What is Pre Construction Information?

In its simplistic terms, Pre-Construction Information is the information required to allow safe designs to be developed and enable the Principal Contractor to plan and manage the construction phase of the project.

Who is responsible for Pre Construction Information?

On a project where there is likely to be more than one Trade Contractor, the Client has a duty to appoint a Principal Designer.  The Principal Designer is generally the Designer who has overall control of the Design; this tends to be the Architect.  The name is rather misleading, the role of Principal Designer is purely to coordinate the health and safety aspects of the pre-construction phase of the project and ensure that Pre Construction Information is made available to the Design Team, the Principal Contractor as well as Designers and Contractors being considered for appointment.

Although the Principal Designer has specific duties to make available Pre Construction Information, under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015, the Client and appointed Designers also have specific duties to provide Pre Construction Information to the Principal Designer.  The level of information required will be dependent upon the nature of the project and the level of risk involved.

Examples of Pre Construction Information

Pre-Construction Information may come in various forms, such as drawings, surveys, reports, CDM risk register(s), health and safety files etc. relating to a building, structure or piece of land.

The Pre-Construction Information may include details on underground services, ground investigation reports, ordinance surveys, structural surveys or reports, contamination reports and as built drawings etc.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Designer to collate this information from the Client and where necessary, identify any information gaps and advise the Client to fill these gaps by commissioning surveys; for example:-

A Client is converting an existing building into a Care Home, which will require demolition and alteration works to the existing walls, floors and roof. The building was constructed in the 1970’s and there is no information available on existing Asbestos. The Principal Designer advises the Client to commission an Asbestos Management Survey with localised Demolition/Refurbishment elements to the areas of the structure that are going to be disturbed.  Following the survey, the report identified a magnitude of Asbestos Containing Materials.  This enabled the Principal Contractor to coordinate and plan the safe removal of the Asbestos prior to the project commencing.

The Pre Construction Information Pack

The Pre Construction Information Pack (PCIP) is the documented means of passing on Pre Construction Information to the Design Team and the Principal Contractor.  This is a live document that should be updated throughout the pre-construction phase.

The development of the Pre-Construction Information Pack should include the Principal Designer visiting the site; this may also involve the Client.  A competent Principal Designer will consider the site restrictions and constraints which may affect the management of the construction phase.   This will include the site logistics, such as pedestrian and vehicular access and egress routes, contractor parking, site welfare facilities, storage, no go areas and adjacent land uses etc. If the project involves works on an existing facility, then the Principal Designer should collate details regarding the existing health and safety management arrangements, including permits to work, site rules, key operational periods etc.

The Pre Construction Information Pack should also include a register of all the pre-construction information available for the project and identify where this information is located.  In the age of the internet, such information can be conveniently located on a portal or hub accessible by the Project Team via the internet.  The Principal Designer may decide that important health and safety extracts from survey reports or drawings should be incorporated within the PCIP so that key information isn’t lost or disregarded by the Project Team.

Pre-Construction Design Information

As part of the duties of coordinating the pre-construction phase, the Principal Designer is required to coordinate the health and safety aspects of the design and ensure that Designers are complying with their duties.  Each Designer will need to critically review their designs and take into consideration the existing Pre Construction Information.  Where foreseeable risks are identified, Designers should look to either mitigate these risks through the design process or introduce control measures to reduce the risks further.  Remaining risks that need to be managed must be documented either on drawings or on the CDM Risk Register and passed on to the Principal Designer.   This design risk information will form part of the Pre-Construction Information, which the Principal Contractor will need to consider when planning the construction phase.

Pre-Construction Information and the Health and Safety File

Following the construction phase of the project, the Principal Designer is responsible for ensuring that a Health and Safety File is developed and passed on to the Client (or Principal Contractor if the Principal Designer’s appointment concludes before the end of the construction phase).  The Health and Safety File will contain information which will assist those either carrying out any future construction, maintenance, repairs or cleaning works of the health and safety  risks to consider when developing their own safe systems of works.  Much of the Pre Construction Information collated for the project may be considered for inclusion within the File.

Posted by: Paul Littlewood BSc (Hons), Marpal’s Managing Director.

For further information on construction phase plans, please contact Paul Littlewood by phone (01332 668877) or email (plittlewood@marpal.co.uk).