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3 MAR2023

CDM for construction projects with only one contractor

Safescope Team Articles

The CDM 2015 Regulations now apply to all construction. projects, regardless of the project size and duration, and whether the project is domestic or non-domestic.

The appointments of a Principal Contractor and Principal Designer however are not always required, depending on the number of contractors involved in the project.

If a contractor will be carrying out all works on a project themselves and will not be using any other subcontractors to carry out any part of the works then this would be classed as a one contractor project and a Principal Designer does not need to be appointed.

The appointment of a Principal Contractor is also not required however, the contractor would still be required to prepare a Construction Phase Plan for the project and, in the case of a Domestic Client Project, they would still be responsible for fulfilling the Client Duties, which include (among other duties) submitting the F10 notification to the HSE if the threshold is met.

It should be noted that most projects will involve more than one contractor. Even if there will only be one contractor on site at a time (i.e. one contractor finishes their work before the next contractor starts) or one contractor is carrying out the main bulk of the works and another contractor will only be on site for a few days/ hours for some minor works, this would still mean the project is more than one contractor.

Be aware that if the client on a non-domestic project fails to appoint a Principal Designer and/or a Principal Contractor (in writing) when more than one contractor is involved, then the Client themselves will automatically assume the legal duties of both roles.

On a domestic project if the client fails to make the appointments then the role of Principal Designer automatically falls to the main designer and the role of Principal Contractor automatically falls to the main contractor.

On our website you can find several helpful flow diagrams and charts which make it easier to understand how the CDM regulations apply in different project scenarios.

For a general CDM 2015 flowchart, please click here. For a chart which shows the application of the CDM regulations by duty holder, please click here.

For a chart which shows the application of the CDM regulations by relevant documentation, please click here.

For a chart which shows the application of the CDM regulations by relevant documentation, please click here.

3 MAR2023

Knowledge Corner - Scaffold Inspections

Safescope Team Articles

It is the scaffold users/hirers responsibility to ensure that all scaffolding has been inspected as follows:

  • Following installation/before first use
  • At an interval of no more than every 7 days thereafter
  • Following any circumstances liable to jeopardise the safety of the installation e.g. high winds.

All scaffolding inspection should be carried out by a competent person whose combination of knowledge, training and experience is appropriate for the type and complexity of the scaffold.

Competence may have been assessed under the CISRS or an individual may have received training in inspecting a specific type of system scaffold from a manufacturer.

A non-scaffolder who has attended a scaffold inspection course could be deemed competent to inspect a basic scaffold structure. Please refer to the CISRS guide on who is competent to inspect a scaffold.

The scaffold inspection report should note any defects or matters that could give rise to a risk to health and safety and any corrective actions taken, even when those actions are taken promptly, as this assists with the identification of any recurring problem.

3 MAR2023

Hidden killer still in your workplace

Safescope Team Articles

It is not uncommon to think that asbestos is just an issue of the past, after all, we don't use asbestos anymore and the worst forms were banned almost 40 years ago, with a final total ban 24 years ago.

A large number of those currently working in construction will not have been involved when asbestos was widely used in the same way that products are used such as plasterboard, glass fiber insulation, jointing, packing materials, vinyl flooring, decorative finishes and many more.

In the UK we used over 3,000 different types of asbestos products in the construction and maintenance sectors. Although asbestos use may now be seen as a thing of the past, the same cannot be said of the devastation and impact that it has left. Each year more than 5,000 people die in the UK from asbestos–related diseases – a figure that has continued to rise year on year for decades.

A large percentage of this death toll comes from those who have worked in the construction sector or continue to work in the construction sector, where asbestos exposures continue to occur on a daily basis. The risk of exposure to asbestos is high for anyone working on buildings being refurbished, maintained, or demolished. This risk is highest for buildings built before 2000 as the final ban did not occur until 1999.

For decades, health and safety legislation has been introduced to try and combat issues around asbestos. However, these haven't been as effective as we might have hoped – evidenced by the upward trend in the annual death toll. This in part will be due to the latency period of asbestos related health conditions. This is the lag period between being exposed and then developing one of the associated fatal diseases. Unlike many other fatal hazards, there are no instant signs to show when someone has already been exposed. You cannot see the deadly fibers when they are airborne and you won't know that you have breathed them in. The fibers are then lodged within your lungs forever. Signs of a disease won't appear for anything from 10 to even up to 60 years later.

