19 Jan 2015

Balfour Beatty has been confirmed as the sole contractor on a new national civil engineering and infrastructure framework for public works.

Procurement body Scape Group has as valued the framework at up to £1.5bn, although this will depend heavily on how many councils use the new arrangement over a myriad of existing local frameworks.

It will run until February 2019 with councils being expected to call off individual projects worth up to £40m.

The national framework is the first to cover a wide range of civil engineering and infrastructure projects from road repairs, new bridges and coastal defence works to light rail schemes and major road projects.

It has been set up to encourage collaborative working and early contractor involvement so that project design and delivery can be influenced, progressing rapidly to the construction stage.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty’s group chief executive, said: “Balfour Beatty has significant depth of expertise across the UK in delivering civil engineering projects successfully and through this appointment we will be able to improve delivery for our customers and expand our portfolio of local infrastructure schemes.”

19 Jan 2015

Industry backs radical move towards single skills card

The Government and construction leaders have agreed to recognise the Construction Skills Certification Scheme as the industry’s gold standard for skills cards.

Under the radical plan agreed by the influential Construction Leadership Council skills cards will now only be recognised by contractors as valid if they are badged with a CSCS logo.

The action is being taken after the Government-led construction 2025 industrial strategy called for the industry to switch to a single universally recognised skills card.

It is hoped the long overdue move will bring to an end confusion caused by the myriad of cards being presented at sites as evidence of skills certification.

As of this month contractors, trade associations, clients and Government have agreed to only recognise cards carrying a CSCS logo.

These will include 10 specific trade association cards affiliated to CSCS like the scaffolders CISRS cards, and the separately endorsed plant operator CPCS cards.

Affiliated skills cards

Occupation Covered Scheme
Demolition workers CCDO
Scaffolders CISRS
Cards issued in Northern Ireland CSR
Engineering construction workers ACE
Electricians ECS
Electricians in Scotland ECS
Utility industries operated by Energy & Utility Skills. EUSR
Plumbers in England & Wales JIB-PMES
HVAC SkillCard
Plumbers in Scotland & Northern Ireland SNIJIB
Plant operators* CPCS

*recognised but not affiliated

Card schemes carrying the CSCS logo will mean the holder has a NVQ Level 2 qualification or recognised equivalent in the relevant occupation, plus a separate health and safety element.

The industry has also agreed to introduce full smart card technology by 2020, through a roll-out programme that is to be agreed by each card certification body.

19 Jan 2015

Is your Scaffold Training up to date ?

Graham’s Scaffolds, of Queens Road, Portsmouth, was fined a total of £1,600 and ordered to pay £600 in costs after admitting safety breaches.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Snelgrove said: “Mr Pedaltey not only erected numerous unsafe scaffolds, but also relied on his knowledge from training delivered in 1979 – more than 30 years earlier.

“He has now been prohibited from erecting scaffolds until he has completed further training to acquaint himself with up-to-date safety legislation and scaffolding standards.

“His failings created a risk of death or serious personal injury. Scaffolds are temporary structures and their integrity and safety must be ensured to, in turn, safeguard the workers and passers-by.”

For the latest in scaffold training and best practice guidance visit the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation here

It’s not just Scaffold Training, CAGE GN members need to ensure that all operatives and appropriately trained for the work they are carrying out.

We can help with arranging / subsidising training for you. Please see our Training page or contact Howard Platts, Group Training Officer, howard@cage-greaternottingham.co.uk to find out more.

19 Jan 2015
Wates Living Space has scooped two refurbishment contracts worth a total of £5.2m.

The firm has been appointed to deliver a £3.2m external refurbishment programme for Nottingham City Homes and a £2m contract to install external wall insulation for over 500 flats and houses on behalf of Gedling Homes.

The refurbishment contract for Nottingham City Homes will see three 15-storey residential blocks in Sneinton receive external wall insulation, new A-rated windows and doors, new enclosed external balconies, roofing and a new plant and power room.


