Regulated by RICS

The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) has issued a new version of their Plan of Work.  The RIBA Plan of Work 2020 organises the process of briefing, designing, delivering, maintaining, operating and using a building into eight stages. It is a framework for all disciplines on construction projects and is used as guidance for the preparation of detailed professional services and building contracts. Here, we look at some of the changes that have been made to the plan and what that means for health and safety.

A focus on regulatory compliance

In terms of health and safety, key statutory considerations, such as compliance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), have been brought to the fore. There is much clearer information and guidance on design risk management than in the previous version of the Plan of Work.

For example, the Plan advises that the design team should be appointed by the client at the end of RIBA stage 1.  From a health and safety perspective, this is when the principal designer should be appointed. CDM 2015 requires that, where it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project at any time, the client must appoint a principal designer in writing as soon as is practicable.  Until that is done, the client assumes the principal designer duties by default. The principal designers’ duties – to manage and coordinate matters relating to health and safety ensuring that the project is carried out without risks to health or safety – are significant under what is criminal law.  From a client’s perspective, it’s advisable to appoint a principal designer as soon as possible!

Appointing specialist consultants

The new RIBA guidance suggests that the client may choose to employ specialist consultants at RIBA stages 0 and 1, such as a health and safety advisor to provide advice on a particular area.  This role is essentially a client CDM advisor.  There are several health and safety items included within the Plan of Work guidance for stages 0 and 1.  A client CDM advisor can be the client’s best friend in relation to construction health and safety assisting and advising the client on their duties to ensure they are discharged at the right time in the right way.  This can include assisting in the preparation of the client’s CDM brief for the project and auditing the design team to ensure they have the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to fulfill their role(s).

Hollis have a specialist team of construction health and safety experts that assist clients on projects and health and safety strategy across the UK and mainland Europe.  We act as Principal Designer in all sectors on project values from £10,000 to £300million.  We’re also experienced CDM Advisors, helping to make the CDM 2015 process less daunting and more easily navigated.

For further advice please contact Ewan Wyllie at