3. Safety management systems: plan


Before starting work on your safety management system (SMS), consider your current building safety measures and how you manage them. Explain how you want to develop these in the future and set out the steps required to achieve this.


An effective SMS relies on leadership from senior managers and directors. As well as supporting the aims of the SMS, leaders influence the wider culture of an organisation. They also help to put resources in place to deliver it.

Roles and responsibilities

Everyone in an organisation has a part to play in the SMS, but some will have specific roles and responsibilities. These should be identified and defined as part of the SMS.

Roles and responsibilities may already be set out in the health and safety policy, fire safety arrangements or in individual job descriptions.

Anyone with specific responsibilities should have the necessary competence – skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours – to perform their duties. It’s important that everyone in a specific role gets the training they need. Your organisation should also ensure appropriate authority and budgets are available to support specific roles.

You may use designers or contractors for refurbishment or maintenance. Have a system in place to ensure they are competent. It should be able to provide evidence of background checks, and refer to third party certification or accreditation bodies where appropriate.

When using third parties - whether contractors or consultants - the accountable person should act as an 'intelligent customer'. Make sure contractors and consultants understand what you're asking them to do, and they complete the work.

Updated 2023-04-24