Safer Sphere has been appointed Client CDM Advisors and Principle Designer Advisors for the £235m residential scheme around Angel Meadows in Manchester. The development will consist of more than 750 flats in several high-rise buildings next to the Co-op’s NOMA building. This will be an exciting project to work on with building work commencing in early 2018.
Good management of Health and Safety on site is crucial to the successful delivery of a construction project. In liaison with the Client and v, Principal Contractors have an important role in managing the health and safety risks of the construction work.
The Principal Contractor is the contractor formally appointed by the Client, who performs or manages construction work. The Principal Contractor is like any other contractor and must comply with the contractor’s duties.
The Principal Contractor has a central role in managing health and safety during the construction phase and does this by developing the Construction Phase Plan. This comes from the pre-construction information compiled by the Principal Designer from details provided by the Client and the Designers. It is the duty of the Principal Contractor to ensure that the Construction Phase Plan is followed.
Regulation 13 of CDM15, sets out the duties the Principal Contractor has during the construction phase.
The Principal Contractor must plan, manage and monitor the construction phase and coordinate matters relating to health and safety during this phase to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, construction work is carried out without risks to health or safety.
In fulfilling the duties above, and in particular when
a. design, technical and organisational aspects are being decided in order to plan the various items or stages of work which are to take place simultaneously or in succession;
b. when estimating the period of time required to complete the work or work stages,
the Principal Contractor must take into account the general principles of prevention.
The Principal Contractor must organise cooperation between contractors (including successive contractors on the same construction site); ensure that other contractors are applying CDM regulations and other legal requirements when executing their work; and ensure that employers and, if necessary for the protection of workers, self-employed persons apply the general principles of prevention in a consistent manner, and in particular when complying with the provisions of Part 4 of Regulation 13; and where required, follow the Construction Phase Plan.
The Construction Phase Plan shall be drawn up as soon as practicable before setting up a construction site and updated, reviewed and revised so it continues to be sufficient.
The Principal Contractor must ensure that a suitable site induction is provided to indicate formal invitation onto site. Before the induction is carried out, any evidence of competency and up to date training should be requested as a check of competency for the job these individuals or groups undertake. Site rules, as part of the construction phase plan, will be provided to contractors’ management and explained to the operatives during the site inductions. Every site worker should receive a site specific induction that highlights particular risks and the controls that are in place to prevent serious injury. Induction will normally start with a commitment to Health and Safety from senior management and end with the individual workers responsibility to their own safety and that of others. Site inductions for those who are not on site regularly such as architects and designers, sales representatives, students or neighbours will be carried out, but will differ from the comprehensive induction that contractors and workers will be instructed in. Whoever the induction is for, it should reflect the hazards they are likely to come up against.
The Principal Contractor must take the necessary steps to prevent access by unauthorised persons to the construction site. The steps taken must reflect the risk level. Extreme security may be required if the site is in proximity to the public, hoardings being erected to keep unauthorised people out. Other sites, such as those in airports, railways or internal works in offices may already have a level of security that keeps out the general public, although additional steps will be required where high risk activities are carried out.
The Principal Contractor must comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 and part 4 of the CDM15 regulations, ensuring that adequate welfare facilities are provided for the site personnel from the start and throughout the construction phase. The Regulations also specifically require that facilities are available from the commencement of works, and that a period is allowed at the start of the contract to allow the site to be set up. It is not acceptable to start on site and only then start thinking about welfare facilities. Toilet and washing facilities, drinking water, changing rooms, lockers and a rest area should be provided before construction work begins.
The Principal Contractor must then confirm that the rules are being followed by everyone, including any visitors to the site. This would normally be achieved by regular site tours, health and safety inspections and health and safety audits.
The actions that the Principal Contractor will take in the event of a non-compliance with the site rules would also have to be specified. The Principal Contractor has powers to give reasonable directions to contractors, and CDM15 regulations requires contractors to comply with the Principal Contractor’s reasonable directions and the site rules.
