MATERIALS PRODUCERS expressed fears this week that the Construction (Design and Management) 2007 regulations guidance discriminates against them by placing them on a danger list.
The Designers' Guidance - produced by the industry and vetted by 10 relevant professional organisations plus the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - lists products and practices 'that should not be specified or result from the design (without good reason).' Last on the list is the 'specication of blockwork walls with retarded mortar mixes which may give rise to temporary instability.' Both the Quarry Products Association (QPA) and the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF) are appealing to the HSE, concerned that their members will be adversely affected by the new guidance. Both argue that retarded mortar mixes will always cause temporary instability - the retarder lengthens curing time - but they say this should not be deemed unsafe as the instability is understood and taken into account during construction.
A spokesman at QPA said, 'We are united in our concern at the misleading nature of the statement within the Designers' Guidance.
'Neither the QPA nor the BPCF were consulted before the appearance of the clause. As we have a close working relationship with the Health and Safety Executive, we will be discussing the matter further in the coming days.' Although the guidance is not legally binding, Raymond Joyce founding principal of Joyce Legal warned that, with the institutions' and the HSE stamp, it will be used as a yardstick by which duty holders will be measured and could even be used in prosecutions.
Guidance author John Carpenter said the list is 'not meant to be discriminatory; it is meant to be a helpful list'.