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Future Systems' Selfridges under attack over lack of natural lighting

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Future Systems' new landmark Selfridges building in Birmingham has come under fire this week from a leading health and safety campaigner with the Construction Industry Council (CIC).

Former RIBA councillor Tim Gough has claimed that the long-awaited structure is breaking the government's Working Conditions Regulations for access to natural light.

And a source in Birmingham City Council's health and safety department has confirmed that as soon as the shop opens for business with a fulltime staff, it will be taking a 'long, hard look at the building's conditions'.

The Working Conditions Regulations (1992) insist that employees should have access to windows and natural light 'wherever possible'.

However Gough, a member of the CIC's CDM Committee, said: 'As far as I can see, no effort has been made to ensure this building keeps within these very important rules. This is a big problem, ' he said. 'It seems to me that it is breaking the law, but so are a lot of buildings. Architects, and the wider construction industry, do not seem to care.

'I don't see why they can't make Selfridges pull it down and start again, ' he added. 'It is about time architects started taking these regulations seriously.'

Health and Safety Executive head of construction, Mike Cosman, said he was sympathetic to Gough's complaints.

'There are some valid principles at stake, ' he said.

'Architects should think about these regulations when designing a building like Selfridges, rather than just the building and fire regs.'

Future Systems was unavailable for comment.

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