Safer Sphere South, London CDM, South CDM, Prinicpal Designer London

Safer Sphere continue growth with Southern office

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 hires new Southern Regional Associate Director

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.”

Competence CDM15

Competency (SKET) are you competent to discharge your duties?

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:
  • Contractors
  • Primary contractors
  • Designers
  • 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.

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.

Dandara, Tunbridge Wells, CDM, CDM London, Dandara, PRS

Safer Sphere appointed on Tunbridge Wells residential scheme

Safer Sphere is pleased to announce our appointment on a brand-new residential scheme known as ‘1887 The Pantiles’ in Tunbridge Wells. The new development will see the construction of 127 new apartments and townhouses along with commercial units and parking. Safer Sphere is supporting Dandara on the project in the roles of Principal Designer Advisor at RIBA stages 1 – 4 and Client CDM Advisor for the duration of the development.

CDM London, HSE, Asbestos

HSE initiative to target London Construction Health Inspection

The HSE has announced that they will be conducting their latest inspection initiative and it will target London sites. The inspections which start this week will focus primarily on health, and asbestos work, in particular, looking at the measures in place to protect workers from occupational lung disease when carrying out common construction tasks. The inspections will be taking up until the 17th February and will help combat ill health from asbestos and silica dust. If you are unsure about Asbestos on a site in the London area, let us support you. We are here to help you remain safe and compliant.

Assocation for Project Safety, CDM, Safer Sphere

Safer Sphere achieves APS Corporate Membership for third time

Safer Sphere has achieved the Association for Project Safety (APS) Corporate Membership for the third year in a row without any non-conformities. This is a wonderful achievement for the business and it is down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team!

Prinicpal Designer Advisor, Kingsmere Retail Park, CDM,

Safer Sphere appointed on Kingsmere Retail Park development

We are delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on the development of the new Kingsmere Retail Park, formerly known as Bicester Gateway Retail Park, in Oxford Road, Bicester. The project started this week with completion scheduled for late October 2019. We will be supporting Leach Rhodes Walker on the scheme in the role of Principal Designer Advisor

CDM London, Canary Wharf, Barry's Gym, Prinicpal Designer Advisor

Safer Sphere appointed on Barry’s Gym Canary Wharf

Safer Sphere is delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on the new Barry’s Bootcamp Gym project in Canary Wharf. We will be acting in the roles of Prinicpal Designer Advisor to Recom Solutions and Client CDM Advisor to Barry’s Bootcamp. Safer Sphere was previously appointed on the recent fit-out of Barry’s Bootcamp in Manchester and delighted to continue the project team in London.

CDM, Safer Sphere, 100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester

Safer Sphere appointed on 100 Barbirolli Square

Safer Sphere will be supporting 5Plus Architects in the role of Principal Designer Advisor on the refurbishment of 100 Barbirolli Square in Manchester. The appointment comes off the back of the success of the recent refurbishment of 101 Barbirolli Square where we also supported 5Plus Architects on the project.

The proposals include reconfiguring the existing entrance and reception area to include a new tenant hub with coffee bar offer; converting a level of  the basement car park into a new office floor, reconfiguring the atrium and dropping the atrium floor down a level, creating a large cycle hub with changing rooms accessed directly from the street and at roof level extending the top floor office whilst creating two roof terraces. The design increases the office space to circa 150,000 ft2.

The scheme has now been submitted for planning and work will start on site in 2019 with completion in 2020.

Protecting the public under CDM15 regulations

Protecting the Public under CDM 2015

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) are the primary set of rules governing construction projects. It applies to all construction and building work and includes every type of project from new build and conversions to refurbishment and demolition.

Part of the law requires those in charge of construction projects to carry out operations without posing a danger to the public. This includes other workers who can potentially be affected by the construction work.

According to HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick, construction companies must make it a priority to secure their construction sites to prevent access by unauthorised parties. These sites can be full of hazards that vulnerable people such as children may not be able to fully understand.

Under CDM 2015, the project client should provide all necessary information about the following particulars:

  • Site boundaries
  • Usage of land bordering the construction site
  • Site access
  • Steps to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site

This information will guide the measures taken by contractors. Key issues that need to be addressed are:

  • Managing access to the site
  • Any hazards that could present a danger to the public
  • Vulnerable groups that may be affected

All construction sites must have:

  • Defined measures to manage access across designated boundaries and,
  • Steps to prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to the work site

While there has been a decline in the numbers of children being injured or killed on construction sites, complacency must be avoided. Two or three children die every year after accessing building sites, and many more are seriously injured.

It’s not just children who are at risk but also other members of the public, such as passers-by, can be injured by:

  • Tools or materials that fall outside the boundaries of the job site
  • Tripping and falling into trenches
  • Being hit by moving construction vehicles

For maximum efficacy, the pre-construction information from the client should include:

  • All project boundaries
  • Information about adjacent land use
  • Access information
  • Measures to keep unauthorised people out

To manage site access, the following are required.

Site Boundaries

To manage public risk, boundaries must be defined by suitable fencing. The fence type should be consistent with the type of site and the surroundings. Contractors need to determine what the perimetre will consist of, supply the fencing, and maintain it once erected.

Questions that contractors must ask themselves include:

  • What is the type and nature of the construction work being performed
  • How heavily populated is the area?
  • Who will need to visit the site while work is being carried out?
  • Will children be attracted to the site?
  • What are the characteristics of the site? For example, location, proximity to other buildings, current site boundaries.

In populated areas, this will typically mean a mesh fence around two metres high or hoarding around the construction site.

Authorisation

The primary contractor must take adequate measures to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site.

  • People may be restricted to certain areas or authorised to access the entire site.
  • The contractor must explain applicable site rules to authorised parties and perform any required induction.
  • They may have to accompany or supervise some authorised parties while on site or accessing certain areas.

Hazards that Present a Risk to the Public

Many construction site hazards present a risk to visitors and the general public. Contractors must consider if they exist on a certain project and, if so, how they will manage them.

  • Falling objects: Objects must not be able to fall outside the site boundaries. Contractors may have to use brick guards, netting, toe-boards, fans, and covered walkways.
  • Site vehicles. Contractors must ensure that pedestrians cannot be hit by vehicles entering or leaving the site.
  • Access equipment. Measures must be taken to prevent people outside the site boundary from being hit while scaffolding and other access equipment is being erected, used, and dismantled.
  • Stacking and storing materials. Reduce the risks associated with storing materials by storing them within the perimetre of the site, ideally in a secure location or away from the fencing.
  • Excavations and openings. People can be hurt if they fall into excavati9ns, stairwells, and other open areas.
  • Other hazards include road works, slips, trips, and falls in pedestrian areas, hazardous substances, plant equipment and machinery, dust, noise, and vibration, and energy sources such as electricity.

Vulnerable Groups

Children, the elderly, and people with certain disabilities may need special consideration, especially if work is being done in locations like hospitals and schools.

Children can be attracted to construction sites as potential play areas. Constractors must take all reasonable steps to keep them from accessing the site and endangering themselves.

The steps below are especially important for child safety:

  • When work is finished for the day, secure the site thoroughly
  • Cover or erect barriers around pits and excavations
  • Immobilise vehicles and lock them away if possible
  • Store building materials such as cement bags, manhole rings, and pipes so that they cannot tip or roll over
  • Remove access ladders from scaffolds and excavations
  • Make sure that all hazardous substances are locked away

Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.