What The CDM Regulations Say About Welfare Facility Requirements header image

12th September, 2018

What The CDM Regulations Say About Welfare Facility Requirements

It's not talked about much, but the CDM regulations do have some specific requirements when it comes to welfare facilities on construction sites.

These welfare facilities include:

  • Sanitary conveniences
  • Drinking water
  • Facilities for rest
  • Washing facilities
  • Changing facilities

Prior to CDM 2015, the 2007 version of the regulations not only updated the previous CDM Regulations (1994) but also incorporated the Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996.

CDM 2015 updated the 2007 regulations, but not much has changed when it comes to welfare facilities, and the regulations continue to include the requirements for welfare facilities on construction sites.

You might know the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations as the regulations that place key duties on certain roles, like designers and contractors. But the regulations go beyond the management duties placed upon the project team, to detail more specific requirements for construction sites themselves.

Since the CDM regulations incorporate the previous Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996, it will be of no surprise then that somewhere in the CDM Regulations, the requirements for welfare facilities are covered.

You can find the requirements for welfare facilities tucked away within Schedule 2 of the CDM Regulations 'Minimum welfare facilities required for construction sites'.

So what do the CDM Regulations say about welfare facilities on construction sites?

Minimum welfare facilities required for construction sites

Sanitary conveniences

1.—(1) Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences must be provided or made available at readily accessible places.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

What are sanitary conveniences? Well, think toilets, urinals etc. These will be required on any construction site.

You don't need to necessary provide temporary facilities always, sometimes existing facilities may be present that can be used, such as during refurbishment works or at the later stages of a project (with the client's permission of course).

Toilets and hand washing facilities are a basic requirement that will need to be provided, whether by existing or temporary provision.

Drinking water

Yes, this sometimes comes as a surprise, but drinking water must be provided on site.

Drinking water

3.—(1) An adequate supply of wholesome drinking water must be provided or made available at readily accessible and suitable places.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

Every supply of drinking water should have a sign (so workers know it is safe to drink), and, unless the water comes from a jet, a sufficient number of suitable cups must also be provided.

Facilities for rest

A place to rest and take breaks should also be provided for your workforce. After all, where else are they going to drink the water provided?

In all seriousness, it is important to provide a place the workforce can escape the elements. To get out the cold or wet, or just escape the glare of the sun.

Restrooms and rest areas should have enough tables and chairs for those that will need to use them, along with arrangements so that food can be prepared and eaten, and water can be boiled.

The CDM regulations also require that restrooms need to be "maintained at an appropriate temperature", so in the winter, that will usually mean some form of heating is required.

Facilities for rest should be somewhere clean and dry where workers can warm up or cool down, and grab some food and a drink. A place to refuel so they have the energy to stay productive on site.

Washing facilities

Washing facilities are not necessarily required on every site, but this type of welfare facility should be provided if they are needed for health reasons.

For example, if your work involved contaminated land or work with hazardous substances such as asbestos, you may be required to provide additional washing facilities such as showers.

So have a careful think about the nature of the work you will carry out on site to determine if washing facilities are needed.

(3) Washing facilities must include—

(a)a supply of clean hot and cold, or warm, water (which must be running water so far as is reasonably practicable);

(b)soap or other suitable means of cleaning; and

(c)towels or other suitable means of drying.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

Changing rooms and lockers

Changing rooms and lockers will also be required if the nature of the work requires workers to wear special clothing, and cannot be expected to change elsewhere.

Changing rooms should include seating and facilities to dry clothing if needed. There should also be separate facilities for men and women where necessary.

You should also provide lockers to any person needing special clothing which is not taken home, or for their own clothes not worn during working hours and personal effects.

Providing welfare facilities

The size of your workforce, the layout of your site and the nature of the work will determine the number and location of welfare facilities.

You need to make sure that there are enough welfare facilities for the number of workers on site, and that the welfare facilities available at readily accessible places.

welfare facilities row of toilets
Make sure welfare facilties are available throughout the site

You may find you need extra facilities at certain stages of a project, if the size of the team increases dramatically for a certain task, or if specialist work is being undertaken during part of the project, for example, work with hazardous substances may require a separate decontamination unit.

Your welfare requirements should be assessed prior to the commencement of work, within the project planning stages.

Details of the welfare facilities to be provided should be included within your construction phase plan or method statement.

Rooms containing sanitary conveniences, and any washing facilities or other welfare rooms provided must be adequately ventilated and lit.

Remember, welfare facilities need to be available from day one of a project, so plan ahead and make the necessary arrangements before sending workers to site.

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