The Principal Contractor must liaise with the Principal Designer for the duration of the Principal Designer’s appointment and share with them information relevant to the planning, management and monitoring of the pre-construction phase and the coordination of health and safety matters during the pre-construction phase.
The Principal Contractor has an absolute duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction such that the work is performed in a safe and healthy manner, so far as reasonably practicable. As part of this, the Principal Contractor shall facilitate co-operation and co-ordination between contractors, and designers if required, and the application of the general principles of prevention. Ensuring that all interacting parties are safe and comply with the expected local standards and laws, adequately describe the safe system of work and that the work carried out will not create an additional risk to themselves or others as activities are carried out.
The work carried out will be monitored by the Principal Contractor. All precautions, rules, duties, regulations and acts specified in the Construction Phase Plan will be adhered to. This will also establish whether hazards are being eliminated or reduced with adequate controls of processes. This does not mean that the Principal Contractor must directly supervise other contractor’s work.
Duties of a Principal Contractor
In the first section of this article we looked at the formal appointment of the Principal Contractor, planning and management of the Construction Phase Plan, co-operation of other contractors, visitors and the public and observing fluid handover from the Principal Designer to the Principal Contractor. In this section we will continue to review CDM15 Regulation 13: The Duties of the Principal Contractor.
The role of principal contractor is not a new one, but their responsibilities have changed slightly from the 2007 regulations. While taking over the health and safety through the construction phase, the Principal Contractor must continue to liaise with the Client and Principal Designer for the duration of the project to ensure that all risks are effectively managed.
When working for a domestic client, the Principal Contractor will normally take on the Client duties as well as their own as Principal Contractor. If a domestic client does not appoint a Principal Contractor, the role of the Principal Contractor must be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction phase. Alternatively, the domestic client can ask the Principal Designer to take on the Client duties (although this must be confirmed in a written agreement) and the Principal Contractor must work to them as ‘Client’ under CDM15
Fire and Emergency
When the Principal Contractor plans and manages the Health and Safety Plan, details must be drawn up and monitored of how arrangements for emergencies such as fire, bomb threats, means of escape and evacuations are carried out. There must be an emergency plan on site that deals with all foreseeable emergencies.
Consideration must be given to; the size of project, numbers of contractors, height of structure, types of trades, the number of persons likely to be present on the site at any one time, the equipment being used, and any materials and substances used. All this will impact on the requirements for safety in the event of fire and emergency. Everyone must be informed of the plan and it must be tested. Now more than ever these arrangements are under particular scrutiny.There must be suitable escape routes on site that lead to a place of safety. Escape routes must be free from obstructions and clearly signed.
On any project, even those where the principal contractor is the only contractor, the construction phase will need a fire risk assessment and a fire safety plan for the site. There must be adequate fire-fighting equipment, fire detection and fire alarms available in plain sight and on all levels. Fire fighting equipment must be maintained, signed and people must be adequately trained in the emergency procedures; fire drills should be carried out regularly as a check that the controls in place are suitable.
Vehicles, Plant and Equipment
Where possible, vehicular traffic should be separated from pedestrian traffic, the Construction Phase Site Rules should identify how vehicles, plant and pedestrians move safely. Vehicle operators must give warning to those at risk when vehicles and mobile plant move.
On any site, there will be work equipment that is shared by several trades; this may be cranes, cradle access, mast climbers, hoists etc. This is managed by the Principal Contractor and when managed correctly can improve productivity and reduce stress levels, coordinating contractor activities so that they do not create hazards for each other.
Consultation with other Contractors
The Principal Contractor shall make available to the other contractors any documents that will increase safety, health and wellbeing on site, which would include, as appropriate, health and safety file information, site surveys, designers’ information, other contractors’ risk assessments and the relevant sections of the construction phase plan. The Principal Contractor must give other contractors sufficient time to garner resources and properly plan the work.
Regular meetings or other method of including the workforce in consultation should be carried out and recorded if necessary. The views of the workers from all trades relevant at the time are considered, this allows continual improvement of health and safety on site. The size of the site will dictate the format and forum, whether that is on an individual basis or as a group meeting. Sometimes individuals will be nominated to represent a group of workers
In today’s labour market and especially on construction sites, the use of workers of many nationalities should be expected. Special arrangements for workers who speak little English will need to be made and a Principal Contractor should considers the use of pictograms, interpreters and translation services to aid communication of site rules.
