Tag - Principal Contractor Advisor

CDM Contractor Duties Advice

Further Duties For The Contractor To Comply With CDM15 Regulations

In previous articles we have considered the duty of the Contractor under CDM15 and the role of the Contractor; the duty to manage the work safely, how a Contractor may check the competency of workers on the project team, safety with tools, equipment and materials and any information and instruction that is passed to the contractor from the Pre-Construction Phase or during the Construction Phase of the project.

It must be remembered that the flow of information will be two way and the Contractor must keep the Construction Phase Plan up to date and expect that the Principal Contractor manage the Plan similarly.

Here we are going to delve deeper into the requirements for consultation and co-operation with other duty holders.

How Contractors can consult with Employees

There must be collaboration between Contractors as employer and the workers that are on task to get individuals to work safely. Involving workers in the decision making process with regards health and safety tends to lead to practical solutions, practical solutions that increase the potential commitment and buy in from workers to any Health and Safety topics.

Practical solutions are more easily fostered by the workforce, practical solutions generally come from speaking to workers about their experience and knowledge about a task or job. When experienced workers are consulted on matters of health and safety, it will be easier to spot workplace hazards and to implement realistic controls that will not be seen as a burden or barrier to completing a task to programme.

Consultation is a proven means of managing Health and Safety on construction projects. Consultation is not only about employers giving information to workers that is part of the Construction Phase Plan, but also requires the Contractor as an employer to listen to workers and consider their experience in the field and previous issues that they have come up against in similar situations.

Consultation with the work force should cover the hazards associated from their own work and the work of others working on the project as well as those environmental risks that modern construction techniques may harbour, the way these risks are managed and how information and training to protect workers from relevant risks should be discussed at length.

Preparing the Construction Phase Plan

Preparing the Construction Phase Plan is the responsibility of the Principal Contractor where more than one Contractor is present on site. In situations where there is only one Contractor, the Construction Phase Plan cannot be left up to another contractor as there is essentially no one to pass this duty to.

A Construction Phase Plan describes how health and safety will be managed during construction and will contain information that is relevant to all Contractors working on the project. The Construction Phase Plan 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. Issues such as logistics, working at height, hazardous substances, demolition and groundworks should all be considered and included in the Construction Phase Plan if the works include it.

Before any site is set up or work begins in the Construction Phase, the Plan should be developed. 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 toilets 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, a room with tables and chairs with drinking water and cups is 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. Were 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 provided for workers welfare 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 may be:

  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 site specific health and safety risks (overhead electricity, trees on site, watercourses nearly, railways etc)
  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.

Safer Sphere appreciates that the CDM Regulations 2015 and Health and Safety Legislation can be a burden to small and medium-sized contractors. Such organisations rarely have the resource to employ internal Health and Safety professionals, meaning the burden is applied to those managing the organisation or supervising construction activities.

Our aim in this department is to reduce that burden by providing compliant Contractor CDM Support, which enables contractors to make Health and Safety a simple process and gives them the ability to concentrate their efforts in providing quality and cost-effective solutions in their chosen field. Whether you are a “contractor” or acting as “Principal Contractor”, Safer Sphere are here to help you!

Principal Contractor And Employees

What do you need to know about your employees as a Principal Contractor?

A Principal Contractor will need to appoint contractors and workers from different trades and at various stages of the construction process. It is their responsibility to ensure that all contractors and workers on the site have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience for the work they are carrying out.

Some contractors/workers will be very experienced in the job they do while others will be new to the profession. Additional information, instruction, training and supervision will be needed to support those who are still developing their experience to become self-sufficient in safe and healthy construction practices.

When a Principal Contractor employs or controls people doing work for them, under the CDM15 Regulations, they must make sure that:

  • they have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to do the job safely and without putting their own or others’ health and safety at risk;
  • they are supervised and given clear instructions;
  • they have the right tools, equipment, plant, materials and protective clothing;
  • they and their representatives are made aware of health and safety issues;
  • arrangements for employees’ health surveillance are made where required.

Who is classed as an employee?

