- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 10 Aug 2018
Access to construction sites
Construction sites can be dangerous places, and only authorised personnel should be allowed access. Dangers to non-authorised personnel include:
- Falling materials or tools.
- Falling into trenches.
- Falling from height.
- Being struck by moving plant and vehicles.
- Standing on sharp objects.
- Coming into contact with electricity or hazardous materials.
- Dust, noise and vibration.
In addition, construction sites can be vulnerable to vandalism, theft, arson, protests, suidices and so on.
However, construction sites present a challenge in terms of securing access as:
- Their nature and layout is subject to frequent change.
- Access is required by a large number of contractors, suppliers, consultants and so on.
- They are often in highly-populated areas.
- It may be necessary to maintain user access to neighbouring sites, or parts of the site itself.
- There can be time pressures to complete the works quickly.
‘… where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, and in accordance with the level of risk posed, comply with either or both of the following; have its perimeter identified by suitable signs and be arranged so that its extent is readily identifiable; or be fenced off.'
In addition, The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires that employers take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of persons other than their employees, which implies a duty to ensure people are safe from activities on construction sites.
Perimeter hoarding or security fencing generally creates the primary boundary for controlling access. Hoarding is a temporary construction, of at least 2.4m that is more difficult to climb than fencing and prevents viewing of the site interior. However, can also prevent people from seeing unauthorised personnel if they manage to gain access to the site. For more information, see Hoarding.
In situations where the perimeter is considered to be particularly vulnerable, for example to vehicle ramming, additional barriers may be required, such as a trenches, high kerbs, steel posts, bollards and so on. In addition, a more sophisticated perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) may be installed, and / or 24-hour guards.
Turnstiles, security gates and guards can then be used to ensure that only authorised personnel can enter. This may include the use of electronic access control systems (ACS) such as:
- PIN codes.
- Magnetic identity cards.
- Proximity tokens.
- Biometric devices.
Other measures might include signage, sign-in and reception areas, storing materials and plant away from the perimeter, lighting, CCTV, motion detectors, monitored alarms, locks, removal of ladders, protection of scaffolding, public address systems, keeping the site clean and tidy, secure storage and so on.
Special measures may be necessary for works in the vicinity of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities. Children in particular may be drawn to construction sites, seeing them as places to play.
Management systems are then necessary to ensure that visits to site are scheduled, workers and visitors are given a proper site induction and appropriate site accreditation, staff are trained, proper records are kept and so on. It may also be possible to limit the amount of access that is required, for example by requiring that the workforce park off-site, adopting off-site prefabrication construction techniques, the use of a construction consolidation centre (CCC) and so on.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.
Lump sum contracts can be referred to as ‘fixed price’ contracts, although strictly this is not correct. Find out more here.
Ramboll offer guidance to civil engineers on how to make projects 'off-site ready'.
Government announces its Rough Sleeping Strategy, with further funding for social housing.
An overlooked architect who deserves to be celebrated for his wide range of buildings.
The Home Quality Mark ONE technical manuals for new homes are now available.
Read our introductory article to 'Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning' (HVAC) in buildings.
BIG's first of two twisting towers in Manhattan tops out.
Is data an untapped goldmine for productivity? How the infrastructure sector can capitalise on the opportunity.