Monday, July 30, 2012

Construction Sites in Austria and the United States

My first post about Vienna is rather pedestrian, but it constantly struck me how construction sites in the city were barely separated from the public, particularly compared to sites in the United States.  So here's my first set of comparative photos.

2012-07-26 08.34.08

This is a construction site on a heavily travelled path right outside the Schottenring U-Bahn and tram station near the center of Vienna.  I walked past this site on my way to class nearly every day.  Please note how you have to walk or bike in a five or so foot wide path between the curb and a piece of heavy equipment that was being operated at the time (and kept swinging into that path).  I could have taken dozens of photos showing a complete lack of separation between pretty heavy construction work (open pits, jackhammers making concrete fly, hot asphalt being applied to the sidewalk) and the public. 

(Continued after the jump)

In contrast, here's a photo I took this morning of some construction work on campus at Wake Forest:


Hardly any work going on, but there is a six foot fence around entire site, signs warning people to stay away, caution tape, orange cones, etc.  Pretty standard.

Conventional wisdom holds that European regulation is more onerous than American regulation, yet construction site safety would seem to be a glaring exception.  Any thoughts on explaining the difference? 

Tanya Marsh

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I'd say that regulation in the US always seems much heavier and more intrusive than regulation in the UK.

I'm always shocked by the extent of the permits my in-laws tell me they need to get to make the internal changes they keep considering making to their own house (not a historic building by any means). They never make the changes of course - the chilling effect of regulation.

I'd like to know where the idea in the US comes from that the US is a low-regulation society.

Posted by: Marcin | Jul 31, 2012 6:09:48 AM

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