There is a lot of confusion around the need for a construction phase plan on small projects. When is a construction phase plan needed, and what are the requirements on smaller projects?
First, lets start by saying yes, you do need a construction phase plan for small projects.
CDM 2015 actually requires a construction phase plan to be produced on every construction project. That's right EVERY construction project. Even the tiniest construction projects, no matter how small, require a construction phase plan.
Let's not forget that the definition of construction under CDM covers all sorts of construction work, including maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, and even certain types of cleaning!
What about projects with only one contractor? Or only one man? Yes, they still need a construction phase plan.
Usually, on projects with more than one contractor, a principal contractor is appointed, and they are responsible for producing the construction phase plan. On projects with only one contractor, it becomes that contractors responsibility to develop the plan.
15. Duties of contractors
(5) If there is only one contractor working on the project, the contractor must draw up a construction phase plan, or make arrangements for a construction phase plan to be drawn up, as soon as is practicable prior to setting up a construction site.
OK, we have established you need a construction phase plan on all construction projects, but why?
Well, the answer is fairly straight forward, whatever size your construction project, health and safety is still an important consideration.
Accidents happen just as much on small projects as they do on large ones. In fact, you can actually be at more risk on a smaller site as it may not have the same procedures and controls in place as a larger site.
The size or duration of a project is not an indication of the risk level. You may carry out a short project such as demolishing a building over a 5 day period, that is much higher risk over a longer duration project installing partitions over 2 months for example.
Some smaller projects can be low risk, of course. There is no one size fits all approach to risk management, and the health and safety risks should be approached on a project by project basis.
It's understandable if you are carrying out a small amount of maintenance work, that you may think producing a full blown construction phase plan is overkill.
The key here is that the construction phase plan should be proportionate to the scale and complexity of the project and the risks involved.
Just because your project is small, doesn't mean the risks are. But if the work your carrying out is low risks, then of course, your construction phase plan will be much more straightforward as it will require fewer arrangements to manage those risks.
If you need help creating your construction phase plan, you can use our construction phase plan template to create the perfect document for your project.