Safer Sphere is delighted to have been shortlisted for the ‘Consultant’ of the year award at the North West Construction Safety Group Awards. The awards are a celebration of those who work in the construction sector and what they contribute. The awards ceremony takes place on the 15th March and the event is combined with the groups 40th-year celebration.
We are delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on the brand new First development in Manchester. Hotel giant, Premier Inn is the first tenant to be announced today taking 160,000 sq ft of the 480,000 sq ft building. The hotel operator will occupy the top five floors of a 16 storey mixed-use development, which secured planning permission in December 2018. With the deal now in place for the hotel, Ban will start construction this summer 2019 with completion due in early 2021
Safer Sphere is pleased to confirm that the refurbishment proposals for 100 Barbirolli Square have been approved by Manchester City Council. The works will include the conversion of a basement car park into a new office floor, office extensions and new roof terraces. The refurbishment will increase the office space to 150, 000 sq ft.
We have previously supported 5Plus Architects on a previous refurbishment at the building as well as providing support on 101 Barbirolli Square. We will be continuing our support on the latest refurbishment in the roles of Principal Designer Advisor and Client CDM Advisor. The project is due to start in spring 2019.
Multi-award winning Construction (Design and Management) Health & Safety specialists Safer Sphere, continue with their growth plans by opening a new office based in Reading.
The move comes off the back of an increase in project appointments and overall growth within the Southern region of the UK and follows the opening of the Liverpool office in May of last year.
The new office in Reading will be headed by the company’s latest hire Richard Procter, who has joined the business this month as Associate Director (South). The office will serve all Safer Sphere commissions in the southern region including London which is less than 30 minutes away.
Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “We have seen an increase in demand for our services across the south region with many clients coming back to us for additional projects. We strategically expanded our offices to Liverpool last year so that we could be closer to our Liverpool projects and clients so, with the growing demand in London, South East & West, we decided that expanding our operation around the Southern region on a full-time basis makes sense. Richard is an experienced Construction Health and Safety professional with a vast amount of experience having previously worked at Capita and Carillion, providing a perfect fit for our business and to lead growth in the area. Once Richard has settled in the plans are to bring on board more experienced CDM Consultants from the local area and develop a highly competent southern team.”
Safer Sphere has appointed a new Associate Director to head up a brand-new southern regional office in Reading, as part of the business’s expansion plans.
Richard Procter formerly of Capita and Carilion will assist the business with its expansion plans in the Southern region and will be taking over numerous projects already secured in the area.
Richard has a wealth of experience in Construction Health and Safety having worked on projects such as Heathrow Airport and Southmead Hospital PFI with a project value of £430m.
Richard said “I am really excited to be joining Safer Sphere this year and to be heading up the Southern region. Safer Sphere is a leader in Construction Health and Safety and the CDM regulations which was demonstrated at the end of last when the company took home the award for ‘CDM Consultant of the Year 2018’ at the National Association for Project Safety (APS) awards. It is a really exciting time for the business, and I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to the role and helping achieve growth in the area.”
Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “We are delighted to have Richard on board with us. He is an excellent fit for our business and brings with him the knowledge, experience and the skill set to help us achieve our growth plans, building on our current appointments in the South. Richard will be heading up our new Reading office so that he can be close to our current and future projects as well as be on hand to support our clients with discharging their CDM duties.”
We are delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on a new project at Manchester Royal Infirmary. The project will see the development and installation of 3 brand new operating theatres at the hospital which is part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. We will be supporting ENGIE on the expansion in the roles of Client CDM Advisor and Prinicpal Designer Advisor.
The UK construction sector has a health and safety record that makes it one of the country’s most dangerous industries for workers, with injury and fatality rates that are above average as well as higher than normal rates of illness from work-related causes. Therefore, it is an area of increasing concern for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Competence has been a major part of the strategy used to improve the construction sector’s health and safety record. The term is directly referenced in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), whose success is largely dependant on ensuring that everyone involved at every stage of a construction project is competent.
However, the HSE’s proposals for a CDM revision has removed the mandatory requirement for individual competence in CDM 2015 and the CDM 2007 requirement for corporate competence. The CD261 consultation on replacement of the CDM regs from 2007 to 2015 has indicated that one of the main reasons for the proposed changes is to lower the difficulty of meeting the CDM 2007 competence requirements. For example, it cites the growth of commercial-based competency programmes and the excessive use of paperwork and other questionnaires.
