Last edited 06 Feb 2018

Visiting construction sites

This article is about site visits by neutral observers, it is not about site inspections carried out to review of the works. For more information about site inspections, see: Construction site inspection.


Site visits can provide outside parties, such as media representatives, neighbours, family members of the project team, students and so on, with a valuable insight into the work underway on a construction project. As construction sites are generally busy and dynamic places, a lot can be learnt from observing what is going on at any given time, and this can help make a local community feel more involved in changes to their area, it can help children understand more about the construction industry, it can improve press relations and so on.

Construction contractors and clients are often keen to promote their latest projects and so encourage visits to the site. The National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) is able to help with arranging a local site visit, but construction companies are generally open to being contacted directly to organise a visit. On large construction projects, there may be organised tours, with trained tour guides.

The general public can also attend various construction sites as part of Open Doors, an annual event that provides the chance to visit major ‘live’ sites across the UK.

he name of the construction company operating a particular site can typically be found on the hoarding that runs around the site perimeter. Alternatively, companies tend to list their ‘live’ projects on their website, along with contact details. If emailing a construction company to request a visit, it might be useful to include the following information:

  • Project name and address.
  • A reason for wanting to visit.
  • The size of the group and age range.
  • Anything in particular that would like to be seen/explained.
  • Possible dates and times.
  • Contact details.

Site visits must be carefully organised to ensure that visitors remain safe. This will involve equipping them appropriately, determining a safe route, ensuring they are controlled by appropriate personnel and having suitable first aid and welfare facilities as well as emergency procedures.

All visitors to a site will need to sign in to a visitors book, and must be equipped with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Health and Safety Executive guidance states:

The principal contractor must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised people accessing the site.

  • People may be authorised to access the whole site or be restricted to certain areas;
  • You must explain relevant site rules to authorised people and undertake any necessary site induction;
  • You may need to supervise or accompany some authorised visitors while they are on site or visiting specific areas.

Ref http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/publicprotection.htm

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