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Client access to site

August 19, 2019

Controlling site access is a must for all building projects. A construction site can be a very dangerous place and as the builder you may be responsible for any incidents that occur onsite. You are  responsible for the safety of everyone who comes onto the site. This includes your contractors, your employees, your client and even strangers. 

Aside from safety reasons, having other people on site may interfere with your ability to carry out the works and may affect works that you have already carried out. You do not want to be responsible for defective work or damage caused by other contractors.

Whilst your client, the homeowner, may want to come onsite to see the progress of works, it is vital that this access be controlled and subject to scheduled, supervised visits. 

HIA contracts provide that the owner may only have access to the building works at reasonable times and after giving reasonable prior notice. If the owner exercises this right you should verify who intends to access the site and the purpose of the visit.

It is also important that when the owner does come to site that they do not issue directions and instructions to your subcontractors. All communication about the project should be with you, the builder, to avoid any changes to the works that are not properly authorised via the variation process.  

Where the owner ignores the terms of the contract that relate to site access, this may be regarded as a breach of contract and action can be taken such as the issue of a breach notice.

The Regulator, recognising the critical issues surrounding site access, has prepared some important safety information specifically for the home owner. You can download the publication Home owner safety when your home is a building site and give it to your client before you start the works.

For more information contact your Workplace Adviser on 1300 650 620.