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Expert Witness : Building and Property

RICS expert accreditation service launched

For the first time, expert witnesses in built environment matters are going to be assessed and regulated by the sector’s leading professional body: RICS.

The institution has launched its new international Expert Witness Accreditation Service (EWAS) for the built environment sector. EWAS, which is open to all property professionals, is intended to raise quality and standards in a sector that has not previously been subject to professional regulation.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:23


Home improvements improve health and reduce crime, study shows

Picture of home improvement in Nottingham for Your Expert Witness storyNottingham City Homes, one of the member stakeholders of the Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow – has undertaken an impact study of its ‘Decent Homes’ retrofit scheme in partnership with experts at Nottingham Business School. The study quantifies the benefits of home improvements for security and safety, physical and mental health, sustainability, fuel poverty, and employment.

The renovations consisted of a mixture of installations, including Secured by Design double glazed windows, modern central heating and loft insulation, as well as bathroom and kitchen renovations and other measures to improve the safety of the homes (for instance by installing slip-resistant floors).

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:47


RICS experts call for infrastructure boost in Scotland

Photo of Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll for Your Expert Witness storyA report compiled by the RICS in Scotland has suggested that investment in the energy and transport infrastructure sectors would make the greatest economic impact in Scotland in the short, medium and long terms.

The report, which has been sent to the Scottish Government, says that finance streams must be unlocked and planning and procurement barriers alleviated. That would support job creation and increase confidence and investment in the construction sector.

In a statement, RICS Scotland said it is “…fully aware of the pivotal role that infrastructure can play in supporting economic recovery.  It is imperative that any investment in infrastructure is directed through the right channels to projects which can make the greatest economic impact and RICS Scotland believes that these opportunities for growth are in the energy and transport sectors.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:37


Hard hats the subject of updated regulation

Picture of a H and S poster showing hard hat for Your Expert WitnessMeasures relating to the use of head protection on construction sites are among a raft of changes to health and safety legislation which came into force on 6 April, subject to Parliamentary Approval. The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals, Revocations and Amendments) Regulations 2013 repeal one Act and revoke 12 instruments, plus a related provision in the Factories Act 1961. The measures are being removed because they have either been overtaken by more up-to-date regulations, are redundant or do not deliver the intended benefits.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE): "These changes do not compromise essential health and safety protections. The aim is to make the legislative framework simpler and clearer. This work is part of wider reforms to help employers understand quickly and easily what they need to do to manage workplace risks."

Action being taken to raise awareness of the changes will involve site safety experts from HSE working with the construction industry – in particular small contractors – to ensure that it understands the continuing need for employers to provide hard hats and ensure they are worn on construction sites.

"Hard hats remain vital in protecting construction workers from head injuries," says the HSE in its announcement regarding the changes. "Employers will need to comply with the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992, which have been amended so that they cover the provision and use of head protection on construction sites, thus maintaining the level of legal protection when the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations are revoked."

Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 17:02

Blacklisting case heads for the High Court

Picture of a demonstration by the Blacklist Support Group for Your Expert Witness storyA case brought against construction giant Carillion in the so-called ‘blacklisting’ affair will be subject to a full two-day hearing in front of a High Court judge, it has been decided.

The decision was made by Mr Justice Singh at an Employment Appeal Tribunal hearing in London, in the case brought by electrician Dave Smith. The judge noted that the case could have a legal importance “going well beyond this case or even blacklisting”.

John Hendy QC, acting for Mr Smith, argued that the original tribunal decision to dismiss Mr Smith’s appeal for unfair dismissal – in essence that Carillion was not liable because he was employed by an agency – is in violation of the Human Rights Act and Articles 8 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that these pieces of legislation should apply to all ‘workers’ and not just direct employees.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 17:21