Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Education and the law : construction pitfalls and how to avoid them


Construction projects can be exciting, even exhilarating, as schools watch months or even years of fundraising and planning come together. However, occasionally projects can go wrong, and the fallout can be very stressful, messy and expensive, especially in schools, where that can have a significant adverse impact on staff and students. For schools undertaking renovation works or redevelopments, forward planning and expert advice are essential. Advice from expert consultants who work regularly on construction projects can help to identify and minimise the risks inherent in a project, manage it, and avoid potential time-related, cost-related and quality-related problems down the track. Occupational health and safety legislation imposes additional obligations on the management of construction projects. Given the likelihood that students will be in the vicinity of the construction works, it is essential that health and safety guidelines are adhered to strictly. Ideally, most of the precautions that must be put in place will never need to be used. Because of the significant loss and damage which can occur if something does go wrong, however, it is important that worst-case scenarios are properly addressed. Failing to do so may cause significant loss to the school. [Author abstract, ed]

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