Safer Sphere is pleased to confirm that we have been appointed on additional works at Worcester Hospital. The latest project involves the removal of 2 steam generators, hotwell and blowdown vessel. A new hotwell, blowdown and 2 new steam boilers will be installed to replace the old ones. Safer Sphere will be acting as CDM Client Advisor on the project supporting Engie.
We are pleased to have been appointed on another exciting school project working alongside Galliford Try and AHR Architects. The project will see a brand-new replacement school built for Royton and Crompton High School in Oldham. Safer Sphere has been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor on the project and is looking forward to seeing the development progress.
NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has launched its new Construction Consultancy Framework and Construction (Design and Management) safety specialists Safer Sphere have been appointed as one of the successful Consultants on the framework.
The framework is open to both the NHS and the wider public sector and allows them to access a variety of services from Civil Engineering to Principal Designer Advisors.
The 4-year framework is expected to save the public sector around £16 million and supplies the clients with a fully compliant route for public sector purchasing, as they will gain access to construction consultancy services that have already undergone a thorough procurement process.
The new framework replaces the older framework that was awarded in 2014 and has saved the public sector in excess of £12 million. Last year, more than 300 organisations purchased construction consultancy services via the NHS SBS framework, with almost two-thirds (66%) being non-NHS organisations.
Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “We are delighted to have been appointed alongside other great industry professionals on this framework. We have been fortunate enough to work alongside various NHS Trusts and local authorities, and this framework opens up even more opportunities to work alongside both current and new clients.”
The framework is now active and has over 100 core members and over 800 associate members ranging from housing associations to NHS Trusts across the UK.
What Is BIM?
BIM or Building Information Modelling is the name given to a process of creating a detailed digital model of a build asset. From design through to construction and even hand over, a detailed collaborative model of a building can be created and accessed by anyone involved with the design, construction and maintenance of the project.
Think of a building information model in terms of a 3D digital model that not only gives a detailed visual of the building but also contains dimensions, materials used, service and maintenance instructions, material life spans, load bearings, safe working information and more.
Why Do We Need BIM?
Over 2 million people work in the UK construction industry, a figure that represents around 7% of the national workforce. Despite this, the construction industry accounts for around 25% of fatalities in the workplace and a statistically higher number of occupational diseases than any other industry. It’s thought that effective BIM implementation can help reduce these figures.
In addition, if BIM is implemented effectively during the design stages then it will enable CDM duty holders to identify risks in advance and therefore reduce costs considerably. After all, accidents and last minute changes are expensive.
The Future Of CDM And BIM
Identifying risk is the key element of CDM15. If the design stage can utilise digital modelling then many more risks can be identified. From clash detections on electrical cable and pipe runs to the movement of raw materials across the site during the different construction phases.
As BIM software becomes more developed, it’s entirely possible that the entire construction process can be run in virtual reality to detect any conflict with access platforms, cranes, and other construction equipment and processes. A timeline can then be decided to deliver maximum value, minimum construction time and fewer H&S risks.
BIM systems can aid Architects by automatically checking against current health and safety legislation on such things as where safety glass is needed, what the minimum headroom on a stairwell is and so on.
Building Information Modelling isn’t new. In fact as early as 2011, the UK Government published it’s Construction Strategy, the prime aim of which was to reduce the cost of public sector assets by 20%, one of the means of achieving this was to enable all the supply chain to collaborate in a 3D BIM on all government-funded projects by 2016.
The construction division of the HSE is committed to researching how BIM can improve health and safety across projects of all sizes. In addition, the BSI has published a specification (PAS 1192-6:2018)for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health & Safety information using BIM.
How Important is BIM?
You may, depending on your age, remember people asking the same question about word processors, computers, and the internet. BIM is in its early stages in the UK but is being used extensively around the world. Standards are still being designed and the coming months and years will see industry standard single BIM systems that are capable of delivering slick digital records to the client at the end of a project.
CAD drawings, PDFs and multiple digital files will be as outdated as floppy disks in a just a few years.
Building Information Modelling is here to stay, but unlike other technologies, if implemented correctly it will reward the construction industry with fewer health and safety incidents, higher profits and lower costs.
Has anyone been prosecuted in Construction since CDM15 was introduced?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have analysed information relating to potential breaches in Health and Safety Regulations on construction projects. The HSE act as the police service for all of the industry and provide enforcement notice data (prohibition and improvement notices) on their website. This information is available for all stakeholders to view and remains accessible.
Contractors must be aware that HSE Inspectors can attend site whether invited or uninvited. There may be a planned blitz on specific issues, for example, the HSE in Liverpool have recently carried out planned spot checks on several refurbishment projects in educational facility sector. Inspectors can also carry out unannounced inspections following concerns raised by site workers or members of the public.
