Build Safe was first established in New York City and spread over many other parts of USA.  Internationally similar initiatives are currently running in Australia and have previously run in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 2007 until May 2010.

The development of BuildSafe South Africa is linked to that of Build Safe Dubai (BSD), which was launched when six like-minded construction stakeholders, led by Bovis Lend Lease, got together to champion worker safety and de-bunk some of the time and cost myths associated with safer working practices. This was fuelled by the high level of foreign labour in UAE and the fact that safety was seen, by some, as anti-competitive and a reduction in net profit. This mentality helped competitors to get together and agree “when it comes to safety, there is no intellectual property”.

The six also agreed on a strategy for starting a group that could champion construction safety and share best practice. The commitment, from the Heads of these organisations, coupled with a shared desire of making a difference was the real catalyst to turn an idea into action. Each organisation agreed to move ahead and openly share information for the benefit of the construction market in Dubai. What started out as BSD later became BuildSafe UAE (BSU).

It did not take long to gain support from other organisations that were only too keen to be part of that group. Apart from the original group of 6 contractors; BSU later had over 70 other construction stakeholders from developers, designers, suppliers and government bodies combined with the 7,200+ people registered on the email that were all interested in making a firm commitment to improve health, safety and welfare across the UAE and beyond.

In South Africa many stakeholders joined BuildSafe UAE to learn from the information that was being shared in that space.  Prompted by local Clients to do more for smaller contractors, the idea was transferred to South Africa.  With the extensive experience of Dave Bass from BuildSafe UAE, the participation and buy-in of local stakeholders and the enthusiasm for information that exists in the South African marketplace, BuildSafe South Africa came into being.

The inaugural meeting for BSA took place in August 2011 and was attended by representatives of 16 entities. They represented contractors, clients, institutes, insurance and service providers. During that meeting the ethos of BSA was agreed and a working committee set up to make it happen.

The Founding Members of BuildSafe South Africa, Sasol Technology, Aveng Grinaker-LTA, Fluor, Murray & Roberts, and Foster Wheeler contributed the start-up funding for the initiative, provided representatives from safety and health within the industry and formed the Board of Directors.

In the last few years BSA has experienced amazing growth and includes members from many different disciplines and demographics in the industry.  Our influence extends beyond our borders into Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

BSA remains committed to providing information to the industry and all of its stakeholders.