We get a lot of questions about accreditations on a daily basis. So, we thought we'd break down some of the most common ones and, hopefully, help you with your decision about whether or not to apply for CHAS accreditation.
Before you apply for the accreditation, we're sure you'd like to know what it actually is. CHAS (The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) is a pre-approval scheme, which allows contractors to demonstrate to potential clients that they meet the required health and safety standards.
We get asked on a weekly basis, by contractors and clients, about CHAS. As a safety company, we make sure that we give them the information they need to help make that decision. We do find that many contractors still doubt whether they should take the next step and become accredited.
A lot of people we speak to are currently subcontractors, who are looking to start tendering for work themselves. They know about the jobs, but have never been responsible for their own documents and health and safety before, so are unsure as to why they should apply. Ultimately, with CHAS behind them, they can start tendering for their own work, rather than being someone's subcontractor.
Another reason that companies apply to become CHAS accredited is getting work with Local Authorities, hospitals, universities, schools and larger construction companies. It is usually required by these types of clients, as it proves to them that the contractor is professional and safety conscious. By completing the CHAS accreditation, many companies are then considered an approved contractor, so will continue to work on these kinds of sites and securing themselves more work for the future.
CHAS can help you if, and when, you decide to apply for other accreditations such as ConstructionLine or SMAS. It makes applying for these accreditations easier, as much of the health and safety sections can be ticked off, because you're CHAS accredited.
CHAS assesses all areas of your health and safety and these are some of the key factors:
You will also need to provide evidence of recent risk assessments, method statements and COSHH assessments.
There's no beating around the bush, it is going to cost you some money to become CHAS accredited, but the rewards far outweigh the original costs. If you're CHAS accredited and an approved contractor, you're more likely to be winning more work, which means more money in your pocket.
In terms of time, it's going to take as long as you want it to. If you've got a lot of documents to create and produce, then it's going to take longer than if you've already got a management system in place. So, it's up to you.
There are a number of benefits to becoming CHAS accredited, as it is a nationally recognised accreditation scheme. One great reason is it can help with completing PreQualification Questionnaires - it helps to reduce the time and effort, giving you more time to focus on other things.
It straight away shows to clients that you demonstrate a certain level of compliance with health and safety law in terms of competence.
Being CHAS accredited can help to provide you with opportunities to secure new and larger contracts; registered organisations can access your business details from CHAS, meaning you can directly tender for those jobs. Similarly, having the CHAS accreditation can help you be considered for jobs that you weren't before - giving you even more chance to expand your business and earn yourself some more money.
Applying for CHAS makes you think about your health and safety. It allows you to focus on, and improve, different aspects before you come to submit the application.
CHAS is also beneficial if you're considering going for ConstructionLine, as it can assist with the health and safety section of that application.
Not everyone will pass the assessment on the first try. There can be many different reasons; however, we find that companies can struggle with proving their industry related training. CHAS can favour certificates that prove you'd undergone training, rather than years of experience with nothing to prove it. So, even if you've been in the game for 10 years, if you've not got any proof of training, you're not likely to get past the assessors.
People we've spoken to and help have also failed because they sent off an application, but were deemed to be non-compliant with health and safety law. Also, if your evidence isn't clear, it's likely that the assessor is at least going to query it with you.
By James Murphy
I don't have Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word, what should I do?
If you don't have Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Word installed on your PC or Mac, don't worry - you can still use our products. You can get a free alternative from Open Office.
Open Office Org is open-source developed alternative to Microsoft Office, developed by a large software company called Oracle. Open Source means the company who build the software, allow 100% use of it, 100% free.
Since Open Office is specifically developed to be exactly the same as Microsoft Office, with all the same programs in the suite (Eg: Word, Excel, Access and Power Point) - it will freely open any Microsoft Office file-format. Meaning, just because a document was written in Microsoft Word, doesn't mean it can't be opened in another program. Open Office will do that, and vise versa.
To download and install Open Office;