Health & Safety

Construction Regulations 2014 causes confusion

The Occupational Health & Safety Act 85 of 1993 was amended last year through the publication of the Construction Regulations 2014 (CR2014) by the Department of Labour.

There appears to be confusion in the construction industry as to:

  • Whether a Construction Manager must be registered with the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) to operate in the built environment wrt CR2014
  • What is an Agent?

It is a requirement in terms of the Project and Construction Management Professions Act No 48 of 2000, sections 18 and 19 that the Construction Manager and the Construction Project Manager be registered with the SACPCMP.

Act 48 of 2000 defines Construction Management and the Construction Manager as:

“Construction Management is the management of the physical construction process within the built environment and includes the co-ordination, administration, and management of resources.
The Construction Manager is the one point of responsibility in this regard.”

CR2014 defines the Construction Manager (CM) as:

“Construction Manager means a competent person responsible for the management of the physical construction processes and the coordination, administration and management of resources on a construction site.”

However, registration with SACPCMP is not stated as a specific requirement in terms of the CR2014 Section 8 (1): Management and supervision of construction work. It states “A principal contractor must in writing appoint one full-time competent person as the Construction Manager with the duty of managing all the construction work on a single site, including the duty of ensuring occupational health and safety compliance, and in the absence of the construction manager an alternate must be appointed by the principal contractor.” It should be understood to mean the “temporary absence” due to some special circumstance. Furthermore, the alternate must be competent and registered with SACPCMP. The SACPCMP and DOL are preparing Construction Guideline notes will be published at the SACPCMP conference to be held on 26 June 2015 to clarify these issues.

Confusion may arise in the interpretation of a registered person and a competent person. A person may be competent to do a job, but they still need to be registered with an appropriate statutory body. For example, a South African medical doctor may be competent and registered to operate in South Africa, but on emigrating he/she would, by law, need to register with the appropriate medical council in that country.

Mr Phumi Maphaha, Manager: Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Labour was approached by ProjectPro for clarity on these issues.

He stated that it should not be confusing if the following points are considered:

  • Regarding the mandates of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and CR2014, it must be understood that the mandate of CR2014 is the provision of H&S in the workplace through management of H&S in the Construction Sector. To expect the CR2014 to cover issues of Professional Registration of other professionals other than Health and Safety Professionals would be an extension of the mandate and scope of the CR2014 and the OHS Act. 
  • The mandate of the Project and Construction Management Professions Act, Act No 48 of 2000, and of the CR2014 are different. Confusion arises when persons or entities try to circumvent the law by using a legislation that is favourable to them because certain aspects are not addressed beyond the mandate of that legislation, e.g. CR2014 is silent on registration of the Construction Manager because he or she is not a H&S professional. The SACPCMP is the correct statutory body to handle the CM registration and conduct thereof.
  • If the role of an Agent is misunderstood the tendency is to apply the same requirements to the CM, it is therefore important to clarify the Agent.

An abstract from the Construction Guideline notes states:

“Agent - A competent person or entity appointed by the client and who has full authority and obligation to act on the client’s behalf in terms of the Construction Regulations”. The Agent can also be referred to as a:

  • Construction Project Manager
  • Principal Agent (JBCC)
  • Engineer (FIDIC)

This Agent should not to be confused with the Construction Health and Safety Agent (CHSA).

“Construction Health and Safety Agent – A competent person appointed by the client or agent to manage health and safety in a construction project and is registered with SACPCMP.”

Clause 5(7) of CR2014 states that the H&S Agent needs to be registered by a statutory body (SACPCMP). “An agent contemplated in sub-regulations (5) and (6) must :

  • Manage the health and safety on a construction project for the client; and
  • Be registered with a statutory body approved by the Chief Inspector as qualified to perform the required functions.”

For example an Agent can be a team of professionals shown in the organogram below. In order for an Agent to be deemed complying with the regulations he or she or legal entity must have an individual registered as a Construction Health and Safety Agent (CHSA). In other words companies that have been operating as Agents for various clients must now include in their team a professional in H&S.

It is also possible that an Agent can be an individual who represents the client (can be an accountant, or engineer) but  have no knowledge of H&S. In order to comply, he or she will acquire the services of a CHSA for a project he/she has with the client on condition that the said CHSA is registered. Hence the responsibility of an Agent is to manage H&S. How? - by acquiring the services of a registered CHSA (or even a team of registered H&S professionals). See Figure 1.

In conclusion we must understand:

  • That Construction Managers must first prove their competence through obtaining a relevant accredited qualification and experience in the built environment or through a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment and undertake the SACPCMP registration process (including a Professional Interview)
  • The distinction between an Agent and a CHSA.

Furthermore, do not get confused between a Construction Manager and a Construction Project Manager.  A Construction Project Manager also needs to be registered with SACPCMP. Act 48 of 2000 defines Construction Project Management as:

“Construction Project Management is the management of projects within the Built Environment from conception to completion, including management of related professional services.  The Construction Project Manager is the one point of responsibility in this regard.”

Comments are welcome to be sent to

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