Who has responsibilities under Health and Safety Regulations?
Health and Safety law places duties on employers and workers to consider their own safety and that of others. The principal law is the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’, with The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM15) relating directly to the Act. Clients, Principal Designers, Principal Contractors, Designers and the Self Employed each have responsibilities as duty holders for Health and Safety, some overlap, while others are specific to a particular group. The regulations work with strong direction and guidance and come in various forms including:
- Approved Codes of Practice;
- HSE Website;
- Various Trade Organisations and;
- Competent Advice.
Any individual or organisation that wishes to remain compliant with the law and avoid punitive measures and sanctions should use these resources.
If an organisation does not comply with CDM, or an individual within that organisation is identified as wilfully breaching any regulation, such parties should expect to be investigated and if the case is strong enough, will be prosecuted.
New sentencing guidelines introduced on 1st February 2016 introduced higher fines and prison sentences for anyone breaches the CDM regulations. These penalties can range from fines of up to ten million pounds or even imprisonment for up to two years for more serious breaches.
While some might argue that regulation alone is not the answer to the problem of Construction Health, Safety and Welfare, Health and Safety law continues to reinforce all we do in construction. The law is the law, and duty holders will be judged upon whether they have interpreted their role and carried out their responsibilities correctly. Regulations can be complex, and construction companies and design practices can put heavy resources into interpreting the requirements of the law correctly, but without competent guidance, this could be wasted time and money no matter how well-intentioned.
Who will be prosecuted?
It is no secret that while the HSE carry out inspections for breaches of the CDM regulations across all project sizes and companies, it is the larger sites that most attention is being paid to and inspected. Larger construction sites mean more tiers of supply chain with a pyramid of potential breaches and perpetrators. In an age where funding to the HSE is at a relative low and ‘Fee for Intervention’ (FFI) costs make up the deficit, some cynics may say that to ensure the HSE’s survival in its present form they should follow the money. The truth of the matter is SME’s, and sole traders can also be targeted at any time.
It is a fact that the larger the project, the greater the numbers of people employed and consequently more people could be harmed if poor controls on site are in place. These larger employers are punishable by very large fines under the current sentencing guidelines. Large fines will make headlines in trade press and if the company is large enough, national media outlets. This public shaming could act as a deterrent to smaller companies, but that said, there is still an element of the construction industry that will say “that will never happen to us”. Filtering through the lists of Enforcement Notices shows that is not necessarily the case with SME’s and Sole Traders being named as the recipient of the notice. Even when fines are scaled down to reflect the turnover of a business, fines for serious breaches could easily liquidate an otherwise thriving business.
A recent search of the HSE’s List of Enforcement Notices found that there were 3306 notices served under CDM15. 2335 of these were improvement notices, the rest being prohibition notices. Lack of Principal Contractor, insufficient Welfare arrangements, and omission of a Construction Phase Plan are typical reasons for serving improvement notices. The majority of prohibition notices were for potential breaches of the Working at Height Regulations.
It might be the case that the operative on site is identified as carrying out an illegal action thereby putting themselves or others at risk. If an investigation is carried out, the inspectors will always work up the hierarchy of command to establish who is responsible for that operative.
So, even if the breach was a willful deviation by an individual, the company (or in the case of a larger supply chain companies) will all have their day in court if a serious breach resulting in death or serious injury occurs.
Yes, the individual may have taken on a risk knowing the dangers, but the organisation will be required to explain how competency is measured and whether the vetting was robust enough.
A self-employed contractor, a white van man for example, before to the changes seen in CDM15, had never previously been expected to produce a Construction Phase Plan. They are unlikely to have the HSE’s web page bookmarked to keep up with changes in legislation, so it is the responsibility of those higher up the supply chain to ensure that these smaller working groups are involved in the cultural change.
The whole project team should buy into Health and Safety as an essential part of their business model. CDM can be very difficult to understand to the average worker on site if it is not presented in a format that all workers, at all levels of responsibility and ability, can understand. Several methods can be employed to get workers to adopt CDM without having to understand every part of the CDM Regulations. Strong management, enthusiastic supervision and regular refresher training will all contribute to a safer and healthier construction environment.
Great news, we have been appointed Principal Designer Advisor by UMC Architects on the new ‘4 Ashes’ project in Wolverhampton. The project involves the construction of a new distribution warehouse on a former brownfield site and will consist of a 2-storey office, hub with an entrance gatehouse, associated car parking and hardstanding for haulage vehicles.
Safer Sphere’s very own Mike Forsyth guest speaking at the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) conference in January. Mike will be speaking to industry wise audience about their duties under CDM 2015.