The UK's current asbestos regulations primarily revolve around responsibilities to manage risks from asbestos containing materials (ACMs). In recent years there have been growing concerns that the UK government isn't doing enough to deal with this deadly material. As a result, in the latter quarter of 2021 the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) launched a public inquiry into how the UK government regulates and manages asbestos. The public enquiry produced a report of its findings in late April 2022 with 10 key recommendations. The most contentious of these was the removal of all high–risk ACMs within a 40–year period. Along with a national database to highlight where all ACMs are located within public buildings.

The government issued a response that focuses predominately on existing arrangements and a need for everyone to better understand and implement their responsibilities for managing asbestos risks. However, as our increasing death toll demonstrates, existing arrangements are not effective enough and something needs to change.

In the short term this may result in more enforcement action. Those with responsibilities for identifying and managing asbestos risks must increase their knowledge and understanding. We all in the construction trade are a duty holder under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, by being anyone 'who has by virtue of a contract or tenancy, an obligation of any extent in relation to the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises, or any means of access or egress there from'. Some ACMs will need to be removed, however until such time as everyone fully understands how to assess the risks and properly identify what they must do, then we will most likely continue with our upward death trend which is why it is so important for your employees to be aware of the risks associated with asbestos.

A new asbestos management qualification is due to be launched soon aimed at those with responsibilities for managing construction and maintenance works. It is hoped this will go some way to resolve the lack of awareness.

If you are interested in getting your employees asbestos awareness trained, please visit asbestos training section on this website or contact Zac Norman on 01473 407020 for further information.

27 Oct2022

96% Construction deaths caused by Work at Height

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

10 fewer construction operatives were killed whilst at work between April 2021 and March 2022 than in the previous annual period, a 25% reduction.

Despite the reduction, the construction death rate last year was the highest of any industrial sector.

Of those killed in construction 64% were employed and 36% were self employed. This is why getting working at height right is so important as it is one of the most dangerous site activities if the correct control measures are not in place.

Ensuring the correct equipment is used for each task, having all employees adequately trained, having weekly inspections on scaffolds, checking that ground conditions are inspected prior to use, ensuring rescue plans are in place, having adequate edge protection, considering the use of crash decks and ensuring toe boards are in place are just a few of the control measures that should be in place to help prevent accidents while working from height. Many of the heaviest fines are issued in the wake of working at height accidents.

27 Oct2022

Digging Safely - don't dig yourself into disaster

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

Digging into the ground is a potentially dangerous activity and it seems that more and more companies are doing this in an unsafe way with electrical cable strikes increasing by 46% since the end of lockdown. On average, 70 people each year are seriously injured as a result of contact with underground electricity cables.

Digging can be much harder in urban areas such as London where there are narrow streets and lots of traffic.

HSG47‐ Avoiding Danger from Underground Services from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides importance guidance and outlines three important stages of safe work during excavation:

  • Planning the work
  • Locating and identifying buried services
  • Safe excavation

Figures show however that not everyone is following this practice with a third of construction workers failing to check for underground cables.

Here are 5 crucial tips to help you when you are going underground:

1. Research the project carefully

Designing the preferred route includes making a request for the statutory drawings for utilities. It is also crucial to take time to walk the route because this will provide a clear view of any physical challenges in the area. A visit to site can help identify risks in the work location the may not be marked on drawings. This is far more common that you might realise, as the drawings rarely keep pace with the new addition of road layout, new street furniture, pipes and cables.

2. Plan and Check

Although a CAT scanner can be used to track electrical cables, it does not provide accurate depths. If cables have been laid incorrectly this can be very dangerous to anyone working on the project. Sometimes high voltage cables have been laid at 180mm depth when the depth should have been 750mm. Planning and checking could save your life.

3. Give it enough time

Projects are always time pressed, especially when working in the city with tight deadlines. Sometimes it is not always about time, but about space. Ideally, an excavation contractor should work 500mm either side of a cable to avoid contact, but, if a cable lies very close to the edge of the allocated work area it could be tempting to lift the tarmac and see what is there. This is where accidents will happen. It is vital to take time and assess how to proceed to undertake the work safely (by extending the work zone or extending the permit). Planning ahead means that decisions are not left to a time-pressed site manager who may make bad decisions with the best intentions.

4. Pre-plan and assess proposed routes

This can highlight danger areas. Potential problems can be controlled by instructing excavation teams on how to investigate (for example, by implementing no dig-zones) clear instructions can reduce the risk of a bad decision being made.

