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This month we’ve chosen the Construction sector as our consultancy focus and in particular focusing on the CDM construction phase plan.

In recent years, our client base in the construction, building management and trades sector has grown significantly with many businesses choosing Acorn as their provider of competent health and safety advice and training.

Working with over 100 local trades, construction and building management organisations, we often get questions regarding meeting the Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) regulations 2015.

Under the CDM regulations 2015) a construction phase plan is required for every construction project. This does not need to be a complicated process.

If you are working for a domestic client, you will be in control of the project if you are the only contractor or the principal contractor. You will be responsible for: preparing a plan; organising the work; and working together with others to ensure health and safety.

You could be a builder, plumber or other tradesman, doing small-scale routine work such as: installing a kitchen or bathroom; structural alterations, eg chimney breast removal; roofing work, including dormer windows; extension or loft conversion.

A simple plan before the work starts is usually enough to show that you have thought about health and safety. If the job will last longer than 500 person days or 30 working days (with more than 20 people working at the same time) it will need to be notified to HSE and it is likely to be too complex for this simple plan format.

There are 3 key elements to devising your Construction Phase plan; Plan, Organise and Work Together


Make a note of the key dates, eg: when you’ll start and finish; when services will be connected/disconnected; build stages, such as groundwork or fit out. Key dates: Start & Finish

You will need to find out information from the client about the property, e.g.: where the services and isolation points are; access restriction to the property; if there is any asbestos present. What is the job? Is there anything the client has made you aware of?

Include your name/company, Name and address of client, Contact details of architect or principal designer.

Where are your toilet, washing and rest facilities?

We offer the 4 day IOSH Managing Safely course, which is aimed at managers and supervisors in any sector or organisation. It is designed to get managers up to speed on the practical actions they need to take to handle health and safety within their teams.

You can also book yourself/ your staff onto one of our many construction courses.

Working together

It may be useful to record the details of anybody else working on the job, including specialist companies and labourers.

Explain how you will communicate with others (eg via a daily update), provide information about the job, coordinate your work with theirs and keep them updated of any changes, e.g.: to site rules; to health and safety information; what you will do if the plan or materials change or if there are any delays; who will be making the key decisions about how the work is to be done?

Who else is on site – and their contact details?  Who will be the principal contractor? How will you keep everyone on site updated during the job?


Identify the main dangers on site and how you will control them, e.g.: the need for scaffolding if working at height; how structures and excavations will be supported to prevent collapse; how you will prevent exposure to asbestos and building dust;  how you will keep the site safe and secure for your client, their family and members of the public.

Name the person responsible for ensuring the job runs safely.  Explain how supervision will be provided.

Think about what controls you have:

Falls from height – Make sure ladders are in good condition, at the correct angle and secured .Prevent people and materials falling from roofs, gable ends, working platforms and other open edges using guardrails, midrails and toeboards. We offer a variety of working at height courses   to help get you started

Collapse of excavations – Shore excavations; either cover or barrier excavations to stop people and plant falling in

Collapse of structures – Support structures (such as walls, beams, chimney breasts and roofs) with props; ensure props are installed by a competent person

Exposure to building dusts – Prevent dust by using wet cutting and vacuum extraction on tools; use  a vacuum cleaner rather than sweeping; use a suitable, well-fitting mask. We offer Qualitative Face Fit testing (QFFT) which provides employers with written evidence that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) including half mask respirators and disposable face masks ‘fit’ employees

Exposure to asbestos – If you suspect that asbestos might be present, don’t start work until a demolition/refurbishment survey has been carried out. Make sure everyone on the site is aware of the results. Book onto our iatp Asbestos Awareness course

Activities or workers requiring supervision  – Who will be supervising? We offer the SMSTS course, a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) course is one of the most highly respected qualifications for site managers. Training helps delegates an understanding of legal, moral and social responsibilities in respect of health, safety and welfare on construction sites. The SSSTS (Site supervisors safety training scheme) course helps develop knowledge, awareness and understanding of legal, moral and social responsibilities in respect of health, safety and welfare on construction sites.

Electricity – Turn electricity supply and other services off before drilling into walls. Do not use excavators or power tools near suspected buried services

Risks to members of the public, the client and others – Keep the site secure to prevent unauthorised access; net scaffolds, use rubbish chutes

Any Other dangers on site?

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance

Whatever your health and safety needs, ‘Hassle Free’ our retained consultancy service, is here to help.  We can offer impartial professional advice and support, to ensure that your risk assessments, safe systems of working, method statements and management procedures are effective. We can provide qualified guidance, in person, to enable you to interpret asbestos survey and register documents and to understand how to manage work safely and legally where asbestos is present.

You will receive professional guidance on interpreting the contents and detail of a management, or refurbishment and demolition survey, and how to use the information and best practice guidance to ensure the safety of your employees and others, at work, so far as is reasonably practicable. We are available at the end of the phone or on e-mail so you can contact us easily when you need us.

We are recognised as one of the South West’s health and safety experts and our customers and clients come from a wide variety of industry sectors and they all choose Acorn because of our grounded pragmatic approach.

We balance your legal responsibilities with your commercial or organisational needs and we identify your specific health and safety requirements and obligations in order to compliment your day-to-day business activities