We are pleased to have been appointed the role of Principal Designer Advisor by Galliford Try, on their brand new ‘Heights’ development in Burnley. The development will see the former Ridgewood School site turned into a brand new primary and secondary school for over 150 children
Management of Health and Safety on Construction projects is governed by the content of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM15). CDM15 applies to all construction work, and this includes
- repair and maintenance.
While a Principal Contractor may be in the driver’s seat during the Construction Phase of a project, they may not have the resources to complete the construction, contracting out the development to other specialist contractors. The actual work of building and maintaining a structure will usually be aided by the Contractor.
Contractors come in many forms from sole traders to large businesses. A Contractor is anyone who controls and manages the work that construction workers do.
What is a Contractors Duty under CDM15?
Where a Contractor is engaged in a construction contract, his immediate duty is to plan, manage and monitor any work that is carried out without risk to health and safety. This is a phrase that is echoed through CDM15 from the responsibilities of the Client to those of the Worker. The Contractor has a duty, on projects with more than one contractor, to coordinate the work they do with other members of the construction team. Any instructions given by the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor should be considered promptly. On occasions where the Contractor is the only one on the project, it will be the responsibility of that sole Contractors to prepare the Construction Phase Plan.
What are the Contractor’s requirements under CDM15?
The role of a Contractor will depend on the number of other contractors on a project at any one time. If the project has more than one contractor involved, the Contractor must coordinate their work with the other Contractors involved. If they are acting as the only Contractor on site, then they must prepare a Construction Phase Plan and make sure that no unauthorised entry can be made. In some cases, Contractors may also have a design role in a project.
Managing the Work
Managing work as a Contractor will mean delivering the clients brief. During the pre-construction phase, information will be collated by the Principal Designer. This details will be provided to the Contractor along with other information that is put together as part of the Construction Phase Plan by the Principal Contractor. All this design and construction information will be used by the Contractor to plan the work, for example where there are overhead obstructions or any areas where digging is forbidden.
Competency of Workers
Workers who represent the Contractor should be competent in that they have the correct level of skills, knowledge, training and experience to carry out the role. Supervision and a point of contact should be provided by the Contractor to all workers in case of any work issues. There should be an adequate number of supervisors on site at any time that reflects the number of workers and the task they are doing. The Supervisor is an integral part of any construction and CDM15 as it is this role that transmits information between workers and the Principal Contractor or Principal Designer. The supervisor should have experience in the type of work being planned, and the degree to which the team need to be supervised will be dependent on the skills and knowledge of the team.
Tools and Equipment
It is the Contractors responsibility to provide workers with adequate plant, tools and equipment, including hand and power tools that are free from damage and suitable for the task at hand. Any materials used should be safe, maintained and disposed of safely. Any latent harm should be identified and the correct precautions taken. While recognised as the last line of defence in the hierarchy of control, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be provided that fits the user thus providing the correct level of protection. This may also include eye protection, respiratory protection and gloves while on task if identified during a risk assessment.
Information and Instruction
The Contractor should pass on relevant information and instructions to all workers. This information should be provided in sufficient time to allow all workers enough time to carry out the work. Using the Supervisor to brief workers or where tasks are considered high risk, a written ‘Safe System of Work’ should be used, with the planned method of construction or installation. The work carried out will need to be coordinated with other Contractors and the Principal Contractor. Where a Contractor intends to sub-contract part of the work, they should inform the Principal Contractor immediately. How information is exchanged between other Contractors, including the Principal Contractor, should be agreed before work begins to allow all parties to manage health and safety while on site and beyond.
Appointing Workers and Sub-contractors
All workers should have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to complete a task or project safely, without risk to their health or the health and safety of others. This will include ensuring that the workforce is trained to an acceptable level for the work they do. As always, supervision is an essential means of monitoring the work and ensuring that the workers are following clear instructions.
Additional information, instruction, training and supervision will be needed to support those who are still developing their experience in order to become self-sufficient in construction practices.
When employing a sub-contractor or another trade to carry out part of the work, the competency and capabilities of the workers to be used must be established. References for the type of work to be carried out should be requested by the Principal Contractor, checking qualifications and training records. There are also Accreditation schemes that Contractors can use to be more accessible to Principal Contractors and Clients as part of a Pre-qualification Questionnaire. Sub-contract workers should be given all the relevant information they need to carry out the task safely; the workers should be briefed by the Contractor before any work starts, this should include ensuring that all access and egress including working platforms and scaffolds are as specified and fit for purpose. Sub-contractors should have their work monitored, and any shortcomings remedied.
