School Principal Designer Advisor

Safer Sphere to support Galliford Try with Salford school project

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.

Commercial CDM Services UK

Safer Sphere appointed on dual developments for Cummins

We have been appointed by Fairhurst Design Group as Principal Designer Advisors on two new projects for Cummins Generator Technologies. The first project will involve the development of a new Pilot Centre which will be used as a fuel test centre and the development of a new warehouse and office facility. Both projects will be taking place on their Stamford site and Safer Sphere will be supporting Fairhursts on RIBA stage 1 – 7.

What is PAS 91?

What is PAS 91 and how does it relate to the construction industry?

What is PAS 91?

PAS 91 stands for Publicly Available Specification for prequalification questionnaires in construction-related procurement. It was commissioned by the Government and developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BSI). Following its launch in October 2010, it was seen as a positive step towards addressing the issue that many businesses face when completing Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQ’s). It has undergone two revisions, one in 2013 and more recently in December 2017.

What are the aims of PAS 91?

PAS 91 provides a standard set of questions that can be asked by construction clients, buyers of potential contractors and suppliers as part of the pre-qualification process for construction projects.
The document aims to reduce the time and cost associated with completing PQQ’s, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.

It does this by helping to streamline the tendering process for suppliers by:

• reducing the need for completing multiple prequalification processes;
• reducing the time taken to interpret and answer questions so better responses can be given;
• increasing the confidence that the form is completed correctly;
• allowing more time so more bids can be tendered;
• increasing the likelihood that the prequalification process is participated in;
• freeing up resources that could be used in a potentially more profitable activity;
• allowing SME’s to compete for business with large organisations without the resource/cost burden of the procurement process.

When bidding for a construction project, at any one time, there may be multiple suppliers throughout the supply chain. They all want to show that their skills, knowledge and experience would deem them suitable to deliver the project. The presence of different types of questionnaires, written in many different formats, can lead to unnecessary time, money and effort being spent by the buyer when trying to read, compare and evaluate the contents.

The use of PAS 91 may benefit buyers and their agents by:

• reducing the time spent creating pre-qualification questionnaires;
• improving the quality of the responses received;
• increasing more competition due to the likelihood of more suppliers bidding;
• increasing the number of buyers following good practice (although there are no official means of getting certified, buyers can demonstrate that they follow minimum government standards for construction procurement).

The universal use of PAS 91 could also help to raise the overall standard of communication, understanding and supplier capability across the construction sector.

What is the structure of PAS 91?

There are three parts to PAS 91. One section is made up of mandatory questions that must be asked by the buyer that cover commercial aspects of the company. They include information such as company structure, contact details, financial and health and safety information. There are specific questions to answer depending on whether you are a contractor, designer or service provider. To remain compliant, these questions must use the same wording and appear in the same order.

The next section contains optional questions relating to certain areas of the company, such as Environmental Management, Quality Management, Policies on Equal Opportunities and Diversity and Policy on Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The third section contains a framework for asking a set of additional project-specific questions that establish professional or technical ability. These questions should be chosen carefully to reduce any unnecessary documentation and only request information that is relevant and proportionate to the contract.

How does Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) relate to PAS 91?

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) was founded in 2009 to help SME’s by developing transparent, simple and strategic procurement. Supported by the HSE, SSIP aims to streamline prequalification and encourage straightforward mutual recognition between its Member Schemes. Many suppliers, contractors and designers are registered with an SSIP Member and below are just some of the well-known members and supporters that are accepted:

• CHAS (Construction Health and Safety)
• Acclaim
• Constructionline
• APS (Association for Project Safety)
• SMAS (Safety Management Advisory Service)

These assessment providers can also benefit from the use of PAS 91. It can reduce the time spent on having to develop and refine their own questions and will release more time, so they can focus on developing and selling added value services.

Is PAS 91 a requirement of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015?

When considering CDM15, the guidance does not make the use of PAS 91 compulsory. As the SSIP core criteria for assessments are aligned to this government-backed construction pre-qualification document, it ensures that there is consistency within supply chain management.

Since the implementation of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, PAS 91 has been amended to ensure that it is aligned with the new legislation. It also now addresses the requirements of the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD).
PAS 91:2013 +A1:2017 is the latest version and is more closely aligned with the standard Selection Questionnaire and ESPD. Before this version was published, contracting authorities were required to carry out a ‘pick and mix’ style process, selecting sections from the standard Selection Questionnaire and PAS 91:2013 in an attempt to produce a standard selection/pre-qualification document for procuring works.

The update to PAS 91:2013 has resulted in questions about supplier identity and financial information being amended. These changes now reflect the approach of Part 1 of the Selection Questionnaire, and there are additional tables included in the document for public sector purchasers to use. They list the mandatory and discretionary grounds for exclusion set out in the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations with suppliers required to self-declare.

Has PAS 91 fulfilled its aim?

The overall aim of implementing PAS 91 was to address the problems faced by small and medium-sized businesses when it came to completing a variety of different PQQ’s for different clients. As discussed, the framework set out in PAS 91 allows buyers to use a standardised questionnaire that is familiar to contractors, designers and service providers alike. The latest revision of PAS 91 has brought it in line with the recently updated Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and this ensures that any health and safety issues are considered during the development of the construction project.

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.

Safer Sphere appointed on new distribution warehouse in Wolverhampton

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 appointed on new residential scheme in Tunbridge Wells

Safer Sphere is delighted to have been appointed Client Advisor and Principal Designer Advisor on a new 7-storey residential apartment block in Tunbridge Wells. The project will comprise 3 brand new commercial units, 11 mews houses and a community room.

Safer Sphere appointed on Ablett House re-cladding

Safer Sphere has been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor on the re-cladding project at Ablett House student accommodation in Liverpool. The works involve the removal of the existing aluminium external façade cladding and replacing with new fire-rated aluminium cladding.  Safer Sphere will be supporting the project through RIBA Stages 1 – 7 and helping the client discharge their duties under the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM15).

Safer Sphere appointed dual role on Quadrant House refurbishment

Safer Sphere has been appointed the roles of CDM Client Advisor and Principal Designer Advisor on the Quadrant House refurbishment in Crawley. The project will see a new/refurbished mechanical and electrical installation as part of a comprehensive refurbishment and fit-out of the 5t Floor.

Safer Sphere appointed on School development in Burnley

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

Contractor duties- CDM15

Contractors and the Construction Design and Management regulations 2015

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

  • building,
  • demolition,
  • extensions,
  • 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.

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:

  1. The Commitment to Health and Safety by the Contractor
  2. Basic details of the project and the anticipated outcome
  3. What is the management structure on the site – who are the relevant contacts within the organisation
  4. What are the site-specific health and safety risks (overhead electricity, trees on site, watercourses nearly, railways )
  5. 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)
  6. What are the procedures for accidents and who is responsible for first aid
  7. How are accidents on site recorded and how will RIDDOR events be reported to HSE
  8. When and what will be the subjects of training, toolbox task and task briefings.
  9. How will the workforce be consulted with
  10. 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.

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.