The tower blocks will also be connected to the Nottingham City District Heating network, which provides energy efficient heating to domestic and commercial customers across the city. The work is due to be completed in winter 2015 and the blocks will remain fully occupied throughout the duration of the project.

330 houses and 178 flats will receive external wall insulation under a contract with Gedling Homes. As part of the works, Wates Living Space will also enhance the external appearance of the block of flats at Walton Court.

19 Jan 2015

Health and safety chiefs have given the industry six months grace to switch over to the new CDM regulations, due to come into force from April.

Under the CDM shake-up, there will no longer be an official role of CDM coordinator. Instead, clients will need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to fulfil their duties.

Following industry consultation the guidance now gives firms six months to appoint a principal designer on jobs already underway on the 6 April 2015.

The new Regulations recognise the influence and importance of the client as the head of the supply chain and that they are best placed to set standards throughout a project.

The new regs also remove the domestic client exemption and transfer of these limited duties to the contractor/designer.

Philip White, Chief Inspector of Construction said:  “The guidance may be subject to change while the regulations are awaiting parliamentary approval but we want duty holders to have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the main requirements before they come into force.

“In addition we have worked with the industry to produce guidance to assist small businesses.

“Both sets of guidance complement each other and will help anyone affected by CDM 2015 to prepare for the changes in the law. ”

The UK Contractors Group welcomed the publication of the draft guidance this week.

David Lambert, UKCG Head of Health & Safety, said: “Members will be keen to investigate how any new bureaucracies can be avoided, how the changing of relationships and responsibilities will be worked out, and how the transitional arrangements will work.”

ICE Health and Safety Panel Chair, Margaret Sackey, said: “This package represents the third attempt to ensure that health and safety risk management is well embedded in a project throughout the design and construction process, and it is essential that it is fit for purpose in all regards.

“We will now review the draft package closely and respond accordingly with the aim of ensuring the final regulations and guidance are as effective and workable as possible, reflecting the concerns of the industry.”


19 Jan 2015

New year, new CDM Regulations

The final wording of CDM 2015 is expected later this week, so what do you need to do to prepare?

The intention of these new regulations is, of course, to improve health and safety standards in design and construction.

Rather than producing a revised Approved Code of Practice, the Health and Safety Executive has been developing guidance in conjunction with the industry. it is expected that this guidance will also be available, in draft if not the final version, on 9 January.

Because it is guidance and not ACOP, it does not have statutory force; the wording of the regulations themselves will take precedence if there is an inconsistency.


So what do we all need to do to prepare for CDM 2015?

The new regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2015, so they will apply in full to all projects which ‘begin’ from that date ‒ a project begins with the design phase.

For projects already in existence at 6 April 2015, there will be some transitional arrangements.

Until 6 October 2015, CDM 2007 can continue to apply to the project, but as from that date the new regulations will apply, even if the project is almost complete at that point.

Main changes

The most significant changes introduced by CDM 2015 will be:

1) The regulations will apply in full to all projects where there is more than one contractor, ie virtually all projects.

Notification is still required and the criteria for notification will change, but it will no longer have any significance in terms of the full application of the regulations.

2) The role of CDM co-ordinator will disappear. The duties currently fulfilled by the CDM co-ordinator – and a few extra ones ‒ will be split between the client, the principal contractor, and the new role of principal designer – not to be confused with the lead designer.

The principal designer is the designer appointed to co-ordinate the health and safety aspects of the pre-construction phase of the project.

It is recognised that the pre-construction phase (ie the design phase) can and often will continue during the construction phase.

3) A principal contractor’s duties are extended to co-ordination of the construction phase in addition to the current duty to ‘plan, manage and monitor’. Apart from that, the principal contractor’s duties are largely unchanged.

4) Following pressure from the EU, domestic clients will now have duties, which are immediately passed automatically to the sole contractor or principal contractor, unless the client has actually appointed a principal designer to carry out the domestic client’s duties.

