Safer Sphere has been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor by Bouygues UK on the refurbishment of a manufacturing facility in Somerset. The refurbishment works will consist of civil, structural and M&E installations.
The CDM 2015 regulations provide guidance for architects and others involved in the design role of buildings.
In addition to those who directly prepare and modify construction project designs such as architects, other professionals affected by CDM 2015 laws may also arrange for or instruct others in how to do so. These could include:
- Consulting engineers
- Quantity surveyors
- Any professional who carries out design work, such as contractors and tradespeople (e.g., an electrician who designs the specification and layout of an electrical installation)
- Commercial clients who actively participate in the design of their project
UK architects who are reviewing the Construction Design and Management (CDM) 2015 regulations will notice the ‘reasonable practicability’ theme underlying them, which have been designed to try and make the laws practical to work with.
This approach can make it easy to forget that these duties are also subject to criminal law. It is therefore important for architects and others offering building design advice to be fully aware of their obligations under CDM 2015.
Duty to Avoid Harm
Designers such as architects play an important role in helping to ensure that the construction process avoids harm. This is because their influence begins during the early planning and design stages of a new construction project. Their decisions can affect the welfare of the following:
- Workers and contractors who perform the construction work
- Those who use, repair, clean, refurbish, and demolish a work site or building
Design decisions such as selecting building components or materials can control, reduce, and even avoid the risks inherent in building a structure and both using and maintaining it after it is built. These designer duties apply on all projects, including (but not limited to):
- Large construction projects
- Minor building workers
- Domestic projects
- Smaller projects involving repairs and refurbishment
Designer duties come into effect as soon as the design professional is appointed and designs intended for construction work begin. While the greater percentage of design work takes place during a project’s pre-construction phase, it sometimes extends into the actual construction process.
Knowledge, Skills, and Experience Needed by Designers
To ensure safety during a project, a designer must be able to demonstrate that they possess the following:
- Skills, knowledge, and experience (SKE) in the area of health and safety
- The organisational ability to do the work they have been appointed to do (if the designer is part of an organisation)
The degree of SKE required should be in proportion to the project complexity and the nature and range of potential risks.
Examples of SKE demonstration may include:
- Membership in professional bodies or institutions
- Records of adherence to continued professional development
Examples of organisational capability could include:
- Prequalification assessment by independent assessors who are members of recognised organisations such as Safety Schemes in Procurement Forum
- Self-assessment using the Publicly Available Specification PAS 91 health and safety pre-qualification questions
The Health and Safety Executive is in favour of a lower-key approach for smaller projects that involve less risk and a more detailed approach for complex projects. It also advocates that actions remain in proportion to potential risks.
This flexible approach to CDM legislation is intended to make it user-friendly, but from a legal perspective, this can subject everything to interpretation, especially since the 2015 regulations have not really been tested by case law.
A legal practicalities course called RIBA CDM 2015 uses the regulations (as opposed to third-party guidance notes) to explain the duties and responsibilities of those involved in the CDM process, including the key role of the Principal Designer.
The course developers believed that unofficial guidance was so prevalent that architects will find it beneficial to return to the source material, where it will be made obvious that the CDM regulations were structured to be practical instead of difficult to navigate.
They accepted that the absence of any flurry of legal action over CDM duty failures since the new regulations were introduced indicates that the Health and Safety Executive has struck the correct balance between practicality and prescription.
The central role of the Principal Designer is a central part of CDM 2015. They must be appointed on any project that has multiple contractors. The Principal Designer does not have to be appointed on projects for domestic clients, but their duties must still be carried out by the lead designer. The RIBA recommendation is that members discuss these duties with clients as a mandatory part of their architectural services and satisfy themselves that the client understands what they are doing.
One of the primary motivators behind the CDM changes was the desire of the Health and Safety Executive to see the Principal Designer selected from the design team. This approach replaces the former CDM Coordinator role, which often belonged to a third-party consultant who did not influence design decisions and their ramifications for health and safety.
