What is the Point of a Construction Phase plan?

“This may sound a strange question, especially from the Deputy Head of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE).
Well, I pose this question because of years of reviewing Construction Phase Plans, both as part of project review/inspections and following incidents.  I believe that there appears to be some confusion.

In my experience, on visits to sites or projects, I have found Construction Phase Plans which are in pristine condition and clearly not opened, with no evidence of update.  I would dare to suggest that they are just being used as a vehicle to allow Construction activities to start, because it is a legal requirement under CDM! We need to move away from it being a box ticking exercise and treat it not only as a useful but a vital document in our work.

If used correctly they are an invaluable Health & Safety Management tool.  Using information provided by customers (Pre Construction Information) then taking that information with other stakeholders to identify the significant risks during the construction phase, and planning how they will be eliminated or suitably controlled.

Once accepted by the customer, this would allow construction activities to commence.

But this should be at the beginning of the process, not at the end. We should be using this to transfer the information to our teams and supply chain partners for their activities, helping them develop suitable risk assessments and method statements or work package plans.

The plan should be regularly reviewed to reflect changes, which could be in methodology, scope, or programme or a new risk is identified.  Also in the event of an incident the plan may need to be updated to take on learning identified from the event. It may also remove risks as the project progresses.

So I would ask you all to question yourselves what type of plan is yours? I know which one it should be.”

Peter Jones is the Deputy Head of Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) at Osborne.