Design and Build – from Concept to End-user

  • blokk
  • 8 years ago

On any major construction project there are a number of crucial stages that need to be managed properly. Firstly, pre-construction, there is the design, then the construction itself, and then, post-construction, the project handover.

To establish the success of a project you will need to ask whether the end result is fit for the purpose it was planned for, if the project was on budget, what the safety and environmental performance was throughout and whether or not there have been compromises made.

It is worth noting that the HSE estimates that the costs of reportable injuries in construction are between £10-10.2 billion, with the cost of non-reportable injuries reaching £216 million. Managing all stages of the process effectively will make sure you do not suffer from these costs and will be able to answer positively when looking at the success of your project.

The Client holds the key to this and, to be effective, they need to plan ahead. They are responsible for all appointments on the project (including that of a competent CDM Coordinator), assessing the competencies of contractors, managing the timings of the project, setting the budget, encouraging communication, promoting a positive culture and influencing design.

Their brief should include a description of the project, objectives and priorities (including safety goals), expectations and an indication of where failings will contribute to accidents and increased costs.

In the pre-construction phase the Client will need to make sure they communicate all relevant information to the designers and contractors. This includes survey information (such as for asbestos), records and drawings, site rules, permit systems, environmental constraints, logistical issues and health and safety files.

Building Regulations will need to be factored in from the start. They apply in England and Wales and promote standards for most aspects of a building’s construction, as well as energy efficiency in buildings and the needs of all people, including those with disabilities, in accessing and moving around buildings.

The Building Regulations apply to most building work; therefore it is important to know when approval is needed.

When it comes to the construction phase the key considerations that need to be taken into account are monitoring performance, a fire strategy, maintenance, FM issues and business continuity. Alongside this the pressure of the work itself and how this may impact on health and safety need to be considered, as does monitoring the performance of contractors.

Clients must also retain and provide access to a health and safety file and revise it as applicable. This is a record of useful information which helps in managing health and safety risks in maintenance, repair, construction or demolition work. This must also be kept available for any future construction work or to pass on to a new owner. A health and safety file should include a brief description of the work, any residual risks, key structural principles, hazardous materials used, any special removal and dismantling, health and safety for cleaning and maintenance, including  key design features such as roof edge protection, and location and markings of services and as-built drawings. It should not include health and safety policies, risk assessments, method statements, waste transfer notes, construction phase plan and the insurance certificate.

Complying with Building Regulations and CDM legislation doesn’t necessarily mean the workplace will be fit for purpose. A good build project should always consider the end user.

To keep any build on track you need to be able to monitor the performance of contractors. You can also benefit from understanding the specifics of a project, such as looking at league tables of contractors to see who performs the best, as well as providing rewards and incentives for those contractors who complete a project under budget or on time (provided this is done without corners being cut).

As well as this you will need to keep one eye on the future with the CDM Regulations due to be reissued in 2014, and proposed changes also planned for the Building Regulations.

Contributed by Simon Toseland – Head of Health and Safety, Workplace Law.