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Health & Safety Regulations for Goodison Park

Comments (33)

Only a quick posting as promised a few weeks ago from the thread of several posts saying club staff had intimated that new H&S regulations would put paid to remaining at Goodison Park. I have received a reply to my query to the HSE and this is their response. I'll now seek a response from the next link in the chain.

Dear Mr Ramejkis

Thank you for your enquiry regarding football stadiums.

The HSE do not produce any specific information regarding building regulations for existing and new football stadiums.

Information on Building Regulations can be obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government:

Department for Communities and Local Government
Dover House
London SW1A 2AU
Tel: 0207 944 4400 (Switchboard)
Fax: 0207 944 6589

Also, information on building regulations can be accessed online at the following website:

Further information on building regulations can also be obtained from your local building control department at the local council. The telephone number for the Building Regulations Department of the Local Authority should be available from your local telephone directory. Alternatively, the details of all local authorities can be found via the A-Z of local authorities facility of the following website:

I hope this helps, but if you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact this address again or telephone HSE Infoline on 08453 450055.

Yours sincerely

Victoria Brady
HSE Infoline
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland     Posted 03/04/2008 at 17:02:03

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Greg Murphy
1   Posted 04/04/2008 at 08:54:21

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Nice one, Gavin:

Again this goes right to the heart of the whole debate which, rather sadly, has plumbed the depths this week with the threat of EFC legal action against KEIOC.

For a layman like me, having heard EFC’s assertions that Goodison Park may soon be failing HSE test requirements would read the above response and think "ah, more false information from the club, more deception, more spin."

However, as with all such things like this, I’m probably missing something crucial and perhaps if I was of such a mind to accuse the club of "lying" (I’m not, by the way, legal monitors - I’m just merely presenting a hypothesis) EFC officials could turn around and prove their point beyond a doubt.

And then I’d look silly.

But in the absence of such proof, you’d have to say that it looks like an open and shut case: EFC say we may fail HSE regs but the HSE say they don’t apply any.


As I said, I’m sure there’s far much more to it than that, which is why we deserve more information.

Rather than trotting out casual unchallenged lines on MOTD (complete with theatrical "eek-slap-our-wrists-we’re-already-naughtily-sailing-close-to-the-wind-but-it-can’t-go-on-forever-Cherie-Blairesque-gob" grimaces) the club would better serve the debate by telling us precisely what HSE tests they believe Goodison Park may fail. They may also tell us which areas of the ground are in question. They may want to relate how long we’ve got until we fail these tests.

That’s all we’re asking for: full information, not rhetoric.

Give us the full information and then they may find that people don’t get angry and then resort to technical illegalities on the libel front which then give rise to unseemly threats of litigation.

It’s that easy.
Chirs Briddon
2   Posted 04/04/2008 at 10:10:16

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congratulations Greg, you’ve managed to illustrate the whole problem with KEIOC and the campaign.

You read a 3 line statement and then make up your own story as a result of i to have a go at EFC

The letter says there is no regulations SPECIFIC to football stadia. This doesn’t say there aren’t any regulations!
Health & Safety rules apply to lots of places not just football stadia, so why does the ruling have to be staadium specific.
Greg Murphy
3   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:05:50

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So what are the regulations, Chris?
Art Greeth
4   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:04:46

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Greg... read the letter carefully.

YOU have said that HSE do not APPLY HSE regulations to football stadia. The letter clearly states that august body do not PRODUCE "specific information regarding building regulations for existing and new football stadiums".

There is a world of difference in that single verb.
Gavin Ramejkis
5   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:15:26

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Guys, I have requested the building regulations using the same question and will post those, I hope somewhere along the response will be something relating to health and safety as that is what the original club response was and what I have asked both parties for. There must be H&S regulations and I want a definitive answer from the powers that be rather than hearsay to settle this particular argument.
Roy Warne
6   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:03:56

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I think you have asked the wrong question...building regs are for building works, the club are referring to health and safety issues in an existing building. Issues the club may be referring to may be governed by the FA Premier League rules or one of the sporting grounds/events acts.

When you consider how shabby some of the stadiums are in the lower divisions however I find it very hard to believe that there are any serious issues at Goodison... and without the club ever telling us what these health and safety issues are it is difficult to believe them.
Greg Murphy
7   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:14:53

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Lord almighty, I can read and I can comprehend.

