Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Builder rejects warnings on safety

Bam Building Ltd has dismissed the idea that health and safety is an issue at a major inner city regeneration project

A leading construction firm has dismissed out of hand the idea that health and safety is an issue at a major inner city regeneration project.

Bam Building Ltd said it rejects warnings by Dublin City Council to get off-site at St Michael's Estate, Inchicore, where it is building 65 new apartments, 10 homes, a creche and a community centre.

It is believed disputes have arisen at the site over delays in updating construction teams with design details and subsequent cost overruns.

The company claimed it had been assured by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) that random inspections since November 2010 found the site to be satisfactory.

"The project has been progressing on time and according to the highest international safety and quality standards. Health and safety is always of paramount importance for Bam," the company said. "There was no accident and no threat to the health and safety of workers upon which a termination could be based."

Dublin City Council, which is in control of the site and posted orders telling Bam to end work last week, said it has suspended its order to terminate the contract until this Friday. The move is designed to allow for talks on a resolution.

It is understood a conciliation process involving Bam and Dublin City Council was launched over delays in sourcing information on designs for apartments and homes. More detail had been sought on fire proofing homes. The council refused to specify what health and safety concerns it has.

The company says 160 people are employed at the site. There have been claims delays are increasing costs on the 11.9 million euro contract.

One incident has been reported to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) since the site opened in November 2010 when a balcony slab shifted after it was slotted into place on a new block of flats. The HSA subsequently issued advice on how the company could improve workmanship and health and safety.

Hundreds of residents of St Michael's have been waiting more than 15 years for new homes since the regeneration project was first mooted in the late 1990s. Bam said it is confident the project can still be completed by the October deadline if works are allowed to continue.

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