According to the Health and Safety Executive UK, a small builder is a contractor, subcontractor, or self-employed worker who generally focuses on the following types of construction work:
- Domestic projects that involve repairs, refurbishments and extensions on local buildings. Small builders are typically responsible for health and safety standards on these job sites.
- Small commercial projects involving short-term repair and refurbishment work for business clients. Site health and safety responsibilities are shared between the builder and the commercial client.
It is important for small builders to make sure that construction work is done in a way that limits the risk of harm. This is because they are the ones at the most risk of illness or injury on a build site and suffer the highest number of fatal accidents each year. (Most fatalities result from falling at height.) Because they have hands-on experience in doing the actual work, small builders are in the best position to ensure that the work is completed in a manner that protects the health and safety of everyone involved.
A small builder’s duties start as soon as the client engages them to do the construction work. The client should hire the builder early on so that the builder has enough time to plan the necessary work and identify any health and safety risks. All planning details must be recorded as a construction phase plan, with the amount of planning being proportionate to the project’s complexity and risks.