Last week’s Gate Safe Summit at the RIBA was an eye opener.
I knew about the dangers of automatic gates, especially to young children, not least because I’d seen the news items and heard about the campaign from my client, Richard Jackson. But even with what I know about architects and their ways of working, I was disappointed by their representation at the event.
In a packed room of over 80 people, there were only two architects/specifiers, in spite of the event being held at the RIBA, the headquarters for architects in London.
The woefully low representation of specifiers of automatic gates wasn’t the most shocking thing about the event however, this was reserved for later on in the conference during the Q&A session. The audience, mostly made up of people who install and maintain automatic gates, began to bubble, and several people stood up to express their concern.
In spite of all the good work that has been done to draw the attention of the supply chain to the dangers of automated gates, in spite of the efforts to explain and simplify the regulations so they can be understood, the main sticking point for several in the audience was on the ground when the decisions were being made.
One gentleman told how he had lost two contracts last year because he recommended HSE compliant gate automation and the client wouldn’t pay for it, and his architect supported the clients decision. He lamented the fact that there were not enough specifiers in the room, because they might be able to convince clients of their responsibilities.
We’re all aware of the CDM regulations and how they put a proportion of responsibility for safety in construction on designers, contractors and clients, but that the buck stops with the client. We also know that if another child dies after an automated gate incident and the architect did not advise the client of their responsibilities, then they would bear part of the blame.
I wonder therefore, why some architects may not be giving their clients the best advice. So I have invited the gentleman who spoke up, and his colleagues at the event, and fellow manufacturers, fitters and maintenance people, to share their experiences here.
My intention is not to provoke defensiveness in my readers, rather to move the debate forward. Perhaps discussing it online we can begin to identify why so many unsafe automated gates are being installed, and what we can do to put a stop to it. Please share your views below.