Construction Phase Plans Explained (What, When, Who And Why) header image

13th August, 2018

Construction Phase Plans Explained (What, When, Who And Why)

If you work in construction or become involved in a construction project for the first time, you are likely to hear the term 'construction phase plan'.

But what is a construction phase plan? When is it required, and who writes it?

Let's answer all those questions and more.


  • A construction phase plan is a document required under CDM
  • It is required on all construction projects
  • It is produced by the principal contractor (or sole contractor if only one)
  • It is used to plan and manage construction work safely (and comply with the law)

What is a construction phase plan?

A construction phase plan is a document required under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations - often referred to as CDM.

The CDM Regulations apply to every construction project, regardless of size or duration, commercial or residential.

Sometimes referred to as the construction phase health and safety plan, or the CPP, the construction phase plan is a document required by the CDM regulations on all projects.

The construction phase plan is a health and safety management document for the project. It will include details of the work that is being done, the project team and emergency arrangements.

What does a construction phase plan contain?

The contents of the plan should all be specific to the project, and to how safety and health issues will be managed on site.

It is good practice to refer to your standard procedures, but do not include them all within your construction phase plan as it will drown out the site-specific information that your workforce need to know.

The construction phase plan is not a catalogue of risk assessments and method statements for individual tasks and activities on the project, these are separate documents that will be required under the management of health and safety by all contractors involved in the project.

construction phase plan contents
Construction phase plans detail health and safety management for the project

Here are the key headings that you are likely to cover.

Project Description

The scope of the work and key project information such as the project team, including the management team (client, principal designer, designers, principal contractor, and other consultants), along with subcontractors and key suppliers.

Project Management

The construction phase plan is a health and safety management documents and this should be an extensive section of the document, setting out management arrangements for the work.

The management structure of the project should be detailed along with arrangements for key management procedures such as induction, training, security, welfare, accident management and liaison between the parties on site. The project safety goals, site rules along with fire and emergency procedures.

Arrangements for Controlling Safety Risks

Safety risks should be identified and the management arrangements in place to control the risks adequately on-site detailed. Consideration should be given to any activities that are likely to increase the risk of accidents on site.

This will include arrangements for dealing with services, structures, excavations, fragile materials, lifting operations, and plant or equipment on site.

Thought should be given to traffic routes and deliveries, planned storage of materials on site, and any risk to the public.

Arrangements for Controlling Health Risks

Health risks should be identified and management arrangements outlined to control the risks throughout the project.

Consideration should be given to any activities that are likely to put the health of operatives, visitors or members of the public at risk.

This should include health risks such as asbestos, contaminated land, radiation and hazardous substances.

Activities such as manual handling, and exposure to noise, dust and vibration should also be covered in this section.

The Health and Safety File

It is important to outline the arrangements for gathering information for the health and safety file, and the proposed layout of the file and format of the information.

Use the construction phase plan review to check you have covered the contents needed for your plan.

When is a construction phase plan required?

Construction phase plans used to only be required on notifiable projects under the previous version (2007) of the regulations.

However, following an update to the regulations in 2015, construction phase plans are now required on all construction projects.

Yes, that's right, ALL construction projects.

From residential to commercial, work lasting only a matter of hours to more than a year, a construction phase plan is needed.

construction domestic project
Construction phase plans are required on all types of projects

So, no matter what size project you are working on, if it falls under the definition of construction work, you must make sure there is a construction phase plan in place.

The construction phase plan must be prepared before work starts on site, so you can't start work without one.

When should a construction phase plan be updated?

The construction phase plan should be updated as necessary throughout the project as work progresses and things develop, for example, if plans or arrangements change.

As some project details may not be known or finalised at the commencement of construction work, the construction phase plan should be viewed as a live document, and updated as necessary throughout the project.

The important requirement is that the construction phase plan is up to date for the construction work that is about to take place.

Who produces the construction phase plan?

On projects with more than one contractor, it is the principal contractor's duty to produce the construction phase plan.

12.—(1) During the pre-construction phase, and before setting up a construction site, the principal contractor must draw up a construction phase plan, or make arrangements for a construction phase plan to be drawn up.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (2015)

On projects with only one contractor, it is the sole contractor has the duty to produce the construction phase plan.

15.—(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.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (2015)

Whether it is the principal contractor, or the single contractor preparing the construction phase plan, it must be developed before work starts on site.

Check out all the duties of principal contractors and contractors in our free CDM duty holder guides.

Why have a construction phase plan?

Not only is a construction phase plan a legal requirement under CDM, but it is also an important health and safety document.

The key benefit of the plan is to improve safety planning and management for the project. By setting out the health and safety arrangements and requirements for the project, the entire team can work together to reach high safety standards and project safety goals.

One of the duties assigned to clients by the CDM regulations is to ensure that a suitable construction phase plan is in place prior to activities commencing on site.

4.—(5) A client must ensure that—

(a)before the construction phase begins, a construction phase plan is drawn up by the contractor if there is only one contractor, or by the principal contractor;

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (2015)

Therefore if a project starts without a construction phase plan in place, then at least 2 key duty holders have breached the CDM regulations - the Principal Contractor (or sole contractor) and the client.

Need help creating your construction phase plan? Use the fully editable construction phase plan template for a professional document created by health and safety professionals, adaptable for your project.

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This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

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