Design for Health Task Group (DfHTG) was established in early 2015. Its aim was to raise awareness of health in construction in the design community and to facilitate an industry response to the needs of that community. Designers and decision managers need help in understanding how to deliver improvements. Included in the brief are clients who are often in a position where they take decisions that can be identified as design or strongly influencing design options. The group is chaired by Liz Bennett who is a Fellow of ICE and a Director of Safety in Design.

The Chair and members of the DfHTG have chosen to be open, collaborative, flexible.

We are set to be part of the modernisation of the construction industry.

We report to all stakeholders who wish to receive updates or be actively involved. We report formally to HSE’s ConIAC Health subcommittee and to the Health in Construction Leadership Group. We encourage widescale sharing and engagement with the work we are doing.

We have been meeting about every two months for three years to share progress and agree next steps. Usually there is a key project being discussed at a meeting. Most activity is outside the main meetings.

The work we do is divided into strongly related project areas. Work in each project team is generally led by two enthusiastic members of our industry who steer the direction of activity and liaise with other members of the DfHTG for “sense checks” and peer review. Some of the existing projects are passed over to existing industry bodies with the necessary resources. The DfHTG continues to support these projects by information sharing and/or more as requested.

PROJECT 01 Guidance for designers

Original leads: Arup and BOHS.

Current lead: CIRIA

Background and activities: Designers and their clients have done little to consider how they can manage the health of those who are working in construction at any stage of an asset’s life. Historically this has been the territory of contractors and has been managed by provision of personal protective equipment and post exposure medical checks. Industry does not have effective benchmarks of what exposures are acceptable and there is considerable confusion.

This project is to provide some simple guidance to designers and decision makers. Having recognised that the CIRIA Work Sector Guidance for Designers documents (C755 and C756) were useful to the design community the DfHTG felt that a similar model would be helpful specifically on health. Originally planning to develop this within the group and source funding via the group, the project has been passed to CIRIA to define and develop.

Output and progress: A short publication is anticipated as the product here. The initial phase is a stakeholder workshop for which industry funding has been agreed.

PROJECT 02 Client reasonable expectation of designers

Leads: Mace and HSE

Background and activities: Establishing effective communication and strategy at the outset of a project is essential. This is especially true of health which many still assume is entirely the responsibility of the contractor delivery team. The document being produced provides insight, challenge and guidance to designers and their clients on the reasonable behaviours each can expect of the other. It forms a useful part of guidance for industry in respect of the duties of project principals (Client team, Principal Designer team and Principal Contractor team)

Output and progress: The Discussion Document is complete. Case studies are needed to illustrate the important points included in the document. Mace is working on design of the document which it is hoped to launch in January 2018.


Leads: Atkins and Horizon Nuclear;  with academic support and research from Loughborough; UWE, the University of East Carolina and support in kind from BRE Trust

Background and activities: The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM2015) demand that the delivery team members, whatever their place in the project team, have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience. The duty sits on those appointing and those accepting appointments to ensure that this requirement is met for every project. Earlier versions of CDM have set out these requirements as knowledge of health and safety law and practice. These requirements have set in train a large industry of certain cost and variable value. CDM 2015 is more mature and recognises that it is technical and managerial skills that are most important. Industry is struggling to identify ways of demonstrating that they have ensured compliance on each project.

This project has been a challenge from the outset, stimulating a high volume of debate and various directions of travel. We have run workshops and discussion meetings and shared ideas and existing arrangements. We aim to provide simple, clear guidance. Relatively recently we have engaged with universities to help with some evidence based output.

UWE is working on an integrated project supported by EPSRC looking at organisational capability, which is also a requirement of the same regulation in CDM 2015.

A great deal is being discussed, debated and honed to enable a short pilot study to be made, probably of four live projects.

Output and progress: The detail of the project is being agreed, funding is being arranged, construction projects are being selected. The output will be a short research report based on a small number of case studies. The target date for completion is autumn 2018. This pilot is likely to be the start of long term industry journey to discuss how to build effective project teams. The Project 03 team is working closely with the Major Consultants Health and Safety Group and hope to pass ongoing steer to this group from January 2018.

PROJECT 04 How Designers can help to tackle Health issues

Leads: AHHM, RIBA and ICE

Background and activities: This project is to give quick and easy guidance to designers as they move forward in their design.

The final content is likely to sit at the heart of many of the other projects.

Output and progress: The output will be a very short list for designers and decision managers to consider in order to enable them to improve health across projects and asset management.

PROJECT 05 Core Learning Aims This project has sub projects.

Leads: Balfour Beatty, Chapman Taylor, SID

Project 05.00 Methodology of design for health Lead Heathrow

Project 05.01 Early stages and preparation Lead SID

Project 05.02 Design of new/modified structures Leads Balfour Beatty, Chapman Taylor

Project 05.03 Design in operation, maintenance, modification stages [TBC]

Project 05.4 End of life demolition, disposal etc. [TBC]

Project 05.05 Temporary Works [TBC]