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Team CDM09 February 2009
Jonathan Scopes explains how the duties outlined in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations are met by the various and numerous parties involved in the building work for the London 2012 Olympics.
The role of the CDM coordinator (CDM-C) can be summarised as: ensuring that the design of a structure is built, maintained, and used safely throughout every stage of a facility's life; and providing the right information for the right people at the right time.
But, in the case of the London 2012 Olympics programme, the CDM coordination is arguably too vast for one organisation to resource. The Olympic Park is 2.5km2 of long-term urban redevelopment, broken by a six-week event – the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. There are currently 3000 people working on the Park site, with a planned peak of 9000 in the summer of 2010, and more than 20,000 if you include the separate, but adjacent, Olympic Village and retail development. The Games aim to maximise the use of temporary facilities not required for legacy use. Examples include 270,000 temporary seats and 310,000m2 of tents and portable cabins.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – the public-sector body responsible for the delivery of the new venues and infrastructure – appointed CLM in September 2006 as its Delivery Partner (DP) to project-manage the venues and infrastructure programme. CLM comprises construction company Laing O'Rourke, project management specialist Mace, and engineering and consulting firm CH2M Hill.
Despite CLM's ingredients, the ODA judged that it would not have sufficient resources to carry out the full duties of the CDM-C, so it decided to procure CDM coordination services through its multiple suppliers, often design-and-build (D&B) contractors. The Authority's rationale for this approach was to ensure a degree of ‘market testing', with the costs of the services visible to it through the contractors' tendering process.
CDM-Cs report directly to their ODA project sponsor (individual officers within the ODA, who are responsible for projects as CDM clients).
The Olympic Park project could potentially involve 38 CDM-C service providers, divided among the following procurement packages: 10 venue, 16 utility, eight road/bridge, three landscape, and one logistics – although these could change. The challenge for the ODA was how to manage this diverse grouping in order to produce a uniformly high standard of CDM-C service in a recognisably coherent fashion, and with a common approach. Consequently, CLM proposed the role of a ‘CDM integrator' to work with the ODA and manage the CDM-coordination service providers.
The CDM integrator
The CDM integrator role aims to provide continuity and homogeneity of approach across the whole delivery programme – through shared processes, a high-level risk register, a shared-lessons learned register, quarterly team meetings, CDM-C scorecards, a specified monthly reporting procedure, developing common standards for health and safety files, defined SHE risk boxes on drawings, etc.
The CDM integrator has to ensure that the CDM roles are allocated and resourced throughout the programme. While it is relatively straightforward to identify who is responsible for coordinating CDM services for each venue or project, the parts of the site between the venues, and the areas that fall within the overall site perimeter, are less easily defined. There is also the further complication of handovers between the various CDM role-holders at different stages, such as construction, the Games themselves, and the long-term legacy.
The formal checking of CDM
Competence of designers and contractors has been verified directly by the client through its procurement processes, and has not been required of the CDM-Cs. In addition, CLM has an assurance department, which audits and checks suppliers' processes, and works to improve them through training, sharing expertise, etc. One member of the health and safety assurance team is a CDM-C specialist.
The team's approach fosters collaborative working combined with regular measurement of performance by designers, CDM-Cs and project teams. Use of health, safety and environment (HS&E) scorecards, and an online system for HS&E reporting and auditing should continue to bring improvements in hazard reduction, pre-planning, and effective risk management. So far, the result is a significant and continued reduction in reportable accident rates, improving behaviours, better standards, and more incident or near-miss reporting.
To ensure high standards of technical and managerial risk control, the assurance team and the occupational-health service provider offer guidance to contractors for specialist reviews of their operations, plant and equipment.
Balanced project scorecards
The main mechanism to ensure the performance of CDM role-holders is the self-assessed balanced project scorecard for designers, principal contractors, and CDM-Cs. The aim of these online scorecards is to self-check that all the requirements are being fulfilled each month, and that the process follows the principles laid down in HSG651 for successful health and safety management.
Scorecard trends of individual companies are both monitored and audited.