5. Put safety first!

Everyone knows the importance of putting safety first not only for ourselves but for our colleagues and our clients. With accidents on the rise on excavation projects, it is time to put that same focus on ensuring contactors adopt robust safety standards.

27 Oct2022

New Construction Fire Safety Guidance

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

The Health and Safety Executive has recently published a revised version of its fire safety in construction (HSG168) document.

Several years in the making, the latest edition contains guidance explaining the need to eliminate and/or mitigate fire risks during the design phase.

The guidance, aimed at all those working on construction projects who produce, design, develop and manage construction sites, including clients and designers, is intended to enable construction professionals to achieve good fire safety management and compliance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015.

It also suggests how to prevent fires from starting and ensuring people's safety if they do.

Construction fire safety needs to be managed from the earliest stages of design and procurement and needs to address the risks both to site works and to persons living or working in neighbouring buildings. This may mean reviewing particular construction methods, materials, or a site specific location to achieve effective fire risk reduction at the planning stage. Where design risk reduction is not practicable, specific mitigation measures must be identified by the designers and Principal Designer.

It is essential to consider fire measures throughout all stages of the design and procurement process and to implement them effectively during the construction phase.

The risk assessment and fire safety measures must identify high-risk activities or construction methods where fires can spread quickly, and situations where evacuation plans are complex. All risk assessments and control measures must be reviewed during the construction phase to ensure they remain suitable and sufficient during the ever changing environment and conditions.

The new guidance can be found here.

17 June2021

Simple and Visual CDM Duties

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

In an effort to make the CDM Regulations easier to understand, we at Safescope we have prepared the following CDM Duties Guides (for Client, Designer, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor). These guides are simplified on page and visual versions to help understand different duties in an easy and visual manner. Any feedback or comments are most welcome.

Client CDM Duties
Designer CDM Duties
Principal Designer CDM Duties
Principal Contractor CDM Duties

2 June2021

A Simple Guide*to CDM 2015 Regulations

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

The CDM Regulations are complex and difficult to understand, especially for those who are not involved with them on regular basis. We (Safescope) have put together the below guide to explain as simply as possible how the CDM Regulations apply on different construction projects.

Domestic Clients: domestic clients are people who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member, which is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not.

Non-domestic (Commercial) Clients: non-domestic (commercial) clients are people or organisations that have construction work carried out in connection with a business, whether for profit or not. For example, a client is having work carried out to their own home but is paying for the work through a company; this makes them a non-domestic client. One Contractor: means that only one contractor (including any sub-contractors) will be involved in construction work.

There are essentially four project scenarios:

Safescope CDM 2015 Simplified Guidance

1. Domestic Client Project Involving One Contractor

  • Client Duties: to be fulfilled by the contractor.
  • Designer Duties: to be fulfilled by the designers involved.
  • Principal Designer (PD) Duties: PD appointment is not required.
  • Principal Contractor (PC) Duties: PC appointment is not required.
  • Construction Phase Plan (CPP): to be prepared by the contractor.
  • Health and Safety File: Health and Safety File is not required.

2. Non-domestic Client Project Involving One Contractor

  • Client Duties: to be fulfilled by the client.
  • Designer Duties: to be fulfilled by the designers involved.
  • Principal Designer (PD) Duties: PD appointment is not required.
  • Principal Contractor (PC) Duties: PC appointment is not required.
  • Construction Phase Plan (CPP): to be prepared by the contractor.
  • Health and Safety File: Health and Safety File is not required.

3. Domestic Client Project Involving More than One Contractor

  • Client Duties: to be fulfilled by the appointed PC by default or by the PD by written agreement.
  • Designer Duties: to be fulfilled by the designers involved.
  • Principal Designer (PD) Duties: PD appointment is required. If the client fails to appoint a PD then the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project automatically becomes the PD.
  • Principal Contractor (PC) Duties: PC appointment is required. If the client fails to appoint a PC then the contractor in control of the construction phase of the project automatically becomes the PC.
  • Pre-construction Information: to be prepared by the PD.
  • Construction Phase Plan (CPP): to be prepared by the PC. Health and Safety File: to be prepared by the PD.