A history of competence and legal definition
The definition of competence is a complicated matter and the law has been trying to accurately define it for some time. The present meaning included a combination of attributes, qualities, and characteristics.
Indicators of the legal meaning of competence can be found in some early health and safety cases. In one 1912 case, coal miners were poisoned when carbon monoxide escaped into the mine. The contemporary mining legislation required the manager and fireman to remove the workers until the incident had been investigated.
Although both men were well qualified, the House of Lords held that they did not have the necessary experience to navigate the situation and the owners of the mine were found liable.
It appears that being competent goes beyond possession of certain qualifications. It also addresses experience.
In another case, this one taking place in 1957, one employee who was well-known for playing jokes at work injured another employee. The employer was found liable on the premise that this person was not a competent employee, which under common law must be someone who behaves responsibly at work and has a positive attitude toward workplace health and safety.
Other cases make additional specifications, so it appears that there is no single universal definition of competence. It appears to depend on the processes, the circumstances, the amount of risk, and what parties are involved. It is also a standard that has to apply to companies as well as to people. Given all these variables, it is not surprising that the term ‘competence’ has created so much confusion in the construction industry.
CDM and Competence
- Under CDM 2007, “competent” individuals must be appointed to fulfil the various required roles. This also applies to companies. CDM requires all appointees to be competent, including:
- Primary contractors
- CDM co-ordinators
CDM 2007 is accompanied by the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), which provides assistance and advice on the assessment of competence.
Under the ACOP, an individual or organisation is competent only when they have:
- Sufficient knowledge of the work to be done and the risks that the work entails
- Sufficient ability and experience with the duties involved with the project; can recognise their limitations, and take the right measures to prevent injury to construction workers and/or those impacted by the construction work
- Knowledge about the work they will be expected to carry out and the risks that this work may involve. Such knowledge may be acquired by formal or on-site training
- The right experience: workers are more apt to use safe practices if they understand why the practices are necessary and past experience is a good indicator of ability.
Under CDM 2015, the corporate competence requirement was removed and the direct requirement for individual competence included in CDM 2007 has been replaced with a new regulation 8, which states that anyone responsible for engaging a contractor for a construction project must take reasonable steps to ensure that the contractor has:
Received the required training, instruction, and information AND the appropriate supervision to meet applicable legal provisions and maintain the welfare, health, and safety of those impacted by the work. This requirement is comparatively simple and appears to be a far cry from the CDM 2007 requirements for competence. The new regulation 5 requires all projects to have management arrangements in place, and the HSE expects that the present explicit requirements for competence will be effectively replaced.
PAS 91 standardised pre-qualification questionnaires can be used to make proving competency easier for both suppliers and clients by reducing the need for suppliers to complete a variety of pre-qualification questionnaires for different clients. The result is a huge saving in time and money for both parties.
The standardised PQQ format PAS 91 helps to:
- Let suppliers know what information is required at pre-qualification
- Make it easier for buyers to identify contractors with suitable qualifications
- Improve the consistency between many pre-qualification databases and questionnaires
What are the implications?
The CDM 2015 approach to competency in construction is a much simpler approach. Its definition of competency as described in regulation 8 is based on the skills, knowledge and experience of contractors and the organisational ability of an organisation.
Regardless of these changes, everyone in the construction industry will have to demonstrate that everyone on site is competent. Not only is this a common law requirement, but it is also implied in legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work, Act, so the new principal designer will have to be proven to be competent.
Clients and other parties will have to ensure that they demonstrate competency to do the role they are engaged to do, that will pass the scrutiny of the courts. SKET cannot be randomly delivered: it must be assessed and will involve some cost and bureaucracy. For example, a training needs analysis may have to be performed. The HSE stance on competency training is that it may be accomplished using standards that are nationally agreed upon and criteria created by professional bodies.
CDM 2015 does not have an ACOP, but instead HSE produced the regulations accompanied by targeted guidance in the form of document L153, so it remains to be seen what this means for regulation 8.
SKET principles, PAS 91 pre qualified questionnaires and the guidance in document L153 are all now being used to help construction project participants achieve and demonstrate competence in construction in line with the CDM 2015 regulations.
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.