Management of Contractor’s Safety Plans
Ensuring that other contractor’s safety plans are in place and that these contractors manage and monitor their own work by inspection and regular audit, the principal contractor must ensure that contractors’ arrangements are satisfactory for consultation with the workers on matters of health and safety, the provision of suitable pre-start briefings, health and safety information and any health and safety training required for on-site tasks.
Accidents and Incidents of Ill Health
There have been significant reductions in the number and rate of injury over the last 20 years or more. Nevertheless, construction remains a high risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain it still accounts for 22% of fatal injuries to employees and 10% of reported major injuries.
As well as being an indicator of the safety climate on site, contractors have a duty to inform the Principal Contractor of any accidents that may occur and reporting any accidents under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).
To ensure that the health and safety on site is managed appropriately, accurate records of any RIDDOR incidents must be maintained. This includes recording any incidents where a worker has been away from work for more than seven consecutive days.
The role of the Principal Contractor is as diverse as the type of projects they may be managing. By following the legislation of regulation 13 of CDM, they will be doing their part to reduce the 43 deaths that occurred last year on construction sites in the UK.
When a project comes under CDM15, a Health and Safety file must be produced (see HSE Guidance L153 “Managing Health and Safety in Construction”). The duty to prepare a health and safety file during the pre-construction phase is that of the Principal Designer, who will only be appointed for those construction projects with more than one contractor. So, in practice, the health and safety file will only be formally required for those projects which have more than one contractor. Safer Sphere would advise that the Health and Safety file is prepared, reviewed or updated as appropriate for all projects, irrespective of the number of contractors working on a project.
The contents of this file should be agreed at the start of the project, between the Principal Designer and the Client and should reflect the appropriate characteristics of the project. Safer Sphere have experience in assisting Principal Designers and in advising Clients on the contents of a Health and Safety File.
The Health and Safety file contains details of record information and residual risks that future construction work may be exposed to. The information contained within the Health and Safety File is therefore considerably important when managing health and safety in any future construction. Information that can be found in a health and safety file will aid any future cleaning and maintenance of the building or structure, alterations and refurbishment and any demolition work. The exact contents of the file depends on the requirements of the Client and the scope of the construction work.
CDM Health and Safety File Contents List.
Each Health and Safety file will be as unique as each build and will contain all the health and safety information relevant to the initial project and any subsequent work. When considering what should be included in the Health and Safety File, while not an exhaustive list, the following items should be considered:
- A brief description of the work carried out
- Any hazards that have not been eliminated through the design and construction processes, and how they have been addressed (e.g. surveys or other information concerning asbestos or contaminated land);
- Key structural principles (e.g. bracing, sources of substantial stored energy – including pre- or post-tensioned members) and safe working loads for floors and roofs;
- Hazardous materials used (e.g. lead paints and special coatings);
- Information regarding the removal or dismantling of installed plant and equipment (e.g. any special arrangements for lifting such equipment);
- Health and safety information about equipment provided for cleaning or maintaining the structure;
- The nature, location and markings of significant services, including underground cables; gas supply equipment; fire-fighting services etc;
- Information and as-built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment (e.g. the means of safe access to and from service voids and fire doors).
There should be enough detail to allow the likely risks to be identified and addressed by those carrying out the work, however, the level of detail should be proportionate to the risks. The file should not include things that will be of no help when planning future construction work such as pre-construction information, the construction phase plan, contractual documents, safety method statements etc. Information must be in a convenient form, clear, concise and easily understandable.
It is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that the Principal Designer prepares the health and safety file for a project, also ensuring regular updates and formal reviews are carried out as the project develops to take account of progress and any changes to the construction site with time. It may come to pass that the Principal Designer’s appointment is completed before the end of the project, in which case, the Principal Designer must pass responsibility for the upkeep of the Health and Safety file to the Principal Contractor.
