health and safety policy for small builders

We have recently had an enquiry from a small builder in the west midlands who needed some help with winning some bigger contracts and not just private building work for small house extensions and refurbishment’s.

Health and safety policy for small builders

He was confident that his company could supply very high quality building and maintenance services as he has acquired various glowing reviews from happy clients over the many years he has been in business.

cowboy builders?

The main problem was this builder couldn’t get on the preferred suppliers list of some of the big main contractors even though he has over 40 years combined experience within his company. Now as he stated “if you are not on the preferred suppliers list then you can not submit a quote for any project they may be involved in.”

“Please note we understand that there are many rouge builders out there who prey on home owners and rip people off. Theses cowboy builders will not be able to get on main contractors lists for good reason!”

This creates a standard across the board and you may notice quite often is the case that if you’re a small builder you may get stuck completing small contracts and never be able to move up the ranks to the big jobs no matter how good you may be.

So what is the problem?

We soon discovered that this is normally due to meeting specific criteria with company policies (we are not just talking about health and safety policies here).

As many of you may know if you want to work for one of the big boys in the construction industry you firstly contact the company expressing interest and then wait for the dreaded pre contract questionnaire.


For those not in the know this is a quiet hefty document (varies in size depending on main contractor!) that has to be filled out by your company answering a multitude of questions.

Some examples are:

Does your company have a health and safety policy (please attach a copy).

Does your company have an environmental policy (please attach copy)

Does you company have an equal opportunities policy (please attach copy)

Does you company have an anti harassment policy (please attach copy)

Please state when above policies were updated and how often they are reviewed.

Who has total responsibility for health and safety within  your company (please state qualification)

Please include 5 past risk assessments and method statements from relevant work completed within the last six months.

Does your company conduct health and safety meeting and how often are they held?

Please include copies of minutes from the last three health and safety meetings.

And so on…..

The above is just a snippet of a pre contract questionnaire and as you can imagine some of these go on for twenty plus pages.

Please remember if you are lucky enough to get past this stage with flying colours you are only on the approved sub contract list to submit your prices. You are not guaranteed any work.

A small builder could pay thousands of pounds just to get on this list with no guarantee of any work.

The problem is the same questionnaire is sent indiscriminately to builders with five employees as to multinationals who can afford several thousand in consultancy fees.

So there is quite a big jump to go from small contractor up to playing with the big boys  thus you usually find the smaller builder tends to continue completing smaller jobs due to lack of funds to meet specified criteria.

Is there a happy ending?

Yes on this occasion our aforementioned builder got in touch with us through and expressed that he would not be beat! He wanted to better his company and progress higher up the ranks. So he sent us the complete details of what he needed to achieve and stated that his budget was just £600.00 asking if this was possible?

It was! We set him up with all the documentation, processes, strategies and advice he needed to not only secure a safer and more productive way to work but to admit him into the higher reaches he desired.

Needles to say we had a confirmation E-mail from him last week stating not only did he get on the requested proffered sub contractor list but he won the job that will earn him 4 times as much as any previous single contract.

If you find yourself in a similar position why not see if we can help