In February 2013, Faithorn Farrell Timms was appointed by Thurrock Council as CDM Co-ordinator and then Principal Designer for the demolition of three garages and removal of an existing community hall, followed by the construction of a new residential development comprising three blocks totalling 53 units, and the construction of a new two-storey community centre.
It was intended that the scheme become an architype, with a strong emphasis on high quality design and construction. The sustainability of the scheme was critical in terms of environmental impact, lifetime maintenance costs and the reduction of fuel poverty for future residents.
Following our appointment, Shane Jeeves, our dedicated, experienced and Senior Principal Designer, was allocated to the project and liaised with our client, ensuring that suitable arrangements were made and implementing the co-ordination of Health and Safety measures during planning and preparation for the Construction Phase.
We obtained our client’s requirements, budget and project timetable to ensure that our services were tailored to meet these. We issued our Client Questionnaire to determine all available project information and then appraised this, identifying and advising on any additional requirements.
Following the delivery of the Client Questionnaire, and having reviewed the responses, we prepared and issued a Pre-Construction Information Pack for the proposed works. This assisted the Principal Contractor in identifying project hazards to be included within the Construction Phase Plan and means of removal or mitigation of these risks.
During the Construction Phase, we established our client’s requirements for the Health and Safety File and other project record information, to prepare and issue a suitable and user-friendly document at completion. We provided guidance to the Principal Contractor on the information required for the Health and Safety File, ensuring that Practical Completion was not delayed because of information not being within the Health and Safety File, as per the requirements of Practical Completion within the contract.
Throughout the Construction Phase, we maintained vigilance to ensure that high-risk works had Risk Assessments and Method Statements and that any alterations to the Design were reviewed. Our Principal Designer maintained 24-hour mobile phone access so that any queries could be dealt with as soon as possible.
Following our initial appraisal, it was identified that the site is situated directly to the south of the main rail connection to Grays. The railway lines sit within a cutting approximately 5.5m below site level with dense planting and trees along the site boundary; the canopies of several trees overhang the site boundary. The close proximity of the railway line to the site raised a number of issues:
- Restrictions during construction - the requirement to build in close proximity to the boundary of the site and the railway required negotiation with Network Rail in terms of construction techniques, hours of work, routing of services and proximity of permanent construction to boundary. There could be no new construction within three metres of the existing Network Rail boundary fence.
- Danger to residents - careful consideration was given to ensure all boundary conditions in relation to the railway line were secure and of an adequate height so residents and visitors cannot gain access to the railway from the new development.
We worked with the Network Rail throughout to satisfy their requirements, providing documentation detailing the scheme, the suggested control measures to be implemented and emergency procedures. We liaised with them regularly, providing clarification where required. This communication was crucial to ensuring the project timescales were met and no additional costs were incurred as a result of any consequent delays.
The Pre-Construction Information Pack included the Network Rail requirements and guidance for working near a live railway line, to ensure that the Principal Contractor was aware when compiling the Contraction Phase Plan of the control measures to be implemented.
We attended Design Team Meetings and reviewed drawings to assess any potential hazards and bring these to the attention of the relevant Designer, in order that they could be removed or mitigated, both prior to construction work and throughout the life of the project. We worked with the Architect to provide segregation between the railway line and the development as our client required a solution that was aesthetically pleasing whilst also sufficient to prevent residents entering Network Rails land.
Following the completion of the defects liability period, scheduled for October 2017, we obtained and reviewed and information which is produced because of these works, to ensure that this is included within the existing Health and Safety File information and is also uploaded onto our client’s asset management database.
During the Construction Phase, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 were revoked and replaced with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. As the project was scheduled to complete after the October 2015 transitional period, we arranged a workshop on site, where we delivered a seminar on the new regulations. This seminar identified the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the project and we detailed how these were to be complied with. This seminar was crucial to the delivery of the project.
Following the issue of the Health and Safety File, we met with our client’s asset management team to assist with uploading the information onto their asset portal. This was made possible as we requested one electronic and one hard copy of the Health and Safety File Information prior to works commencing. By assisting our client in uploading this information, they could ensure all data on these properties was captured and future maintenance could be budgeted, planned for and implemented.