What Happens To The Health and Safety File Upon Completion?
Once the project is finished, the Principal Designer (or the Principal Contractor) should issue the health and safety file to the Client. The Client must then keep the file and ensure it is available to anyone who may need it for as long the contents are relevant. Any subsequent construction, maintenance or deconstruction can then comply with the established health and safety requirements. A Client may in the future pass on his interest in the building or part of the building to another individual or organisation. If this occurs, they must provide the file to the new client who takes on the duties and ensure that the new client is aware of the nature and purpose of the file. This applies to either sale or lease of the building or part of it.
Information that is redundant when planning construction work does not need to be included in a Health and Safety file. Any pre-construction information can be omitted. There is no need to include the names and addresses of the original designers or contractors involved in the project, over time, some companies and practices may disappear. While some clients insist on Risk Assessments, method statements and CoSHH assessments for work that has been previously carried out are included, this is not really necessary, as future work should only be carried out following a project specific assessment of the risks, this will differ from the original construction somewhat.
When a project being undertaken already has an existing Health and Safety file, the Principal Designer must include this information in the Pre-Construction Plan so that contractors and designers can take this information into account.
The importance of a Health and Safety file cannot be overstated, but the file is only as useful as the information contained within it. The information should be relevant, accurate and kept up to date. If properly maintained, the Health and Safety file can help prevent accidents and incidents of ill health. Files that are filled with unhelpful, irrelevant or unnecessary information which will be of little use and without proper advice and document maintenance, may actually be an obstacle to the management of health and safety on a construction project.
Safer Sphere can assist with project compliance in relation to Health & Safety files in our offerings of Client CDM Advisors and or Principal Designer Advisors.
There are three main roles within the CDM Regulations that have responsibility for health and safety. The Client, The Principal Contractor and the Principal Designer. While the Client has overall responsibility, the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor have responsibilities depending on the phase of the project. CDM15 introduced us to the new role of Principal Designer while saying goodbye to the CDM Coordinator role.
Every project must have a Principal Designer appointed where required in order to meet the requirements of CDM15.
Any client who requires construction or demolition to be carried out, where more than one contractor is involved, has to appoint a Principal Designer before any design or construction work begins. A Principal Designer must be appointed by the Client in writing, but the role and that of others on site and in design do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.
Principal Designers have an important role in influencing how risks to health and safety are managed throughout a project. Design decisions made during the pre-construction phase have a significant influence in ensuring the project is delivered in a way that secures the health and safety of everyone affected by the work. Ultimately, the responsibility to appoint a Principal Designer falls on the Client. If a Principal Designer is not appointed, then the role is passed to the Client, which would be a difficult role for many to fulfil.
Non-compliance regarding the appointment of a Principal Designer could result in criminal proceedings, so appointing a competent Principal Designer is important. People who had been CDM Coordinators under CDM07 might not be able to fulfil the role of Principal Designer, although the definition of designer under CDM15 is open to interpretation. If you are not sure about this then contact Safer Sphere for more information on our Client Advisor & Principal Designer Advisor services.
The Principal Designer must have overall control of the pre-construction period (design and planning stage) of a relevant project and be involved in the preparation of project designs and in instructing other specialists and designers. The Principal Designer will have a technical knowledge of the Construction Industry and will know how to apply health and safety to the design process, relevant to the project.
Principal Designer Roles:
- Advise the client of their duties and assist them with the formulation of the Client CDM Brief.
- Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase. In doing so they must take account of relevant information (such as an existing health and safety file or surveys) that might affect design work carried out both before and after the construction phase has started.
- Ensure other designers comply with their duties
- Take account of the general Principals of prevention.
- Help and advise the client in bringing together pre-construction information, and provide the information that designers and contractors need to carry out their duties.
- Work with any other designers on the project to eliminate foreseeable health and safety risks to anyone affected by the work and, where that is not possible, take steps to reduce or control those risks.
- Ensure that everyone involved in the pre-construction phase communicates and cooperates, coordinating their work wherever required.
- Liaise with the Principal Contractor, keeping them informed of any risks that need to be controlled during the construction phase.
