Health & Safety
We too are part of the natural environment, so it is a fair bet that what is bad for nature is also bad for us. Therefore consider carefully what chemicals and other manufactured materials you use, for your health as well as environment protection.
Buildings are filters of the external environment, they exclude excesses of temperature, moisture, noise, wind, and pollution. Comfort is also gained by contact with the better things in life: eg sunlight and fresh air, so do not lose them.
Before you snuggle into your new home however, your builders (and maybe you yourself) have literally risked life and limb to construct it. The building industry has the highest accident rate of all and is one of the most difficult to regulate.
Legislation has been formulated to raise awareness of building risks and to ensure that as much safety provision as possible is made from the design stage onward: the "Construction (Design & Management) Regulations", CDM for short. This does not apply to very small works but should be checked out if there will be more than a few people on site or you are building more than a domestic extension. If it applies the site must be registered with the Health & Safety Executive via a structured process of forms and statements by designers and contractors. There are also other standards such as the "Considerate Contractors " scheme and of course all the requirements set out to meet insurance conditions and employment law.
An architect can advise, but a good contractor will have all this within their normal management systems. Be careful if you are self-building though: the hard toe-caps, yellow hats and jackets, and all the safety paraphernalia attached to any and every tool, written on every packet and up on every sign has very good reasons. If you have a builder on site be aware they are responsible for site safety so you should give them control of the work area so they can ensure this, then ask permission before you enter.
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