Duties of the Principal Designer
The Principal Designer duties include:
- Planning, managing, and overseeing the preconstruction phase of a project. The client must provide Preconstruction Information and the Principal Designer is obligated to help the client provide it as well as evaluate its adequacy. They must also share Preconstruction Information with all contractors and other designers that have been appointed or are under consideration.
- The management and coordination of health and safety concerns and the sharing of such details wherever design work is being done. From this perspective, the Principal Designer is a supervisory role that ensures cooperation.
For the duration of their appointment, the principal designer is required by duty to work with the Principal Contractor and share key information regarding planning, management, and monitoring.
The Principal Designer must work within what is known as the ‘general principles of prevention’, but in proportion to the project scope. In others words, to an extent that is both reasonable and practicable.
If legal action arises from the project, documentation is essential. The Principal Designer must be in a position afterwards to prove why certain decisions were made and why they were the reasonable thing to do at the time.
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.
Construction (Design and Management) specialist, Safer Sphere has won ’CDM Consultant of the Year’ at the National Association of Project Safety (APS) Awards, which recognises excellence in construction health and safety risk management.
The North West based CDM consultancy beat off strong competition from some of the biggest names in the CDM industry to take home the crown at the 2018 APS Awards held in Manchester.
Safer Sphere won the prestigious award based on the CDM services provided to the multi-site Design and Build PRS scheme by Dandara, which sees the development of residential units across Salford, Leeds, and Birmingham. The project delivery is made up of big names such as Sir Robert McAlpine, Galliford Try, and Interserve; Safer Sphere was appointed as Client CDM Advisor and Principal Designer Advisors on the project.
On receiving the award, Mike Forsyth, Managing Director at Safer Sphere said:
We are delighted to have won CDM Consultant of Year at the national APS awards as this is one of the highest accolades we can receive for our business. To make it into the final of these leading industry awards is an achievement but to win just highlights the amazing success for Safer Sphere and its accomplishments. This award is solely down to the efforts and expertise of the team as well as the great support of our clients. The Dandara PRS scheme has been a fantastic scheme to work on and we will continue to work on the scheme having been appointed on the Sweet Street and Chapel Wharf fit-outs, which means we will be seeing the project through from concept to completion. Safer Sphere has one the best CDM delivery teams in the industry and this award is testament to this, I couldn’t be more proud.
Safer Sphere has been appointed on the development of 30 new homes set in Ribble Valley known as ’The Warren’ in Hurst Green, Clitheroe. We will be acting as CDM Client Advisor on the Hillcrest Homes development.
The development will provide luxury new homes that complement the highly desirable village setting. The new homes will include 2 bedroom bungalows, 3 bedroom semi-detached homes, 2 and 3 bedroom terraced homes and 4 and 5 bedroom family homes.
The Angel Meadows excavation has been underway now for several weeks and the Oxford Archeology team are discovering new and exciting parts of Manchester’s history every day.
The recording of Plot 3 (Mincing St) is now almost complete and only needs the drone survey to finalise works. The Oxford Archeology team have done an exceptional job with the cleaning of the archaeological finds and we have uncovered a few extra bits and pieces of structure among the modern disturbance, so the survival is better than was originally thought.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Ludgate Hill (Plot 5). Progress slowed up there due to logistical constraints associated with removing traces of a 20th Century commercial building that sat in the northwest corner of the site. Progress has now moved forward on the site and the team have discovered that some of the cellaring does remain beneath the direct footprint of this building, but, unfortunately, it appears the continuation of the ‘Back of Old Mount St.’ cobbles were lost to this later development and the remainder of the eastern side of the plot is also largely devoid of archaeology.
The mechanical excavation is due to be completed any day and then the team can assess and record the remains that did survive.
The Angel Meadows excavation project is coming to a close and there has been some exciting find including signage, a pram and several brickwork building remains which tells us a lot about the structures and living conditions in this time.
Safer Sphere is pleased to have been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor for a project involving a large supermarket brand at one of their London Stores. The fit-out will be completed in an existing shell of an older unit and Safer Sphere will be supporting Excel Construction on the supermarket refurbishment project which kicked off last month.