4. Non-domestic Client Project Involving More than One Contractor

  • Client Duties: to be fulfilled by the client
  • Designer Duties: to be fulfilled by the designers involved
  • Principal Designer (PD) Duties: PD appointment is required. If the client fails to appoint a
  • PD in writing then the client must fulfil the PD duties.
  • Principal Contractor (PC) Duties: PC appointment is required. If the client fails to appoint a
  • PC in writing then the clients must fulfil the PC duties.
  • Pre-construction Information: to be prepared by the PD.
  • Construction Phase Plan (CPP): to be prepared by the PC.
  • Health and Safety File: to be prepared by the PD.

*Please note that the above guide is only a simplified version produced to clarify the basic duties. However, project specific details will be required to provide accurate information and advice on application of the CDM Regulations.

2 June2021

Types of Asbestos Surveys

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

There appears to be some misunderstanding on type of asbestos survey required for construction work. We will explain this as follows:

There are 2 main types of asbestos surveys; a management asbestos survey and a refurbishment and demolition (RAD) asbestos survey.

A management asbestos survey is required during the normal occupation and use of a commercial building or common areas of a residential building (i.e. staircases and corridors within a block of flats) to ensure continued management of any asbestos containing materials (ACM's) in-situ. The purpose of this survey is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition. A management survey can be completed using a combination of sampling ACMs and presuming ACMs or just presuming.

A refurbishment and demolition (RAD) asbestos survey is necessary when the building, or part of it, is to be upgraded, refurbished or demolished. This type of survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. The survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach. A refurbishment and demolition survey may also be required in other circumstances, e.g. when more intrusive maintenance and repair work will be carried out or for plant removal or dismantling. In this type of survey, asbestos is identified so that it can be removed (rather than to 'manage' it), the survey does not normally assess the condition of the asbestos, other than to indicate areas of damage or where additional asbestos debris may be present. However, where the asbestos removal may not take place for some time, the ACMs' condition will need to be assessed and the materials managed.

In a nutshell, for proposed construction works a refurbishment and demolition (RAD) asbestos survey is required.

2 June2021

CDM - Designer Risk Assessments

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015 require designers to provide comprehensive information, about the risks originating from their designs, to client, principal designer, other designers, principal contractor and contractors (Regulations 8(6), 9(3)(b) and 9(4)). The above information should include design, construction and post-completion maintenance phases. For clarification, 'designers' include architects, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors, chartered surveyors, interior designers, temporary works engineers, technicians or anyone who specifies or alters a design.

It is now a well established practice to use Designer Risk Assessments (DRAs) to fulfil the above requirements. However, this information can also be included on drawings etc. We (Safescope) act as Principal Designers and receive a number of DRAs on a regular basis. Disappointingly, the majority of DRAs (almost 90%) tend to be very generic and a tick box exercise. In reality, DRAs are a great opportunity for designers to proactively inform the relevant parties about the risks that they are aware of in a project .

Residual DRAs at post completion stage are essential to inform the client about the residual risks that the client is expected to manage. Failure to provide this information can lead to injuries during post completion maintenance phase resulting in potential liability or even prosecution for designers.

However, it is also a fact that there are no good examples or effective CPD training courses available to assist the designers in writing project specific and effective DRAs. The DRA template should include design, pre-construction, construction and post completion sections and ideally should be no more than two A4 pages for a medium size project (say up to £1m). Safescope have developed 'A Practical Guidance on Designer Duties' and a 'Sample DRA' to assist designers. Please contact us to receive a free copy of the Guidance and Sample DRA.

2 June2021

CDM Principal Designer (PD) Role

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

Who is the Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer (PD) is the designer with control over the pre-construction phase of the project. This is from very earliest stage of a project (i.e. concept design) through to planning and may extend right up to the delivery of the construction work. The PD must be appointed in writing by the Client for any construction work that involves more than one contractor.

What does the Principal Designer do?

A PD, in principle, is responsible for health and safety aspects of the design. The PD must make the Client aware of their duties under the Construction Design Management Regulations 2015 (CDM Regulations). PD then must plan, manage and monitor health and safety in the pre-construction phase, including; identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks; and ensuring Designers carry out their duties.

The PD has many more duties which are explained under Part 3 of CDM Regulations and HSE Guidance Document L153.

The Principal Designer and Domestic Client Projects!

