Client expectations in designing for health: Your voice matters

Design for Health Task Group invites feedback on new proposals. SID user community asked to comment at early stage of consultation

The Design for Health Task Group (D4HTG) has launched a new consultation document – and it is inviting the Safety in Design (SID) user community to join the debate.

The consultation centres on client expectations of designers and contractors in relation to designing for health and safety.

It follows the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. These identify the processes required to secure health and safety in construction projects. As part of this, they allocate responsibility for these processes between clients and their professional advisers.

Following publication of the regulations, the Construction Clients Group challenged the D4HTG to identify what clients can reasonably expect of the supplier community in meeting these obligations. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agreed to support the development of further guidance material for clients, and will disseminate the results of this consultation via the Health in Construction Leadership Group and the Construction Industry Advisory Committee.

The document below represents the first step in responding to the desire for such information. It identifies the behaviours that clients may expect designers and contractors to exhibit. As a result, it aims to facilitate meaningful conversations between clients and their advisers about their projects.

The table groups behaviours into topics, giving a clear sense of the communication expected between construction professionals and their clients.

Speaking about the opportunity to be involved in the consultation, SID Director Liz Bennett remarked: “This is the construction industry’s chance to have a say in a significant piece of thinking about designing for health and safety. By engaging with the process at this early stage, designers and contractors will have a voice in the discussion, and will therefore be able to steer the initiative in a helpful direction.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in the early stages of shaping a conversation that will have far-reaching consequences for our industry, and for the health of the population more generally,” she continued. “I encourage all SID users to contribute to the debate, so that the process of consultation is as useful as possible.”

To find out how you can make your voice heard, follow the instructions below.

What to do next

  1. Step one: Circulate the consultation document below as widely as possible among your professional networks.
  2. Step two: Review the document and make comments on it. You should bear in mind the different types and sizes of project you work on, as well as their varying degrees of complexity, when making suggestions.
  3. Step three: Provide examples of situations when great team-working between clients and their suppliers has yielded fantastic results.
  4. Stepfour: Send your thoughts to by the end of April 2016, with Design4Health as the subject line.

D4HTG proposal for conSIDeration

Ref Topic Further explanation of topic
1 Communication Clear agreed means of communication between agreed representatives.
2 Information To expect to be asked to supply information.
3 Client brief To be challenged on the Brief.
4 Design response To be provided with a design that meets the Brief and demonstrates that is has also taken into account BOTH Health and Safety for the whole life of the scheme.
5 Why? To be challenged as to why you as a Client have specific requirements and to challenge the Designer as to why they have made the decisions they have.
6 Because… To be expected to provide an explanation as to their requirements and to expect the Designer to validate their decisions.
7 Skills, knowledge, experience That the Design team has the skills, knowledge and experience to competently fulfil their role.
8 Longevity That the Design team has considered how the design meets the Client’s current and future needs.
9 Construction response To expect the agreed design to be challenged by the Constructor.
10 Potential for unknowns To factor in means for dealing with the unexpected.

We have already received some feedback, with suggestions for additions and amendments to these topics. These include:

  •     BIM needs to be mentioned, perhaps in a sub heading because it is not universally used
  •     Procurement needs to be included
  •     Feedback loops, especially from the Principal Contractor to the Principal Designer and Client, need to be emphasised
  •     Unknowns need to explicitly include changes at various stages

Now it’s time for you to contribute to the debate. We look forward to hearing from you by the end of April 2016.

Please email with your comments.