If you look at my main post again you’ll see that it’s implicit in what I said that I understand that there are regulations (of course there are).

I was highlighted that some people, though, might wish to distort that HSE letter (how ironic seeing as though that’s what I’m being accused of) and immediately see it as another instance of EFC having fed us untruths.

That’s why I suggested that it would be a lot easier if EFC (the first party to bring HSE-based rhetoric into the debate) just told us what regulations we’re in danger of failing; where; and when.


Art, Chris, I know that you’re yes men. You both know I’m a no man. That doesn’t mean that every time you/me/we see postings from either party that we automatically have to take up our shields.
Gavin Ramejkis
8   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:21:08

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Roy no matter what the FA Regulations could possibly be they would have to rely on the official statutory bodies the HSE and Department for Communities and Local Government for building regulations. I am trying to get a definitive answer from the two on what they have to say on the matter. I have no desire to contact Everton direct as they are using club staff to propogate this line without being specific on what it is that would fail. Just as the club currently won’t enter open debate. I’m a no but this thread is not based on yes or no it’s surrounding the "supposed" HSE issue that is being fed by club staff. Greg well said about the shields I think too many of these threads drop quickly into trench warfare before debate.
Art Greeth
9   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:36:01

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Greg... I am neither a ’yes’ man or a ’no’ man. I am me - Art Greeth.

I do NOT automatically take up arms one way or the other re: the stadium debate. Indeed, Christine’s article is the first I have engaged in on the issue for many, many months, because - quite frankly for me - it had become a tired, exhausted issue with very little new being said, just a recyclying of old arguments.

Why so touchy and sensitive to my simple, legitimate (IMO) post calling attention to the world of difference in interpretation by substituting one word used with another?

No way was my post intended to be confrontational. That you interpret it as such is for you to deal with, not me.

Chill out, lad.
Chris Briddon
10   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:38:45

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Greg - If that?s what you intended by your remarks then I apologise fo rmy mis-comprehension, but as I read your article I got the impression you were implying something different.

The problem is there are too many people who would jump on a response like that Gavin received and claim Everton were lying and there are no regulations.
I am no expert in H & S and so have no idea what regs there are, but I am sure there are some and am reasonably confident they don?t just apply to football stadia.
Greg Murphy
11   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:49:06

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Cheers, Chris, agree with you about the regs.

Art - so you weren?t being at all condescending in either your first or last lines, then? Riiiight.

And you tell me to chill out, after you resort to three instances of using capitals (ain?t that "web shouting"?) to convey your emphases (others would just rely on context).

I?m quite chilled, lid.
James Asquith
12   Posted 04/04/2008 at 11:11:53

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Clearly, Greg Murphy took the statement from the HSE and read a little too much into it - a mistake obviously, but hardly a hanging offence.

After that initial mistake, he did make some very valid points which, with your forbearance, I’ll repeat:

1. At various time, various spokesmen for the club (Kieth Wyness in particular) have referred to probable future difficulties with Goodison Park receiving a safety certificate. They have also stated that to carry out remedial work/redevelopment of the stadium to prevent this eventuality would be prohibitively expensive and/or uneconomical.

2. At no point (as far as I am aware) has any person connected with the club released any information on what current/future regulations Goodison Park may be in breach of.

3. At no point (as far as I am aware) has any person connected with the club released any information on which stands/areas of the ground would breach the mythical regulations.

4. At no point (as far as I am aware) has any person connected with the club released any information on the cost of carrying out remedial work/redevelopment of the areas of the ground which allegedly fall foul of the alleged regulations.

5. Without providing any of the detail outlined in points 2-4, the club still use Health and Safety regulations as an argument in favour of leaving Goodison Park.

It may surprise you to hear that I’m not a structural engineer or Health & Safety expert, but if Kieth Wyness et al can pass judgement without reference to expert analysis, I think I can too.

Having sat in most areas of the ground myself at various times, I can’t see any aspect of the Park End, Gwladys Street or Main stands which cause me personally any concern whatsoever. I can well believe that some aspects of the Lower Bullens are skating on thin ice as far as circulation, and emergency evacuation, of large numbers of people (i.e. full or near-full capacity) are concerned.

