APL vice-chair slams H&S rules for Chelsea

Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) vice chairman Mark Gregory says Chelsea Flower Show will "become a hanging basket site" if Kensington and Chelsea council increase "stifling" health and safety rules and see it as a Construction Design and Management (CDM) site.

Speaking at the APL/Society of Garden Designers annual seminar day at Kew, Gregory added: “The RHS are fighting this - it’s not their fault.”

The Health and Safety Executive introduced CDM regulations in 2007. CDM 2007 places onerous legal duties on almost involved in construction work. You must notify HSE of the site if the construction work is expected to either:

•    last longer than 30 days; or
•    involve more than 500 person days of construction work.

Gregory added that the pressure on Chelsea designers to win a gold medal for sponsors was growing every year so much that: “I’m waiting for the first designer to be sued by a PLC or corporation because they don’t get a medal they hoped for.”

Gregory and SGD former chairman Andrew Wilson gave pros and cons of show exhibiting to the 150 delegates. They said clear drawings and explanations, simple/achievable/ambitious/up to date briefs, pre-built structures, simple designs, clear boundaries, starting at smaller shows, finishing planting 24 hours before judging and buying extra plants were secrets to success.

An RHS representative said:  “The RHS complies with CDM during the major construction period at Chelsea, for instance when the Great Pavilion and other structures are being built.  When major construction activity has been completed we follow requirements of the CDM regulations and other legislation as applicable.”

Designer-pros

1. publicity
2. design freedom
3. photo opportunities
4. networking
5. commissions
6. award recognition

Contractor-pros

1. money
2. skills development
3. publicity
4. networking
5. award recognition
5. attracting/retaining staff

Contractor/designer-cons

1.    rejection of plan by RHS
2.    other clients neglected
3.    overworked plans
4.    not sticking to brief
5.    health and safety
6.    pressure
7.    understanding the process


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