The client

The client, that is the person who commissions the building or civil engineering work, has an overall responsibility for the work environment in the construction phase and future use. The client's extended responsibility for health and safety is unique for construction work, and there is no equivalent responsibility for clients in other sectors.

The client's responsibility

The client, that is to say the party who arranges for building or civil engineering work to be carried out, has the fundamental responsibility of seeing that everyone thinks about the work environment during the different construction stages. In practice, this means that the client appoints a building work environment coordinator for planning and design (Bas-P) and one for execution, Bas-U. The client must see to it that Bas-P and Bas-U are knowledgeable and have experience of the current work.

Together with the building work environment coordinators, the client has responsibility for work environment questions being taken into consideration during the entire construction project.

The client is responsible for, among other things:

  • making sure that important factors for health and safety are monitored during the planning and design stage, in order to create a good work environment in the construction phase and in the usage stage in the completed building

  • sending in a prior notification to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (applies to construction sites of a certain size)

  • that a work environment plan is drawn up before the construction site is established, if such a plan is required

  • appointing building work environment coordinators, Bas-P and Bas-U

  • following up work environment tasks that Bas-P and Bas-U should do throughout all the stages of the construction (backup responsibility).

If the client does not make sure that there is a work environment plan when the construction site is established, the client can have to pay a sanction fee.

Sanction fees

It is important that the client is clear in their tender and procurement contracts about the demands and regulations that apply for work environment and safety.

The client's work environment responsibility also encompasses work environment in the completed building, the usage stage. This responsibility primarily covers spaces necessary for the maintenance of the completed building, for example ventilation rooms, and access to the roof. The client must make sure that there is documentation about the different parts of the building, which has significance for future servicing and maintenance of the building from a work environment perspective. This means, for example, that there should be descriptions and technical drawings about the construction of the building and the material used during the building’s construction.

In practice, many clients are present and influence the planning of several other future workplaces in the building. The client's knowledge about different work environment regulations is therefore very important if they should design and rent premises to others. Read more in the Work Environment Act 3 chapter 6 §.

The Work Environment Act, opens in a new window

The client's delegee

The client can, under certain circumstances, hand over all of their work environment responsibility. The person who takes over the responsibility is called the client's delegee.

The client's delegee is a ’substitute’ for a client. This means that the client's delegee must carry out all of the client's work environment tasks according to a written contract.

For the client to be able to appoint a client's delegee, the client must give the contractor the prerequisites that the task demands, in the form of independence, authority, and resources.

According to the Work Environment Act, a client's delegee can never be appointed in a shared contract or in a contract where the client's delegee is not given the possibility to independently influence the prerequisites for the work environment. In some turnkey and general contractings, a client's delegee can be appointed if the task is sufficiently independent and without involvement from the client in questions that affect the work environment and safety.

The client's delegee should, in general, carry out the tasks which the client would normally do. Read more in the Work Environment Act 3 chapter 7 c §.

The Work Environment Act, opens in a new window

Private persons as clients

When private persons commission construction work and have a contract with only one independent contractor, such as turnkey or general contracting, special regulations apply according to the Consumer Services Act. This means that the client's work environment responsibility is automatically taken over by the contractor that the consumer (private person) has a contract with. No written contract is required, just that the contractor can be considered independent.

The scope of the construction work can be anything from small work such as painting or renovating a bathroom, to building an entire house. On the other hand, if the contract is divided the work environment responsibility always remains with the private person.

Last updated 2023-07-17