Company A

A familiar story of CDM project management

Company A is an organisation that has more than 30 construction projects a year. Some are internal refurbishments, some are minor works within their various offices but some can be large scale projects that meet the CDM 2007 requirements for notifiable projects. The company has managed CDM by giving much of the management process to various project managers who are named as 'Lead Designers' on notifiable works. There are no CDM-C's in the organisation, so if a project is deemed as notifiable, a CDM-C consultant is employed throughout the life of the project. The cost of this is huge as many of the notifiable works go on for several months. There are systems in place for recording project details, the first is am excel spread sheet that is kept up to date by the various project managers. There is an old database that holds all the current asbestos data, managed by one person - meaning that it can take several days for project managers to get the information they need. They do have a file server with all old project data on it, however the data stored is not in any specific order and nothing is of a set 'named' standard. This makes it difficult to find older health and safety files or other project documents such as operation manuals etc.

Along with this, in procurement, another person manages their preferred supplier list although it is mostly out of date due to the many changing requirements regarding the types of work carried out. They leave the Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) to the contractor to provide, but are aware that their duty as a client organisation requires that they re-think this strategy. They recognise the ideal is that the production of such documents would be part of the designer's duties. Some of their designers are in-house and they know the systems very well; however, for the larger works they often tender out the design as the in-house knowledge for larger project works is limited. There were once more staff internally, but over time cuts have meant that the people 'with the knowledge' have left the organisation. However, the designers can call upon the various administrative staff available within the organisation to update the information between the various systems. Some of these staff are IT literate, however, the standard of what is recorded is a bit hit and miss and information is often mis-spelt or recorded differently.

Their key Issues

  1. Expensive outsourcing CDM-C role
  2. Constant drive to save costs by outsourcing without recognition of true costs
  3. Internal expertise diminished by staff cuts and lack of awareness in legislative issues
  4. No true 'visibility' of their CDM projects throughout project life cycle
  5. Very little co-ordination between parties involved in the projects
  6. Disparate systems leading to poor data management
  7. Slow responses to gain required information, for example
    1. ACMs
    2. Preferred suppliers
    3. Other project documents
    4. Operation manuals
  8. No standard way of managing CDM as a process (notifiable and non-notifiable works alike)
  9. Poor strategy for adherence to Waste Management regulations
  10. Documentation standards unaddressed

The Collaborative Construction Compliance (CCC) Solution

The collaboration team would assess the client's issues and then work with them to define a collaborative strategy to address the key issues. This would result in an economical plan utilising a systems-led approach to 'design-in' the best solution.

Gap Analysis and Outsourcing

Part of the process is to realise where the gaps in the knowledge and process are. Having to outsource the CDM-C role can be very expensive as Consultant CDM-Cs charge a percentage of the project cost. Having to do this many times over the year (30 plus projects) equates to at least the cost of employing 2-3 full time CDM-C's. If 'Company A' were to invest in their own CDM-C then, using the collaborative solution, this CDM-C could manage many CDM projects simply and cost effectively (items 1 and 2). Additionally, having a process in place to manage their CDM related activity means that they can address the visibility issues as well as standardising the way they manage CDM as a process (items 4 and 8 above).

Training Needs Analysis

The staff will need training, so a training needs analysis needs to be carried out to gauge the level of expertise and knowledge of the staff base. In particular they will need to look at knowledge of legislative issues, such as CDM, Waste Management, Asbestos as well as basic ICT skills. A plan will need to be put in place with timescales so that, over time, the expertise of the staff base is enhanced. Additionally, if they employ a permanent CDM-C the staff will have someone to go to should they have any concerns on projects or key legislation. This activity not only addresses items 3, 5, and 7 (above), but empowers staff, giving them greater job satisfaction.

CDM Project Compliance

For better CDM project management, Company A can use ToolKit CS™ to support a single CDM-C in managing several projects at once, while keeping everything visible to all. The data can be shared between other systems and users via direct linking, addressing the issues identified above (4, 5, 6 and 7 a-d). There will be an audit trail per project, along with automatic document versions. All parties involved with the project, no matter at what stage, can access the data and documents, negating the need for excel spread sheets and file server documents. Additionally, the file naming conventions can be set and adhered to very easily (addressing item 10 above). To ensure that their duties as a client are fulfilled, ToolKit CS™ has a management console that identifies when projects are 'non-compliant'. This type of statistical information is user-definable to allow the client to track other activity if they wish.

Contractor (Vendor) Competence Management

To make sure that 'Company A' follows due dilligence and reduces its risk and liability when using contractors and sub-contractors  (item 7b),  they can utilise a free supplier assessment and accreditation service linked to ToolKit. The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) award winning Altius Vendor Assessment system will ensure that 'at all times' only competent contractors work on their behalf. There is no cost to the client or main contractor, with a modest fee charged to their contractors to cover the cost of assessment. This is a best-practice assessment process that is evidence based and includes Safety Scheme in Procurement (SSIP) CDM Accreditation.

ACM Data Availability

To address the issue required (item 7a, ACM's) the client has two options:-

  1. Invest in ToolKit CS (Asbestos) and get their current flat data (excel spread sheet) onto the database so that anyone who needs to view the latest asbestos data can access it.
  2. Or they can store a link in each structure (hyperlink) to the spread sheet so that whomever needs to access it can do so on demand.

Option 1 is the more complete solution as you can then allow your surveyors access to the database to update the system with the latest surveys and also store a plan for each site with a detailed register. The client can even limit what each person/role sees and updates, thus keeping control of everything centrally.

Site Waste Management Strategy

The Client (Company A) has made it clear that their site waste management strategy is poor. To address this issue (item 9) it is recommended that they use the Waste Plan system to manage this process. Once a project is created on the ToolKit it will, on request, start a SWMP for that project and allow estimates and actuals to be added. This system is fully compliant and the client can be rest assured that they can prove they are addressing their site waste in accordance to the regulations. Additionally, the statistical information for the Waste Plan system can be seen in the ToolKit system. This way of creating information negates the need for data repetition as well as standardising the way their construction waste is managed.

Historical Document Repository

To support the start of a new project the ToolKit system can link to INTELI-SCAN is a web based documentation portal system; a repository for O&M and building information (addressing items 7d and 10). All current documents would need to be scanned into this system and named and indexed accordingly. There is permissioned access to the core documentation so that, should it be needed, it can be accessed on line 24/7. Any document can be linked into the Toolkit and, at the end of the project, the completed H&S file can be sent to INTELI-SCAN so that non Toolkit users can view this document as required.

Collaborative Construction Compliance (CCC)
Sharing Information, Reducing Risk,
Increasing Efficiency and Saving Money

The Collaborative Construction Compliance (CCC) service provides a single online system to manage CDM and asbestos management and compliance; contractor assessment and accreditation; waste planning and record documentation.

The ultimate aim of the collaborative approach is to negate the need for data repetition as well as facilitating true 'sharing of information' 24/7 all year round. You cannot do this with disparate systems and unqualified staff. The core issues need to be addressed and assurance is required that as a client you are addressing the legislation and compliance concerns. However, you can do this simply and effectively and still save money by adopting a 'shared system' approach to the way you manage your CDM projects.