If a person working under the control and direction of a Principal Contractor is treated as self-employed for tax and national insurance purposes, they are still classed as an employee for health and safety purposes. Whether they are employed or self-employed, action needs to be taken to protect all people under their control.

It is common practice for Principal Contractors to appoint contractors, subcontractors and different trades to work on a construction project. When this is done it is essential that they:

  • check their health and safety capabilities;
  • give them the health and safety information they need for the work;
  • talk about the work with them before they start;
  • ensure that everything is provided and agreed before they start (for example safe scaffolds, plant and access to welfare facilities);
  • monitor their performance and remedy any shortcomings.

How is a contractor’s competence determined?

It is important that Principal Contractors make specific enquires about the basic health and safety capabilities of anyone that they are going to employ on a job.

Smaller Projects

On a smaller project, it would be appropriate to ask for evidence from any potential contractor that they are capable of carrying out the work. This could be done by simply asking if they have done this type of work before, requiring references from previous construction work, checking qualifications or training records or by asking them how they plan to carry out the work safely without risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.

Larger Projects

On more complicated or higher risk projects, it is necessary to make more in-depth enquiries. These enquiries can be achieved by using a Construction Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), more commonly referred to as PAS 91. It comprises of a set of health and safety questions that can be asked as part of the pre-qualification process for construction projects to assess the construction supply chain.

Accurately accessing the competence of any potential contractor is essential. However, it is preferable to only make enquiries for information that will address the anticipated risks and capability of the supplier. If the pre-qualification questions are excessive or duplicated, it can take the attention away from the practical management of risks.

 

Management and Supervision

Once the competency of the contractor has been established, appropriate management and supervision throughout the project must be decided and agreed.

Those managing and supervising the work must have the right mix of skills, knowledge, training and experience. There must be an adequate number of supervisors to reflect the size of the project and workforce. The appointed supervisor working on the site will not only need to be familiar with the type of work planned but will also have to provide the level of supervision required to reflect the level of risk associated with the work. The degree of supervision required will be determined by the level of supervision provided by the contractors themselves. Other additional factors to be aware of is the skill level, knowledge, training and experience of the contractor.

 

Why is it important to engage with Contractors and Workers?

Consultation with all levels of the workforce is crucial to successfully manage health and safety on site. Key information on health and safety risks, including relevant parts of the construction phase plan, need to be shared with contractors. These vital pieces of information should be communicated to workers through induction and worker engagement. The process should be two-way, giving both parties, (or their safety representatives) an opportunity to contribute to decision making.

Engaging Contractors

On a busy construction site, there may be multiple contractors working in close proximity to each other. The Principal Contractor has a responsibility to ensure safe working, co-ordination and co-operation between contractors; this communication is essential to ensure that all contractors and workers on the project are aware of:

  • what has to be done and what is expected of them,
  • when it will be done,
  • how it will be done safely and without risk to anyone’s

Effective coordination will help reduce any possible risks that could occur by contractors working in close proximity on site. It enables different trades to access shared facilities, e.g. scaffolding, without compromising the safety on site.

This coordination of work can be addressed at site meetings when representatives of all contractors are present, and co-operation should be discussed when a new activity or construction phase begins.

Engaging workers

Health and Safety can be managed in a practical way when collaboration with workers is undertaken; this partnership is important because it:

  • helps with the identification of workplace risks;
  • makes sure health and safety controls are practical;
  • increases the level of commitment to working in safe and healthy environment.

Workplaces, where the workers are all involved in helping to make decisions about health and safety, tend to have less incidents. Workers must be consulted, in good time, on health and safety matters and it doesn’t matter whether the workplace is unionised or not. In workplaces where a trade union is recognised, this will be carried out through trade union health and safety representatives. In non-unionised workplaces, consultation can either be direct or through other elected representatives. Consultation involves employers not only providing the relevant information to workers but also listening to them and taking into account what they say before making decisions that affect their health and safety.

Issues that workers should be consulted on include:

  • risks arising from their work;
  • risks from others or the environment they are working in;
  • proposals to manage and/or control these risks;
  • the best ways of providing information and training.