However, scorecard values are not compared between companies because they are made by different assessors and are intended to drive behavioural safety change within the individual companies.
One of the scorecard KPIs is a ‘risk list', which is site-specific and records residual risks. It features both a work-in-progress tool, which designers can use to prioritise the risks they need to eliminate or reduce, and a historical record of those risks that have already been eliminated or reduced. This latter record can be useful during value engineering exercises to see what options have been considered by designers, and why they were rejected in favour of the current approach.
Another of the scorecard KPIs is to report shared lessons learned. These can be quite basic and perhaps obvious to very experienced designers and CDM-Cs, but there are lessons to be learned and experience to be gained from others' ideas and approaches, which can be applied across the programme. The ‘lessons learned' log is usually issued on a monthly basis to the CDM-Cs, who are tasked with feeding the information back to their design teams.
There are two regular meetings involving neighbouring CDM-Cs – a monthly meeting with the north/south Park CDM-Cs and a quarterly meeting of all CDM-Cs – which offer them the chance to raise issues affecting their projects. The latter meeting also starts with some Continuous Professional Development.
SHE boxes on drawings
CLM has included a SHE box on the standard templates of all drawings, which requires designers to list any risks that are unusual or unfamiliar to a contractor, or simply to state that there is none. In the event of a highly complex item of work being described by a drawing, there could be reference to the designers' residual risk register, but this is not the preferred situation, as designers should be designing out and/or reducing risks.
Vacant Possession (VP) process
By the end of July 2007 the London Development Agency had purchased more than 250 properties that, together, will form the Olympic Park, and will in the long term become part of the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority and other local authority land.
The CDM-Cs were involved with the preparatory site visits and were able to work with the main contractors and other members of the VP team to inquire about and record site-specific risks from the occupiers. This allowed the principal contractor to have as much site-specific information as possible before it had to secure the site.
Some occupiers were models of cooperation, making drawings available and giving sufficient time for the known risks to be communicated to the VP team. Other occupiers, however, were much less cooperative, and the only real site information was obtained by desk studies and what could be seen from outside the site.
Priority themes – assessing design
The ODA has set priorities for designers, including cost, timeliness, sustainability, inclusivity, safety, and security. But how are designers weighing up these factors to ensure that the best overall option is not only selected but seen to be selected?
The key was to have a method of assessment that allowed items to be quickly rejected, or to be taken forward for comparison of possible ideas. Once several options have been established as ‘possibles' from the point of view of, say, safety, they can then be assessed on cost, aesthetics, and other criteria. Each option is assessed as if each priority theme is the only factor, with its effect on other priorities evaluated. A matrix of results is then reviewed, in which each theme is given an equal weighting, and the best-fit solution(s) emerge for a final decision by the design team. Matrices tend to be qualitative and not quantitative (with the exception of cost).
Health and safety files
Health and safety files, and/or H&S information have to be handed over at regular intervals between various parties, e.g. between the team that is remediating the site and different venue contractors. Meetings are scheduled for eight, six and two weeks before handover, as well as on the day itself. The six-weeks-before meeting requires the outgoing and incoming CDM-Cs to agree the list of information that will constitute: the H&S file; information that will be 100-per-cent complete; how to manage information that will be less than 100-per-cent complete; and to keep project managers informed. A site walk-over is also carried out, as the remediation process includes altering ground levels to suit the site's legacy requirements.
The H&S files are required to fit into a Park-wide document that can be given to ‘isolated' end-users, such as utilities providers, highway operators, and venue-users. At the time of handover to the long-term legacy-user, there will also be the opportunity for feedback and evaluation of the H&S file to inform future design.
In addition to the above elements, a host of training initiatives was held for all ODA and CLM staff who were unfamiliar with the CDM Regulations 2007. These included presentations at team meetings, breakfast briefings, workshops, lunch-time training, and external training.