Co-operating with Duty Holders
As stated previously, Contractors play a key role in communicating with Principal Contractors and other workers and contractors on site. All work carried out by a Contractor on site could affect the health and safety of not only workers but of parties such as members of the general public. To ensure health and safety apply to all, it will require proper coordination of the work; this can only succeed if a good communication flow is achieved and everyone involved in the project co-operates to reach a collective objective.
What Additional Duties Does A Contractor Have Under CDM Regulations?
How Contractors can consult with Employees
There must be a collaboration between the Contractor as an employer and the workers that are on task to get individuals to work safely.
Involving workers in the decision-making process with regards to health and safety tends to lead to practical solutions.
- Speak to workers about their experience and knowledge about a task or job.
- Increase the potential commitment and buy-in from workers to any Health and Safety topics.
- Are more easily fostered by the workforce,
When experienced workers are consulted on matters of health and safety, it will be easier to:
- Spot workplace hazards
- Implement realistic controls
- Avoid controls being seen as a burden or barrier to completing a task.
Consultation is a proven means of managing Health and Safety on construction projects.
Consultation is about employers giving information to workers that is part of the Construction Phase Plan. It also requires the Contractor as an employer to listen to workers and consider their experience in the field. Any previous issues that workers may have come up against in previous jobs may have had a solution that has not been considered on this project.
Consultation with the workforce should cover:
- The hazards associated with their own work
- The hazards associated with the work of others on the project
- Environmental risks that modern construction techniques may harbour,
- The way these risks are managed
- How information and training can be used to protect relevant workers from specific risks.
Preparing the Construction Phase Plan
Preparing the Construction Phase Plan is the responsibility of the Principal Contractor and should be made up of the following:
- Description of how health and safety will be managed during construction and will contain information that is relevant to all Contractors working on the project.
- Should be available to anyone who wants to see it and therefore the information contained in it should be clear and easily understood with all superfluous information removed.
- Should consider issues such as logistics, working at height, hazardous substances, demolition and groundworks.
- Should be developed before any site is set up or work begins.
While it is the duty of the Principal Contractor to develop the Construction Phase Plan, it is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that the Construction Phase Plan is in place before the work begins.
Providing Welfare Facilities
Welfare includes the provision of toilets, both lit and ventilated and suitable for both sexes. With more and more female staff working on Construction sites, male and female bathrooms are thankfully becoming more common, but are open to abuse if not managed correctly.
Washing facilities with hot and cold water, soap or skin detergent with a means of drying hands should be close to the toilet facility. Separately, but just as important are rest facilities which should be a room with tables and chairs provided and with drinking water and cups as a bare minimum.
Where workers will need to change clothes or dry their workwear, a separate changing/drying room with lockers should be provided. It should be noted that while the lockers should be provided by the Principal Contractor, it is commonly the responsibility of the Contractor to supply their own key and lock.
The supply of Welfare Facilities is part of CDM15. Where one Contractor is charged with a Construction Project, the Welfare Facilities should be suitable and sufficient for the size of the project and should be available from when construction starts until the end of the project.
Where more than one contractor is working on a project, it is the Principal Contractor who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that welfare facilities are provided. It is the Clients responsibility to ensure that suitable arrangements are made for workers by the Principal Contractor.
Providing a Site Induction
Suitable site inductions should be provided by the Principal Contractor, this may be in groups or given to individuals as they start work. Where there is only one Contractor on site, Site Inductions are still a necessary part of the Construction Phase and should cover all the health and safety risks associated with the site. While each Site Induction will differ from project to project, typical topics that should be covered are:
- The Commitment to Health and Safety by the Contractor
- Basic details of the project and the anticipated outcome
- What is the management structure on the site – who are the relevant contacts within the organisation
- What are the site-specific health and safety risks (overhead electricity, trees on site, watercourses nearly, railways )
- How will health and safety on site be controlled via site rule, how will pedestrians and vehicles be segregated, what is the minimum PPE standard, how will deliveries to site be managed, how will temporary electricity be provided, how will hazardous substances be stored)
- What are the procedures for accidents and who is responsible for first aid
- How are accidents on site recorded and how will RIDDOR events be reported to HSE
- When and what will be the subjects of training, toolbox task and task briefings.
- How will the workforce be consulted with
- What is each individual’s responsibility for health and safety while on site
There is a requirement under CDM for Contractors to consult and co-operate with other duty holders, such as the Principal Designer, Principal Contractor, other Contractors, designers and suppliers of goods, labour and materials. It is not the responsibility of one element of the Project supply chain to ensure that health and safety on construction sites are realised it is only when all parties work together that the requirements of the CDM Regulations be realised. Contractors are in a position where they will be pulling lots of elements together to give the Client a structure that shows attention to detail and will be safe to use beyond the construction phase.