I agree with Greg that the club should feel obliged to share whatever information they have regarding these Health & Safety concerns so we can judge for ourselves. I mean they must have it right? Otherwise how could they justify their outrageous claims?

And if it does support the case for moving, you’d think they’d be only too glad to publicise it. That’s what makes so many people suspicious about these claims.

On a wider note, who is to blame if there is a genuine H&S issue? Remember that Bill Kenright has been on the board since Peter Johnson took control. Remember also that a board of directors are ’jointly and severally’ responsible for all actions and inactions - "I didn’t know" / "I wasn’t told" / "I only had a minority share" is no excuse, company law is explicit.

I have no idea what the current cost of remedying this situation (assuming there is one) would be, but I do know that since the rebuilding of the Park End (which incidentally was done with money from the Football Trust - the club itself have invested next to nothing in the stadium since the new Main stand was completed in the early 70s) i.e. even since before the Goodison4Everton group were formed, knowledgeable Evertonians have advocated that the Bullens Road stand be the next to be replaced.

Of course, with any capital investment you risk not making back more than you invested. This is true of player transfers as much as it is of ground improvements. It’s even true of ’the deal of the century’ Kirkby project. But the fact is, there is no other club comparable to Everton who have invested so little in their infrastructure over the last 35 years.
Tom Hughes
13   Posted 04/04/2008 at 12:03:03

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First of all it was the new green guide that was supposedly threatening GP, now it’s just plain old health and Safety. It would be easy to tie down such causes of concern if they exist...... phone up the relevant body!

Simon Inglis was the editor of the existing guide, he is also privy to the content of the impending revision. He says there is nothing to condemn GP, since it doesn’t directly apply to existing structures in anycase. It is a complete red herring. Local authorities will act on any justified safety concerns or even divergence from the guide at their discretion. These structures whilst not without faults are tried and tested to capacities substantially greater than the current ones, and have been subject to longstanding and extensive scrutiny.
Art Greeth
14   Posted 04/04/2008 at 12:38:12

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Oh Greg, for goodness sake!

No - I wasn’t being condescending in either my first or last lines. I was rejecting a label given to me by you in the first instance, making a mild (valid, IMO) point in the latter.

No - I wasn’t ’shouting’ by using capitals. I was, to use your own words, trying to "convey emphasis", as in normal speech patterns when people give stronger emphasis to particular words in a sentence to call attention to them.

For somebody so chilled you take umbrage very quickly where no personal insult is intended AT ALL! Oh shit! Fucking caps key...

Lee Spargo
15   Posted 04/04/2008 at 12:48:52

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I’m sorry, but to those who have said something along the lines of ’i’ve sat all round the ground and cant see what the problem is’ - are you for real? Do you have X-ray vision? can you see the supporting structure underneath all of the wood and the bricks? GP is over 100 years old. The only relatively new stand is the park end. It’s no suprise to me to hear the club say that it stuggles to pass it’s safety certificate. In fact, it’s common sense really isn’t it?
Greg Murphy
16   Posted 04/04/2008 at 13:07:30

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Art - don’t get a MacBook Air, then.

Shockin keyboards from what I hear!
Tom Hughes
17   Posted 04/04/2008 at 13:04:22

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I have seen surveys for old stands (they are not over 100 years old by the way, nor do they have wooden structural members, they are steel and concrete structures with wooden treads and risers, which can all be replaced as they have been elsewhere). The club has not said it struggles to pass it’s safety certificate. As part of the campaign to promote Kirkby it has planted the speculative seed that it might in the future struggle due to new legislation. Initially this was by virtue of the Green guide which is about to be revised. This is inaccurate, since this document only applies to the design of new structures and is in anycase guidance only. If genuine structural problems are brewing for these old stands, repair need not be prohibitive, especially in comparsion to paying for a whole new stand/ground.
Jim Hourigan
18   Posted 04/04/2008 at 13:00:08

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Whilst I cannot speak in terms of GP, I can in terms of a multi million pound building being constructed on my site. H&S and Building regulations are constantly changing. My architects constantly harp on about new requirments to do this or that, however 1 theme remains constant - how much more draconian and restrictive the regulations are becoming. Some of the rules just seem plain daft but sadly, as is often pointed out to me by the archtiect, it doesn’t matter what I think it gets done or the building won’t be built - end of story.