Integration of projects
The separate venue designs are integrated by dividing the Olympic Park into four areas covered by four Area Integration Groups (AIGs), which meet fortnightly. AIGs are, in effect, design-team meetings held between all the project and venue design teams, similar to how a project or venue design team has coordinated design-team meetings for its various consultants. The output of the AIGs is a multi-layered drawing and computer-aided design (CAD) model – a tool that helps avoid clashes and facilitates discussion of sequences of working. Construction areas are also divided up in the same way as AIGs, mirroring the physical areas on site, and meeting weekly to resolve issues.
The CAD programme uses Global Information System (GIS) to hold drawings, soil data, utilities, and other information. This locates and enables over-laying of different drawings and is ‘window-able' (i.e. any area of the Park can be seen). Individual projects are currently using each designer's own 3D models for visualisations but there are no Park-wide visualisations as yet.
Main contractor allocation strategy
Each venue, utility and road/bridge package is assigned to a principal contractor, provided that allocation can meet certain criteria governing:
- scope of works – type of work and environment;
- duration of works – length of time on site;
- magnitude of works – size of contract; and
- management of works – welfare, interface arrangements with other principal contractors, fencing, etc.
Each CDM-C has to prepare a monthly report in a prescribed format, issued to both the ODA and CLM. The main emphasis is to demonstrate that the design team is working collaboratively to eliminate and reduce risk to the health and safety of constructors, users, and maintainers of facilities, and is also working collaboratively with the other neighbouring projects within the Park and adjacent to the project. The report gives each CDM-C a direct reporting route to their ODA project sponsor.
The HSE has set up a series of ‘designer interventions' – planned visits by inspectors assigned to the programme to meet project teams – so they can be kept up to date with projects' design and construction status, and to offer advice to the 2012 programme. These have been valuable in getting the designers to articulate their design decisions in health and safety terms, and, more recently, in getting the project teams to articulate their site-management decisions along similar lines. The HSE has focused on the usual high-risk items, such as work at height, vehicle impact, and site-specific risks, and looks at how each is managed. The ODA procurement approach of using design-and-build teams has ensured that the design of each project is joined up with the construction methods that are used.
The CDM-Cs are also required to produce an action plan, which outlines their input into their design teams. Items on these plans have included training on the CDM Regulations 2007, distribution of a DVD on CDM, development of a project-wide risk register, and training on outside-broadcasting issues related to design.
Once each project starts on site the CDM-Cs have a quarterly role in reviewing the related Construction Phase Plan (CPP) for the ODA to confirm that it is suitably developed. This involves a desktop review of the management system, a brief site visit to ensure that the activities described in the CPP are those being implemented on site, a discussion with the occupational-health supplier to incorporate its specialist comments on the CPP, discussion with the principal contractor, and an action list/report to the ODA project sponsor. The review period is flexible to suit the start of new activities, but is not a site health and safety inspection.
The HS&E scorecard system for designers, CDM-Cs and contractors was fully operational by 2007. It challenges and records performance of these CDM duty-holders in a way not previously undertaken on any construction project. By balancing the output measurements (accident frequency rates, incidents) with input evaluations and online audit reporting, performance tracking is both proactive and a major preventative element of the programme's approach to safety management. Forums have also contributed to the beginnings of a health and safety learning culture.
The initiatives and work described have contributed to several significant milestones to date, including:
- five periods of 1,000,000 hours worked without a RIDDOR-reportable accident;
- a rolling 12-month accident frequency rate of 0.11 (average of 1,000,000 hours worked for every RIDDOR-reportable incident between July 2007 and June 2008), compared with an estimated industry average of 1.2.
References and further reading
1 HSE (2001): A guide to measuring health and safety performance, www.hse.gov.uk/opsunit/perfmeas.
2 Football Licensing Authority (2008): Guide to safety at sports grounds, 5th ed, Stationery Office Books, ISBN 978 0 11 702074 0
3 HSE (2007): Managing Health and Safety in Construction, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, ACoP, ISBN 978 0 7176 6223 4
Jonathan Scopes is currently seconded from Mace Sustain to CLM, the Delivery Partner to the Olympic Delivery Authority.
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