25th January 2018
Focus – Construction Industry 2

Identifying and managing the key risks in construction

Whether your client is involved in housing construction, general building works or larger infrastructure projects, they will have a range of insurance requirements that will be potentially complex, and any insurance solution must be bespoke to their needs. One size certainly doesn’t fit all.

The risks that construction firms face will be many and varied, and reflect the wide range of tasks performed, and will usually include their public liability, the health and safety of their workforce, the plant and machinery they employ, the stock they use, and often their professional ability to complete the project satisfactorily. We offer a range of insurance options, and the appropriate selection will always depend on the individual client’s circumstances and needs.

Sometimes, to start a meaningful discussion that can fully investigate both the type and the amount of cover that’s needed, it can be helpful to begin by categorising the nature of the risk under some simple but important headings, so here goes:

On-site risks

Risks abound here, not only for the employer and the employee, but also the public. Construction firms have a duty to operate a safe site, protect the health and safety of their workforce, reduce the risk of fire, and ensure that potentially-toxic substances are used in a safe and controlled way. Then there’s risks associated with excavations and the collapse of partially completed structures like scaffolding and walls, the dangers of working at heights, in hazardous locations, on unusual structures, or in confined spaces.

Environmental risks

These can range from site flooding to the safe disposal of waste, or the unexpected discovery of harmful substances such as asbestos. Dust is an ever-present concern, especially as it can contain a toxic mixture of hazardous materials, such as fibres that can cause long-term lung damage.

Legal risks

Construction projects are often complex legal frameworks that contain significant obligations and risks for all stakeholders. What would happen if the project was delayed, or failed in some way? Legal risks can arise from liabilities, claims and mitigations, health and safety issues, or project quality disputes to name just a few potential areas.

Financial risks

Financial risk is an unfortunate part of any construction project. Being able to successfully complete a project can often depend on one or more sub-contractors who could find themselves in financial difficulties. There can be unpredictable technical issues or human resources problems that can all increase the financial risks involved.

Project risks

Planning any construction project can be a delicate balancing act; if one stage of a project fails to complete in time, it can have a damaging knock-on effect on the whole programme.  In addition, there’s often a need for cover for owned or hired-in plant, non-negligent damage to adjoining or surrounding property as well as the potential risks of subsidence, heave, vibration or collapse.

How we help the construction sector manage risk effectively

Providing the right level of cover for builders, tradesmen and construction firms is at the heart of what we do. We provide a range of policies that can be used alone or in combination to address the risks that clients face.

The most-commonly taken up insurances in the construction industry are all risks, professional indemnity, public liability and employer’s liability, and we offer policies in all these areas on a single-project basis or as continuing cover. We also offer additional protection against specific risks such as hazardous location liability and contractor’s excess loss.

If you have any queries, or would like more information about our range of policies, or the innovative Construction Safety Risk Audit that we offer as part of our commitment to health and safety, then please do contact us on 0345 345 0777.