- Identify, eliminate or control foreseeable risks to health and safety during the pre-construction phase
- Collate and prepare the health and safety file for completion of the project
A Principal Designer will influence the way Health and Safety risks are controlled and how these controls are incorporated into the project overall. During pre-construction, the Principal Designer must plan and manage matters relating to Health and Safety as well as overall monitoring of the project and co-ordinating to ensure that principles of prevention are followed and the project is carried out without risk to health or safety.
Notification of building projects has been a requirement of health and safety law since the 1961 Factories Act, Section 127. This Act was repealed by the 1994 CDM Regulations. Notification became the duty of the CDM Coordinator in the 2007 CDM Regulations and in the 2015 revision of the CDM Regulations, the role of CDM Coordinator was removed and the duty to notify a project became that of the Client. CDM15 applies to all construction projects, irrespective of size, whether they be commercial or domestic construction projects. Some of these projects will be notifiable in writing to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before the Construction Phase begins. Relevant information can be supplied to HSE via their online notification portal https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/lfserver/external/f10
Regulation 6 of CDM15 states that a project is notifiable if the construction phase is scheduled to:
Last longer than 30 working days, and has more than 20 workers on site at any one time; and or
Last longer than 500 person days.
A person day is one individual site worker, including plant operators and labourers, who carries out construction work for one normal working shift, supervisors, managers and specialist workers, who may not be directly involved in the construction process, operating plant or carrying out manual work, all must be included as a person day. A working shift is any part of the day on which construction work takes place, even if construction work is carried out for a short part of that day, the whole day counts towards the person day tally during the Construction Phase. Working days include any work carried out on weekends and bank holidays.
Before CDM15, notification was the responsibility of the CDM Coordinator, notification triggering the need for a Principal Contractor & CDM Coordinator to be appointed, this is no longer the case. Where previously connected, appointment and notification processes are now divorced from one another, the client is accountable for their actions irrespective of who carries out the duties on the clients behalf.
Notification under CDM15 is the client’s responsibility, although it is common practice for the client to commission a competent professional to execute this responsibility on behalf of them. The duty remains with the client although where the client is domestic, the responsibility for notification is passed to the Contractor or Principal Contractor where more than one contractor is present including sub-contractors. Safer Sphere can provide this service as part of our Client CDM Support, gathering all the information required for notification and completing the necessary documentation to comply with CDM15 Regulation 6 and CDM15 Schedule 1, details of which are provided below.
1. The date of forwarding the notice.
2. The address of the construction site or precise description of its location.
3. The name of the local authority where the construction site is located.
4. A brief description of the project and the construction work that it entails.
5. The following contact details of the client: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
6. The following contact details of the principal designer: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
7. The following contact details of the principal contractor: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
8. The date planned for the start of the construction phase.
9. The time allocated by the client under regulation 4(1) for the construction work.
10. The planned duration of the construction phase.
11. The estimated maximum number of people at work on the construction site.
12. The planned number of contractors on the construction site.
13. The name and address of any contractor already appointed.
14. The name and address of any designer already appointed.
15. A declaration signed by or on behalf of the client that the client is aware of the client duties under these Regulations.
To be legally compliant, notification, once completed and updated as necessary, should be clearly displayed in the site office where anyone involved in the construction phase can have access to it.
Safer Sphere offer a full range of CDM services across the North West for construction projects of all sizes.
A Construction Phase Plan is required for every construction project. When appointed by a client, this plan is provided by the contractor, or, where there is more than one contractor, the Principal Contractor, before the construction phase begins. It should be displayed clearly and should be made available to site workers or any visitors. It is created from the information provided by the client during the pre-construction stage and includes any information provided by the Principal Designer.
When implemented, it should go through several revisions throughout the life of a construction project. As time progresses during the construction phase, this health and safety plan will change. A Construction Phase Plan is a legal requirement as part of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), even if you work for a domestic client and even if there is only one contractor on site, the plan must remain up to date and valid. The project may even need to be notified to the HSE, if it is will last 500 person days or 30 working days with more than 20 operatives. Safer Sphere can advise you on preparing and managing this aspect through the construction phase.
