Whether it’s maintenance or refurbishment, any building work in a business property is subject to certain regulations intended to ensure that the work is done to the right standards, and with the right health and safety measures in place.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, first put into place in 1994, set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves and anyone affected by the work. On the 6th April this year, these regulations were updated to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).
So, if you’re considering an office refurbishment, what might this mean for you?
If your project is anticipated to involve more than one contractor – and as this includes sub-contractors, this will be the case for the majority of projects – you will need to appoint a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor to oversee the work. The role of CDM Co-ordinator is no more – this means that health and safety responsibilities are now retained within the project, rather than being outsourced.
Because you will no longer have a CDM Co-ordinator, if your project needs to be notified to the HSE this will now be your responsibility. Your project needs to be notified if the construction work on site is scheduled to:
a) Last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point during the project
b) Exceed 500 person days.
The new regulations also mean that every project will need a construction phase plan to be drawn up and put into place.
Anybody whose project was already underway before the 6th April will be subject to some transitional arrangements, but if you’re looking at a new project which hasn’t begun yet, the 2015 regulations will be the ones you need to follow.
Right at the beginning, you need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor.
* The Principal Designer is required to plan, manage and co-ordinate the planning and design work.
* The Principal Contractor is required to plan, manage and co-ordinate the construction work.
Here at Officescape, we expect to be able to fill both of these roles for most of our projects. If for any reason we will not be filling both roles, it’s important to make sure that both are appointed as early as possible so that they can work together.
The two main things that the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor will need from you are time and information; sufficient time for the design, planning and construction and full information about the project including:
* An outline of the work required
* Description of the site and surroundings
* Existing services
* Any potential hazards, such as asbestos, overhead cables or buried services
During the design and planning stage, you’ll need to communicate with the designer and contractor to make sure that work progresses as planned and everything is in place.
Before construction begins, you need to make sure that your contractor has made arrangements for adequate welfare facilities for their workers. It may be that they’re using welfare facilities you’re providing. You also need to ensure that the principal contractor has drawn up a construction phase plan explaining how all the health and safety risks will be managed – no work should begin onsite without this in place.
If you will have employees or members of the public on your premises during construction, you will also need to take steps to ensure that they’re protected from the health and safety risks of construction. Your designer and contractor will be able to advise you on how the construction work will affect your business, so that you can make the appropriate changes to access, signage or procedures.
At the end of the building work, you should receive a health and safety file from the principal designer, or from the principal contractor if the designer has left before the end of the project. This is a record of useful information which you may need during future maintenance, repair, work or demolition, so you need to keep it safe, update it if circumstances change, and make it available to anybody who later needs to alter or maintain the property.
As both designers and contractors, here at Officescape we will be happy to help you understand your duties and responsibilities during your refurbishment, and guide you through the process from beginning to end. For more information, get in touch with us today on 01553 811 833.