There are no specific regulations that relate to my building- there are global building regs and H&S regs that apply to all buildings whether they are football stadiums or not. My own understanding of the myriad of regulations now being enforced, makes it highly improbable that GP will meet future H&S requirements or that a modern stadium could be built on the existing site without a complete demoltion and rebuild.
Art Greeth
19   Posted 04/04/2008 at 13:58:55

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LOL! Nice one Greg! THAT’s better... Let’s have an effing larf, lad.

We can argue the toss over different issues in this virtual bar... doesn’t mean we are smashing a broken glass in someone’s face!
Tom Hughes
20   Posted 04/04/2008 at 14:22:05

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"My own understanding of the myriad of regulations now being enforced, makes it highly improbable that GP will meet future H&S requirements or that a modern stadium could be built on the existing site without a complete demoltion and rebuild"

You may be right but, if that was completely applied to the letter there will be a great number of stadia, arenas and theatres that will need replacement, even including several post-Taylor-report stands that are no longer fully compliant (and never were if truth is told). Even the Green Guide which relates directly to safety at Stadia is only a guideline, not legislation. Most contraventions are usually resolveable within the structure of the existing facility. That has always been the case to date, and I haven’t seen anything that suggests otherwise for our old stands. I’ll stand to be corrected though!
Chris Briddon
21   Posted 04/04/2008 at 15:09:47

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Surely, even if regs only apply to new structures. The only way to stay at Goodison is theoretically to re-develop it (I don?t beleive this is realistic but that?s another arguement). As such any new stand would be a new structure anyway!

One thing is certain - I don?t think anybody belives we can stay at Goodison in its present design / state for too much longer.
Jim Hourigan
22   Posted 04/04/2008 at 16:16:19

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Your right that guidelines are just that. However, what I’m referring to is legislation, and interpretation of that legislation. Sadly whenever so called ’experts’ interpret things they often do it from their own perspective and in my case with an eye to increasing costs. Certainly in terms of H&S regs it is clear that we are having to do things that were not required previously eg minimum space regs, access requirements, impact of building issues, ecological requirements, disability regs etc etc. With our build, on what is not a restrictive site, the contractor arrangements alone have all sorts of H&S regs relating to barriers, access routes, public accessibility, waste removal etc etc. Added to that I’m being constantly told that they have to build for the future and what they think the direction of future legislation might, and I stress might, look like .

We initially looked at a massive extension to our existing buildings but the regulations for that were even more restrictive and costly, hence we went for a new build. What was flagged up when we investigated this as an alternative, was the need to not only build the ’new bits’ but also to bring the ’old bits’ up to date with new requirements. The moment we started work on the old building it would become subject to new legislation and the money left for the new build would be compromised. Strangely even though we were told that parts of our existing building did not meet present building requirements, now that we our building new, we don’t have to do anything to the old building. Whilst I do not profess to be a building expert, I just think that my experiences to date make me firmly believe that nothing short of demolition and rebuild has even the slightest chance of working. Whether even that option is viable is also seriously doubtful.
Steve Ashton
23   Posted 04/04/2008 at 16:28:36

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I think that you will find that Health & Safety and Fire Certificates for public venues are linked to the number of people that the facility can accomodate in saftey and that can be evacuated from the facility within a given amount of time.

That being the case surely the scenario would be that various executives will reduce GP’s capacity eventually to a level where it becomes uneconomic to operate. Unless of course remedial work is carried out in the mean time.

Question is how many of your granny’s joints do you replace before you start to threaten her general health.
Tom Hughes
24   Posted 04/04/2008 at 16:41:57

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Chris says,
"The only way to stay at Goodison is theoretically to re-develop it (I don?t beleive this is realistic but that?s another arguement). As such any new stand would be a new structure anyway!"

The main point there being that GP doesn’t need 4 new stands straight away, any new build does. In fact just one new stand could probably satisfy our immediate needs in terms of additional capacity and/or quality high-value views..... eg. a stand alone new tier behind and above the existing Bullens could be an additional 5,000 seats, or say 2,000 new seats and boxes, or a completely new Parkend 12,-16,000 seats, or simply extending the existing Parkend, perhaps a combination of developments on both these sides filling their shared corner. There is no reason why full regulatory compliance only achievable at Kirkby, or is prohibitive at GP.

