Planning for construction work

Who is responsible?

Early appointment of the principal contractor

The principal contractor should be appointed by the client early enough in the pre-construction phase to allow them to work closely with the client, and in any event before the construction phase begins.  This will also give the principal contractor time to work and liaise with the principal designer in sharing any relevant information for health and safety.

As the project moves from the pre-construction phase into the construction phase, the principal contractor should take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety, while continuing to liaise with the client and principal designer.

Construction phase plan

A construction phase plan must be prepared for a project before the construction phase begins.  The plan must outline the health and safety arrangements, site rules and specific measures concerning any work involving the risks listed in Schedule 3 of the CDM 2015 Regulations.  

Planning the construction phase and drawing up a construction phase plan is the responsibility of:

Pre-construction information and any key design information, identifying risks that need to be managed during construction work, will be helpful in planning the construction phase and drawing up the construction phase plan.

Planning the work

Gathering as much health and safety information about the project and the proposed site before work begins is important.

Information available at tendering should be used so that allowance is made for the time and resources required to deal with problems.  Sources of information include:

Find out about the history of the site and its surroundings.  See if there are any unusual features which might affect the work, or how the work will affect others.  Pay attention to:

Much of this information may be found in the pre-construction information provided by the client, including health and safety files that may exist from any previous construction work at the site.  Make sure contents from such files and documents have been taken into account before tenders are submitted.

When estimating costs and preparing the programme of work, consider any health and safety hazards associated with the work.  Make sure suitable allowances have been made in the price.

The job will have a better chance of running more smoothly, efficiently and profitably if hazards have been predicted, planned for and controlled from the outset.  Having to stop or reschedule work to deal with emergencies wastes time and money.

When materials are bought, or equipment is hired, the supplier has a duty to provide certain health and safety information.  Make sure this is obtained and understood.  It may be necessary to:

When programmes of work are prepared, consider whether there are any operations that will affect the health or safety of others working at the site.  For example:

Discuss proposed working methods with contractors before letting contracts.  Find out how they are going to work, what equipment and facilities they are expecting to be provided and the equipment they will bring to the site.  Identify any health or safety risks their operations may create for others working at the site and agree control measures.  Obtaining health and safety risk assessments and method statements will help.

Decide what plant will be required and check that it will be suitable. 

Plan material deliveries and consider storage needs. 

Plan your emergency and rescue procedures.  Decide what equipment will be required and who is trained to operate it.