If the domestic client fails to make the necessary appointments, the designer in control of the pre-construction phase will automatically be the principal designer and the contractor in control of the construction phase will be the principal contractor.

Forward planning

If you are a CDM co-ordinator, it is a good idea to unearth your appointments so that you can see whether these changes are covered.

Where a project will not be completed by 6 October 2015, consider discussing with your client how and when the functions should be reallocated to the principal designer and, in particular, how everyone can avoid a drop in health and safety standards when this transition takes place.

It is far too simplistic to say that the lead designer will take on the role of principal designer.

If that is proposed, both the lead designer and the client need to satisfy themselves that the lead designer has the necessary competence and resources to carry out this role.

The lead designer cannot take on the onerous extra duties without an increase in the fee, for instance.

The principal contractor should look at their procedures during the construction phase, to see whether any changes are needed to reflect the new duty to co-ordinate.

For those projects which are being carried out for a domestic client (ie individuals having work done that is not part of their business activities) the main contractor will need to prepare himself to take on the role of principal contractor, and also to understand the client’s duties under the regulations and consider how he can perform them for that project.

Above all, do not let health and safety standards drop as you move from CDM 2007 to CDM 2015.

To find out what happened go to the Hot Topics! page


05 Jan 2015

Health and Safety in 2014 – The Year in Review

As is customary in December, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual round up of health and safety statistics for the year 2013-2014. And although health and safety provisions are thought to be improving year on year, some of the findings make for sobering reading.

Over a million workplace illnesses

According to the collected statistics, over 1.2 million people reported that they were suffering from a work-related illness. Although this is a significant number, the HSE makes clear that not all of these illnesses are new, nor were they necessarily acquired in roles this year. The figures simply state that 1.2 million continued to work despite illnesses brought about by workplace conditions at some point in the past. Just under half of these cases, approximately 500,000, were new conditions first reported during 2013/2014.

This does however mean that approximately 4% of the UK workforce was affected by workplace illnesses at some point during the last twelve months.

Workplace injuries are still cause for concern

Quoted by the HSE, statistics gathered by the Labour Force Survey suggest that 629,000 employees were injured at their place of work. The exact nature and severity of these injuries were not specified, but they still represent a significant cause of concern; around 2% of the total UK workforce was injured over the course of the year.

Workplace deaths – on the way down

Workplace deaths continue to fall, but there were still 133 employees killed at their place of work over the last year. Agriculture and construction remain the most dangerous industries for employees, although rising standards have seen mortality rates fall year on year.

Employment related cancer is still a concern

On average around 13,000 people die every year from lung disease and cancer caused by exposure to chemicals, asbestos or dust in the workplace. Of the 8000 cases of cancer recorded each year, the majority are related to historical asbestos exposure. In both cases these diseases take many years to develop and could have been caused by coming into contact with the substance 30 to 40 years ago.

Mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer often associated with asbestos exposure, was responsible for 2535 deaths this year – a rise on 2011. However health experts expect cases of asbestos to peak within the next few years before dropping steadily as historical changes to asbestos law mean that less people have been exposed over the intervening period.

Other non-asbestos related causes of cancer were found to be silica inhalation, diesel engine exhaust fumes, exposure to mineral oils and breast cancer caused by shift work patterns. Again, many of these cases are caused by historical, long-term exposure to harmful chemicals – often before the introduction of the current Health and Safety at Work Act.

A positive sign for the future

Deaths caused by health and safety failings in the workplace are thankfully on a long term decline, showing that protective legislation really is improving conditions. Although there is still a long way to go until workplace fatalities reach zero, continued improvements like those seen this year are encouraging.

So over to you – what were your health and safety experiences this year?

Could you please let Howard Platts ( howard@cage-greaternottingham.org.uk ) have any comments, examples you may have?

Are trhere any specific areas CAGE GN can help you with, arrange training, seminars etc?