The significant hazards on a construction site can be many and varied, it is a legal requirement that all workers on site are told about these hazards and how the hazards are being controlled, the Construction Phase Plan is how the information is initially communicated to sub-contractors, workers and visitors alike. All information should be relevant to the project and easy to understand, the information in the Construction Phase Plan will depend on the complexity of the project and the risks that are relevant to the site.
Schedule 3 of CDM15 describes work that is defined as being of particular risk, specific arrangements and procedures are required in such cases to assure a safe working environment during the construction phase. On larger, notifiable projects in is difficult to avoid such high risk activities. It is the responsibility of the Principal Contractor to ensure that all employers, contractors and anyone self-employed follow the Construction Phase Plan.
Identified in the Code of Practice for CDM15 is the information to consider when drawing up Construction Phase Plan. The Code identifies that details of key members of the project team along with anticipated start and completion dates should be made available on site along with the details of how the work will be managed.
Where several contractors interface with each other, cooperation and coordination between all team members is required, arrangements need to be in place for involving workers in the construction phase. Details of the site inductions should be fit for purpose and reflect the stage the project is at the time the induction is carried out, the level of welfare facilities and provision for fire prevention should also be managed in line with the size of project. A project should have specific aims, these aims should be achievable if site rules drawn up in the Plan are followed.
The Construction Design and Management Regulation or CDM has been around now for over 22 years in some shape or form and in that time has been subject to changes along the way. The most recent revision of the Regulations came into force in April 2015 (CDM15).
The removal of the role of the CDM Co-ordinator to make way for that of the Principal Designer was one of the biggest change to this latest revision. CDM15 is the legislation that applies to all construction projects, from feasibility study to final handover and beyond. The CDM Regulations are in place to reduce the risk of harm to those who not only build and maintain structures, but also those that have to use the structure, right up to when the building is demolished.
CDM15 applies to both domestic and commercial building sites, large and small, put simply, unless it is a DIY job, then this law will probably apply as a result. The health and safety responsibilities should be treated as normal a part of the construction process as mixing cement. No matter what the size of your project, consideration for health and safety should be part of the planning process not something that is a reluctantly snapped on just before the building starts.
It doesn’t have to be about creating mountains of paperwork and unnecessary processes, Safer Sphere can assist with ensuring CDM compliance. They will work together with clients and designers to promote health and safety throughout the project, manage your compliance efficiently, and ensure adequately trained individuals are appointed to propel the project forward. Complying with CDM 2015 does no have to cause you concern, instead it will help ensure that no-one is harmed during construction and that the structure is safe to use and easy to maintain. Effective planning will also help ensure that your work is well managed with fewer unexpected costs and problems.
Companies that have kept abreast of the changes to the regulations are improving standards within the construction industry all the time. Two years have passed since the requirements of CDM were revised in 2015 and there are companies who have not had the resources available within their own organisation to enjoy the benefits of having competent, professional and holistic Construction Health & Safety Solutions available to them. In addition many home owners will still be unaware of the regulations at all, never mind their own responsibilities.
Domestic clients were omitted from the Regulations before the 2015 revisions, since then, if a domestic project has more than one contractor working simultaneously, a “Principal Contractor” and “Principle Designer” must be appointed just like on a commercial site. Size is not important, before any project starts, the Principle Designer will be responsible for ensuring the client understands their responsibilities under CDM15 and for preparing and sharing the pre-construction information with the appointed designers and contractors.
The Principal contractor must prepare a construction phase plan before any physical work begins. The Principle Contractor is also responsible for undertaking worker site inductions, ensuring that adequate welfare and sanitation facilities are provided and securing the site against the public. Whether you are having building work carried out on your behalf (client), even as a domestic client, or have been appointed as another duty holder: Principal contractor, designer, sub-contractor or the humble worker, then you will have to consider your health and safety responsibilities under CDM15 before a shovel is put in the ground, the do’s and don’ts of construction. In order to comply with this law, projects should be carried out with health and safety in mind.