Effective communication and consultation at all levels will help to improve the overall health and safety of everyone working in construction.

 

 

CDM Legal Actions

The legal implications of ignoring the CDM15 Regulations

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 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.

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.

Client Duties CDM

What Are The Clients Duties CDM15?

Part 2 of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (CDM15) covers Client duties in relation to the pre-construction and the construction phases. Sufficient time and resources must be made for managing a project. Arrangements made by a Client can be considered suitable if the work on the construction site can be carried out without risk to health or safety of any person affected by the project and that the minimum welfare facilities required for construction sites (Schedule 2 of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015) are provided in respect to anyone carrying out the work. It is the client’s duty to see that these arrangements are reviewed throughout the project and that they are maintained to the recognised standard.

Managing Projects

During the pre-construction phase, the Client must provide information to each and every designer or contractor who has been appointed or is being considered for appointment. The client must ensure that the [Principal] Contractor draws up a construction phase plan and that the Principal Designer prepares a Health and Safety file for the project appropriate to the characteristics of the project which must contain information relating to the project which is likely to be needed during any subsequent project, such as extension, refurbishment or demolition, to ensure the health and safety of any person in the future. Every time new or appropriate information becomes available, the Health and Safety file will be revised with appropriate relevancy. It is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that the Health and Safety file is kept available for inspection for any person who may require to see it in order to comply with any relevant legal requirements.

It is the duty of the Client to take reasonable steps to ensure that the Principal Designer complied with all Principal Designer duties and that the Principal Contractor complies with the Principal Contractor duties set out in CDM15. Should the Client not appoint a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor, the duties of these roles will automatically become the responsibility of the Client. Should the Client sell or lease the property to a third party, that is if one client disposes interest in the structure to another, it is the responsibility to provide the Health and Safety file to the person acquiring the client’s interest in the structure.

Where there are many clients involved in the structure, they may agree in writing that for the purpose of the CDM Regulations one client will be responsible; the only Client for the Construction project. Only the Client(s) agreed in writing are subject to the duties owed by a client under the CDM Regulations. While a person with a duty or function under these Regulations must cooperate with any other person working on or in relation to a project, at the same or an adjoining construction site, to the extent necessary to enable any person with a duty or function to fulfil that duty or function. Any person who is required by these Regulations to provide information or instruction must ensure the information or instruction is comprehensible and provided as soon as is practicable.

Appointment Of The Principal Designer And The Principal Contractor

Where it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project, the client must appoint in writing a Principal Designer to control the pre-construction phase and one contractor to oversee the construction; a Principal Contractor. These appointments must be made as soon as possible, and certainly must be in place before the construction phase begins, or as previously stated, the duties and responsibilities of the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor will become the responsibility of the Client.

HSE Notification

Where a construction project is to last longer than 30 working days, have more than 20 workers at any point in the project or exceed 500 person days, then it is Notifiable. Where a project is notifiable, it is the Clients responsibility to give notice to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in writing before the construction phase begins.

The details of CDM15 Schedule 1 must be contained in the Notice:

Regulation 6
SCHEDULE 1
Particulars to be notified under regulation 6 (Notification)
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.

This notice must be clearly displayed in construction site office in a form that can be read by any worker, any changes to the Notice must be updated as necessary.

Application To Domestic Clients

Previously left out of the CDM Regulations, Domestic Clients are now enshrined in law under CDM15. Where a client is domestic, the client’s duties must be carried out by a contractor where there is only one contractor, a Principal Contractor where there is more than one Contractor or a Principal Designer where there is a written agreement for the undertaking from the Principal Designer. If a domestic client does not make appointments of a Principal Contractor or Principal Designer, the designer in control of the pre-construction phase becomes the Principal Designer and the contractor in charge of the Construction Phase becomes the Principal Contractor. In a domestic situation, the client will not have duties under CDM15.

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Duties of a principal contractor

The Role Of Principal Contractor Explained

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;
and
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

Diverse Workforce

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.