Q: As building owners, are the directors obliged by law to make sure that the Health & Safety Policy and Risk Assessments of contractors are adequate and adhered to and that the insurance policy is comprehensive and includes Public liability insurance? Or is it the responsibility of the contractor to make sure the law is adhered to?
Our managing agents are strongly against us using the cheaper contractor because they say the paperwork is inadequate. I agree with the managing agents. However, if it is put to a vote I am sure that a majority of directors will vote for the cheaper quotation even though the paperwork may be inadequate.
I am very concerned that by being part of the management company I will be held responsible for any accidents even though I didn’t vote for using the cheaper contractor. Is there anything I can do to protect myself from being prosecuted in the event of serious accident that isn’t covered or am I linked by association.
FPRA Chairman Bob Smytherman replies:
With regards to the first question, the answer is a simple yes. It will be for the directors to reassure themselves that any contractor is suitably qualified to carry out any works within the law and comply with various regulations. If you feel more information is required I suggest this is something you should demand as a director to satisfy yourself before voting to award the contract. I would hope the directors would not vote for an option based on cost alone.
As far as protecting yourself from personal liability, I would advise your RMC have a Directors & Officers policy to protect you all from personal liability.
Our FPRA Directors – and indeed in my block – insist of having a D & O policy and I certainly would not be director if this was not in place.
As far as the substance of the issue the roof replacement itself, if there is a difference of opinion you may want to get an independent surveyor to provide a specification for contractors to quote against. This will add to the overall cost, but is advisable for such major works receiving at least three quotes against a specification produced by an independent professional and given to the contractors in advance rather than asking the contractors to suggest the specification required.