Today I visited my project to inspect some quality issues and snap the final photos for this month’s construction photos but the visit almost didn’t take place. When I got home from work last Friday there was a letter from Henley in my mailbox, which I thought was odd as the only other mail item I’ve received from Henley was my color catalogue, near the start of my journey. The letter was from Henley’s state OH&S manager and it appears Henley attempted to block my access to site.
As you can see from the letter Henley cited the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) and pointed to the dangers inherent on construction site as their reason for restricting my access to site. Yes, they say I can attend with a Henley representative present, but I can tell you the I have sent 2 emails to arrange such a meeting and have not received a response. That is typical of the treatment you get from Henley when you ask a difficult question – Just pretend you never got the email.
The photos below are taken of the temporary fencing Henley erected and maintain at my property. Blind Freddy can see that they unlocked, ajar gates will not keep curious local kids from entering the hazardous site, nor will the gaps in the fence. I can’t help but wonder if this is allowed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
While I’m not certain what prompted Henley to take this course of action, I can put it down to 2 likely possibilities. 1) Henley have seen some critical commentary on this website and want to block what I can view, or 2) Recent quality issues with my home were confirmed when I provided photographic evidence to Henley. The fact that I entered the block to obtain the evidence may have angered Henley, possibly prompting the letter.
Unfortunately for Henley, their letter prompted me to seek advice on gaining access to the property again and I stumbled on the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995. Under section 19 of the Act I do in fact have the right to access my site, whether Henley like it or not.
It should be noted that I still need to comply with the OH&S Act as outlined in the letter from Henley and I will do that. Luckily for me I have construction experience and also hold a Construction Industry Induction “White card” and have enough relevant industry experience to be deemed a competent person under the legislation Henley cited.
Some of you may be asking “but what about the contract you signed? The Consumer Affairs website sets it our quite plainly that the contract you signed is not above the law. In other words, you cannot sign away something which is a law.
Just so you know, Henley have been well aware that I have been accessing the site up until now, just as most customers likely do too. If your builder issues you with a letter like similar to mine, you may still be able to regain “reasonable access” to your site if you can address the OH&S issues. Contact me if you need a hand.