What is the Health & Safety File?
The whole point of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM15) is to take a holistic view of health, safety and welfare for the life of the building. Once a building project has been completed, any safety information that might be required in relation to the future operation of the building is to be retained within a Health & Safety (H&S) file. This does not have to be a physical file, and actually lends itself to being provided electronically. From 6th April 2015, changes to CDM mean these are required for more projects than before. The H&S file contains information on what was installed and how the project was completed. Information should be organised in a manner that can be used in the future. It is information that the client or end user will require to provide those with responsibilities for the ongoing maintenance, repair, or for future construction with safety information. All clients, including domestic clients, who complete a project on their property involving 2 or more contractors must receive a H&S file at the end. This CDM15 change could potentially affect the future sale of property if not received. The complexity of the information provided will depend on the project. A simple bathroom project may include a sketch of what was provided, information on drainage, components used and types of tiles. More complex projects must include “as built” drawings and information on the order in which work was undertaken so it can be reverse engineered in the future if necessary. The development of the H&S file should start from the inception of the project and continue throughout it. It is much easier to collate this information as you go. The Principal Designer (PD) must ensure the H&S file is prepared and begin collating it straight away. If they cease to become the PD they pass the partially completed file to the person who then takes on this responsibility. If there is no PD, the principal contractor is responsible for it. The last duty holder standing ultimately takes responsibility for passing it to the client. If there is a space between appointments, the client may have to take possession of the file and pass this to the next PD. At the beginning of the project, the PD can assist everyone by providing a list of information required to produce the file. Collating information will be an efficient process if the whole project team remains conscious of the fact that this information is required. It is a good idea to include photos – especially if features will be hidden in the completed design. All members of the design team have a responsibility to ensure information is provided without delay.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY FILE
- Full details of the design team including sub-contractors, suppliers and what their role in the project is/was. Names, addresses and contact information.
- Details of construction methods adopted and a general overview from the principal contractor on techniques and sequencing.
- The designer(s) will be required to provide all information concerning design features which have been incorporated into the design of the project. This could include items such as special features for window cleaning through to cut off features within M&E designs – all relevant brochures and user manuals are to be provided.
- Construction methods adopted and materials used including, for example, information regarding damp proofing or works undertaken before the contractor started work on site.
- Copies of all user manuals and/or brochures associated with installed equipment and all operating and maintenance manuals including schedules of plant and equipment (e.g. boilers, extract fans, shower fittings, light fittings, etc), recommended spares, and servicing requirements.
- Details of health & safety features that have been incorporated to ensure the structure can be maintained and cleaned safely; particularly in respect of access to plant and window cleaning.
- Details on the location and use of utilities, all services and fire fighting systems.
- Details of any hazards that are known to remain in the building or on the site. For example, if asbestos has been encapsulated rather than removed – the location of this should be clearly provided.
- Relevant data sheets for materials which have been incorporated into the works and left in the building. For example, any chemical damp proofing.
- Commissioning certification for all relevant equipment e.g. lifts, boilers, electrical certification.
- Previous safety files or parts of safety files.
- Details of any risks with regard to future maintenance, alteration, repair or demolition the end user should be aware of.
- As built drawings on all aspects of the project, especially where structural elements or services are hidden, including:
- Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) drawings showing services – water, electricity, gas, network cables. As built schematics to be provided.
- Drainage drawings which show where foul and surface water drains are located
- Structural drawings and calculations – especially where work on load bearing structures has been undertaken
- Fit out drawings
- Information on foundations and parts below the ground which are hidden
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about CDM15, or are concerned about a current or scheduled building project.