Temporary Works

What you need to do

The law says any temporary structure must be designed, installed and maintained to withstand any foreseeable loads which may be imposed on it and that it be only used for the purposes for which it was designed, installed and maintained.

Temporary works such as scaffolding, excavations, cofferdams and caissons must be inspected by a competent person on a regular basis.

What you need to know

Temporary works provide an engineered solution that is used to support or protect either a structure during construction, an item of plant or equipment, the sides of an excavation during construction operations or to provide access. Temporary works need to be planned and managed.

Temporary works to provide structural support include:

  • Shoring for excavations
  • Propping for walls and floors
  • Falsework for above ground concrete pours
  • Scaffolds for access
  • Haul roads and working platforms for plant including cranes
  • Permanent works used for temporary purposes during construction

Temporary works on a construction site also include:

  • Site fencing and hoarding
  • Welfare and office units
  • Earthworks, including stockpiles, that will be removed later

There are no specific legal requirements about how temporary works should be managed; each organisation can choose how they arrange and manage safety on site.

Temporary works coordinator

An effective way of managing temporary works is to appoint a Temporary Works Coordinator (TWC) to ensure suitable designs are prepared, checked and correctly erected on site.

The TWC should be formally appointed and have adequate authority to carry out the role, including stopping the work if it is not satisfactory. The TWC may also need to advise on build sequence, systems of work and equipment so that other activity does not damage or compromise the temporary works.

On a complex project this person is often a chartered civil or structural engineer with relevant experience and training and based on site. On a simpler job the main contractor may take on this role and seek advice as needed from an engineer.

Temporary works equipment

Equipment manufacturers’ instructions must be followed in the selection and use of temporary support. In all bar the simplest situations a design, including calculations, will be needed for the temporary works. In more complex works the design will also need to be checked by an independent party.

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