Health and Safety Project Co-ordinators – What does a HSPC do?

If you are in the fortunate position of planning an extension to your home, or even building a new home, you are most likely aware that you will have to appoint an architect to work on the design elements and a principal contractor to manage the construction.

It may come as a surprise for projects where construction phase is over a month, a third professional will have to be appointed – the Health and Safety Project Co-ordinator, (HSPC), whose role is to provide advice and check health and safety at the pre-construction phase.

The HSPC will prepare pre-construction information for the work. The information should be relevant, concise, and easily understandable. The idea is that the contractor should be able to find and use the relevant information, that meets the client’s safety and project requirements, quickly. Not have to wade through War and Peace or find information from previous projects, which was accidentally left in.

The pre-construction information acts as a reference document, containing project contacts, existing safety information, and project requirements such as the expected arrangements for co-operation between duty holders and information to avoid unduly disturbing the neighbours. The information should highlight significant design and construction hazards that might be out of a contractor’s experience or competence. Not the hazards that any competent construction contractor can deal with – just relevant and concise information.

The HSPC will notify the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) of the project, providing information on the Client and the professional team involved, as well as the anticipated scale and length of the project. This provides the HSI with a guide on the potential risk involved – the longer and more complex a project, the greater the chance of accidents, and the need to demonstrate effective planning proportionate to the construction phase.

At this point, when the principal contractor has been appointed and plans to set up site, the HSPC can, in theory, step back from the project temporarily, and many do as there is no legal requirement on the HSPC to monitor the principal contractor. However, as the HSPC is there to provide advice to the Client, the HSPC may choose, as we do, to include a review of the principal contractor’s construction phase plan to make sure that the Clients requirements are being met.

Lastly, the principal contractor must provide a Health and Safety File to the Client at the end of the project. The file provides information on the premises for any subsequent maintenance and construction work. Here the HSPC will provide some structure to the file so that the Client, when needed, can find relevant information quickly, both for regular maintenance work and for more substantial work, such as adding an extension to the property.

Should you have any future projects coming up which would have the need of a HSPC, Law At Work provides tailored HSPC Services, contact us for a favourable quote.

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