CDM Regulations apply to all construction work including Domestic Client projects. PD duties must be fulfilled on any Domestic Client project which involves more than one contractor. A Domestic Client project is any construction work carried out purely for someone's own personal residential use and is not intended for profit and has no connection with commercial or voluntary organisations. Domestic Client duties under CDM Regulations are passed on to others who are carrying out the work on their behalf (such as main Designer and main Contractor).

The Pre-Construction Information!

The PD is responsible for ensuring that the right information reaches the right people at the right time. It should be prepared early in the project so that it can be provided to any designers and contractors as part of the tendering and procurement process. This enables those preparing bids to assess the resources they will need to allocate to perform their duties under the CDM Regulations. The amount of detail included in Pre-construction Information (PCI) should be enough to ensure that significant risks can be anticipated, focussing on those risks that could not reasonably be anticipated. Information generally required in the PCI include but not limited to; project description, key dates, contact details of project team, extent and location of existing information etc. along with safety hazards such as existing services etc . health hazards such as asbestos etc and significant design and construction hazards and Health and Safety File format etc.

2 June2021

Timber Frame Buildings, 16 Steps to Fire Safety

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

Timber Frame Buildings and 16 Steps to Fire Safety - Principal Designer and Principal Contractor Considerations

Fire is a hazard during most construction processes and it is important that precautions are in place to both prevent fires and ensure that people can escape to safety if fire does occur. During the construction phase timber frame and structural timber buildings are more vulnerable because the precautions for the finished building are not in place. It is therefore critical that suitable and proportionate steps are taken to manage the risk from fire and that these are planned during the design and pre-construction phase, and then implemented fully during the construction process.

The Principal Designer (PD) should review and Implement steps 1 to 3

The Principal Contractor (PC) should review and implement relevant steps 4 to 16

  • Step 1: Legal and insurance requirements (design stage)

  • Step 2: Designing out fire risk (design stage)

  • Step 3: Consideration of fire risk during construction (design stage)

  • Step 4: Legal requirements (pre-site start)

  • Step 5: Appointment of a Fire safety co-ordinator to take ownership of the fire risk assessment process (pre-site start)

  • Step 6: Preparation of Site Fire Safety Plan (pre-site start)

  • Step 7: Effective Communication and Regular Liaison (pre-site start)

  • Step 8: Promoting a 'fire safe' working environment (construction phase)

  • Step 9: Installation of Fire Detection and Warning systems (construction phase)

  • Step 10: Establishment of Emergency Escape Routes (construction phase)

  • Step 11: Site Security (construction phase)

  • Step 12: Fire Safe Site Facilities (construction phase)

  • Step 13: Plant, Equipment and Vehicles (construction phase)

  • Step 14: Site Organisation and Tidiness (construction phase)

  • Step 15: Checks, Inspections and tests throughout the construction phase (construction phase)

  • Step 16: Implementation of Permits to Work system (construction phase)

Source Structural Timber Association, please download a copy.

2 June2021

CDM Client Duties

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

Who is a Commercial Client?

Organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out that is done as part of a business.

Who is a Domestic Client?

People who have construction work carried out on their own home (or the home of a family member) that isNOT done as part of a business.

Commercial Client Duties Summary

Make suitable arrangements for managing a project, including making sure:

  • Other duty holders (including Principal Designer and Principal Contractor) are appointed as appropriate
  • Sufficient time and resources are allocated
  • Make sure relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders
  • The Principal Designer and Principal Contractor carry out their duties
  • Welfare facilities are provided
  • HSE are notified about the construction work using F10, if threshold requirements are met.

Domestic Client Duties Summary

Though in scope of CDM, their client duties are normally transferred to:

  • The contractor for single contractor projects
  • The Principal Contractor for projects with more than one contractor

  • However, the domestic client can instead choose to have a written agreement with the Principal Designer to carry out the client duties.

    The Domestic Client and The Principal Designer!

    CDM applies to all construction work including domestic projects. As a domestic client your duties under CDM are passed on to others who are carrying out the construction work on your behalf (such as designers and contractors). If a domestic client has appointed an architect (or otherdesigner) on a project involving more than one contractor, they can ask them to manage the project and take on the client duties instead of the Principal Contractor. The designer then takes on the responsibilities of PD and must have a written agreement with the domestic client, confirming they have agreed (as PD) to take on the client duties as well as their own responsibilities.

    Any designer in charge of co-ordinating and managing a project is assumed to be the PD. However, if they do not have a written agreement with the domestic client to confirm they are taking on the client duties, those duties automatically pass to the Principal Contractor.