not have H&S members and cannot speak on behalf of the H&S profession.

It did post on its own member area a declaration to be completed by its existing members, being the Construction project managers and construction managers and about 100 H&S practitioners.

The bulk of the registrations in terms of H&S are still being processed. In effect it means that the Compcom may grant an exemption that will affect people who did not have the opportunity to participate in the process.

By implication any company wanting to appoint a CHS practitioner in any of the roles required in the new Construction Regulations from August 2014 can only comply if the CHS person is a Pr.CPM, Pr.CM or Pr.CMe.

As for the rest, the regulation is in direct contradiction with the Competitions Act. This is obviously also only if the Compcom grants the exemption before August 2014.

In essence the SACPCMP should lodge a new application for exemption for the IDOW rules for CHS practitioners. The currently application if granted will not include CHS, and the enforcing the rules will be against the law.

Clearly people do not realise the implications thereof, but in terms of the various Professions Actsp;
“A person, who is not registered in terms of this Act, may not—
(a) perform any kind of work identified for any category of registered persons;
(b) pretend to be, or in any manner hold or allow himself or herself to be held out as a person registered in terms of this Act;
(c) use the name of any registered person or any name or title referred to in section 18 or 21; or
(d) perform any act indicating, or calculated to lead persons to believe, that he or she is registered in terms of this Act.

Already a few people are guilty of an offense in terms of the (d) paragraph above just by virtue of the fact that they cannot get a job because every tender document already insist on proof of registration and employers and recruitment agencies making it a condition to shortlisting.

Government, local authorities and employers will have to change their requirements when it comes to CHS registration to avoid acting against the Competition Act.

The SACPCMP and all other subsequent councils when they are eventually approved by the Chief Inspector, should not be held to ransom by the DOL, its Construction stakeholders and other individuals to push a system into existence.

It should stand firm on its own code of ethics and refuse to enforce its own registration until the Compcom have granted the exemption, and tell the DOL to allow them the time to follow the proper process.

We are busy with proposed amendments to the 2014 regs to forward to DOL. This comes from a revision of the original report DASH SA wrote on the draft in October last year. We want them to address the competency issue, stopping of work for petty reasons, as well as the safety file syndrome.

We also want some definitions added, such as Qualification, to exclude units of learning. This is particularly an issue with the competency of risk assessors.”

Which agent?

Hannes  Kellerman commented; “The Agent has to perform the client’s duties, and if so mandated, also the designer’s duties relating to inspection and certification of structures. The SACPCMP will be on a suicide mission if they approve HS practitioners to perform the duties of an agent.

An HS practitioner registered as an Agent will be in a civil court within days unless he or she is competent to perform these functions. In my view, they are hardly competent in their own field, let alone structural and civil engineering or construction in general.

I think the DOL must specify what type of SACPCMP registration is required for which type of Agent.”

Peter Shields commented; “There is nothing in the regulations that prohibits a client to appoint an engineer as agent, provided he is registered as a Pr CPM, Pr CM or Pr C Mentor. The agent must manage the HS on site. HE does not have to be a safety practitioner.

Manage means, planning, leading, coordinating, controlling and resourcing. Then you can appoint any Dick or Tom and Jerry to be the safety guy, as long as you do not call him the Agent.

The regulations have more holes in it than a rice strainer, and getting past the loopholes only requires good understanding of English. Whoever believed this to better the industry, probably believes in the Easter bunny too.

As those who created the fiction start enforcing it, they will realise that the Construction Regulations 2018 is due for promulgation.”

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