Jay Harris
25   Posted 04/04/2008 at 16:32:23

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Good post Gavin
As a number of contributors have already stated GP is not about to fall down or be closed down.

If the new Tescodrome at Kirkby is going to cost between 80 and 150 million if and when planning permission is gained then surely there?s enough in the kitty to ensure that the minimal amount required to ensure our remortgaged GP remains open and complies with all regulations.
Now taking that a stage further with that compliance cost we could add a little bit more say £15 to 20 million and build a new Bullens road stand incorporating a number of executive boxes which would surely pay for itself in a shorter time frame than the "World class" Stadium in Tesco?s car park.
In fact why stop there. For a little bit more we could buy the school and make a "World class" job of Bullens road, increasing capacity, significantly?incorporating the much needed executive boxes and removing all obstructed views.

And believe it or not,unlike the Tescodome,WE WOULD OWN IT AND THE LAND IT STANDS ON.

Now that,to me,sounds more like the "Deal of the Century"!!!!

Art, meant as a compliment,you need to be in politics or BK?s PR Agent.
Tom Hughes
26   Posted 04/04/2008 at 16:57:58

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"Question is how many of your granny?s joints do you replace before you start to threaten her general health"

I suppose that depends on how much you value your granny, and if the new joints are really required. Perhaps a quality facelift might give her a new lease of life ;)

Most of the regulations you are talking about are well established and have evolved via safety at sports ground acts and the Green guide through several incarnations over the past 30 odd years and more. Unless you know something new or imminent there is little evidence to suggest GP’s capacity will be limited further anytime soon.
Steve Ashton
27   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:17:28

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I can assure you that I value my granny highly and have no intention of moving her to a flashy new home in Kirkby.

All I was saying is that the more likely scenario is that in the first instance the capacity would be limited rather than a once and for all ground closure.
Greg Murphy
28   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:18:11

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Aren’t grannies more The Fat Kid’s department?

*berates self for lowering tone on serious subject thread*
Jay Harris
29   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:25:57

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as long as your Grannie has blue blood her joints will be fine and so will she.

With modern technology rapidly advancing and new solutions to old problems I?m sure we could keep her going Ad Infinitum.

And I?m totally convinced that it would be a mistake to retire her to some plastic retirement home on a Tesco car park to wither away.

She deserves far better.
Tom Hughes
30   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:11:27

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I get your points about the ever increasing and often conflicting constraints with new legislation.......

"Strangely even though we were told that parts of our existing building did not meet present building requirements, now that we our building new, we don?t have to do anything to the old building."

There are a multitude of examples of extended/added-to stands in existing stadia. Some better than others. I believe it would be possible to build behind existing stands at GP.... even Leitch’s ones as has been achieved at Ibrox, except in our case it would be completely behind the existing structure and therefore far less costly. Of course there would be access and egress issues, but again I think it is possible to resolve them within the new structure with only a small land grab and a totally remodelled circulation strategy with extended concourse spaces. The rules will apply whatever we do, and wherever we do it. At least at GP there is continuity, and none of the other unknowns that Kirkby represents.
Tom Hughes
31   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:33:29

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I’m sure you do and that she’s a "grand old lady"
Eddie Grinley
32   Posted 04/04/2008 at 17:22:23

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I?ve heard that all the steel for the projected upper tier of the Park End is still in storage somewhere on The Wirral. Anybody know if this is true?

Second question; wasn?t there something about a property developer from the Preston area wanting to build us a stadium for very little outlay on our part on the Dock Road, they would somehow take a share of the profits and this was turned down? Would that have been any worse than the current Tesco plan? If not, what happened there?

Gavin Ramejkis
33   Posted 06/04/2008 at 09:00:45

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In response to a few:

Looking at your feet in GP will show you are standing on concrete not wooden stands

If the very old NT structures happily visited by thousands every week don’t fall into the same regulations then why and how do they not need knocking down and rebuilding?

As a regular visitor to Ibrox I know the Leitch stands are listed and had to be incorporated into the redeveloped stand or Rangers wouldn’t have gotten planning permission, structure of a similar age to GP, yet strangely not knocked down and rebuilt.

I’m waiting for a response to the building regulations question and will post that when I get it.

Hopefully then somebody somewhere can open an adult dialogue with the club about this whole sordid affair.

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