We are pleased to have been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor by Griffen Developments on the demolition of the Deltic Avenue office building. The demolition of the existing building will make way for a new larger unit on the site and will be to a similar standard of the other units developed by Griffen. It is great to continue to support Griffen Developments on this and other future industrial projects.
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.
We are pleased to announce that Safer Sphere is expanding and has signed up to a brand new office at Princes Dock in Liverpool. The move comes off the back of the multiple projects and clients that are based in the area and shows the businesses on-going commitment to the city.
The new office will be open from May, and Safer Sphere will share the 3,519 sq ft first floor at 8 Princes Dock with Walker Sime and Planit-ie. The Princess Dock office is a modern five-storey Grade ‘A’ office building complete with a newly remodelled and refurbished double height entrance and reception area, located on the Liverpool Waterfront.
Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “Liverpool has proved itself a real success story as a city, and there is a hive of development in the city. It is important for us to be able to deliver our services to a high standard and as such having a local presence in the area will play a key part in that. The new office along with our ongoing investment in our services and team will allow us to continue with our growth plans. We hope to continue working closely with our Liverpool clients as well and building new relationships with local businesses.”
Safer Sphere will join other prestigious businesses on the Liverpool Waterfront including KPMG, Malmaison, Saville’s and Bibby to name just a few. The Liverpool office will act as an additional office and presence in the heart of Liverpool, and Safer Sphere’s head office will remain in St Helens.
We are pleased to have been appointed on a further project at Worcester Hospital. We have already assisted on several projects at the hospital over the past year and the new project will see the development of a new Discharge Lounge. Safer Sphere will be supporting the project as CDM Client Advisor and Principal Designer Advisor.
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.
Safer Sphere is pleased to have been shortlisted for a North West Grafters Award in the ‘Best Specialist Supplier’ category. The shortlisting is credit to our team and the great support from our clients. Voting opens Friday 9th March and closes Friday 23rd March. Please go online and vote for us. Grafters Voting
Safer Sphere has been appointed the role of Principal Designer Advisor from Galliford Try on their latest pupil referral unit in Salford. The project named ‘The Clifton Centre’ will see the construction of a new replacement PRU facility, and demolition of the existing main EFAA & EFAB blocks as well as works to the external area.