Pre-construction preparations

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Pre-start meeting

Before the contractor (or principal contractor) starts on site, hold a pre-start meeting, around two weeks before pathwork starts, to which all relevant parties will attend.  The purpose of the meeting is to introduce all parties to each other, review the requirements of the project’s construction phase, and to make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities, and all queries are answered - so everyone is happy!

After the meeting, the designer (or principal designer if still involved) will mark out the pathwork on the ground, and indicate where the different types of work are required along the route, e.g. where piped culverts need installing.

The contractor (or principal contractor) needs to be aware of site access points, one-way routes, material storage areas, welfare facility locations, restricted site areas, site boundaries, nature conservation or historic site issues, and environmental site issues.  Most of this information will have been available to the contractor in the pre-construction information provided at the tender stage, but it is good practice to go over it all again with them before they actually start any work on the ground.  It is important that everyone is clear and understands what it is that they have to do.

Before the contractor (or principal contractor) starts the construction phase, make sure it is clear that extra works must be agreed before they are done, and costs must be agreed before they are incurred.

Appointing a clerk of works

You may wish to appoint clerks of works who will be the eyes and ears on the construction site.  This appointment should happen as soon as possible before the pathwork starts so that the person is involved in the pre-start meeting.  They will also carry out the following tasks:

  • Reviewing method statements making sure they provide a safe method of working

  • Resolving technical queries and liaising with the contractor (or principal contractor) and designer (or principal designer)

  • Inspecting the quality of work to ensure the required levels of workmanship are achieved and the specification is being complied with

  • Monitoring the contractors (or principal contractors) progress and level of resources being deployed.

Health and safety considerations

For all path projects, the contractor (or principal contractor) must prepare a construction phase plan.  On projects where there is more than one contractor, the principal contractor must provide a copy of their construction phase plan, or the relevant parts, to other contractors under their direct control.

Construction phase plan

Construction phase plan is a practical and live document which describes the project and how the pathworks including any site preparation work will be undertaken and managed on site safely.

Construction phase plan also identifies construction site hazards and remaining design risks and how they need controlling to prevent harm to those carrying out the pathwork, but also to others who will be visiting the site, or should not be accessing the site, e.g. members of the public.  The information in the plan should be proportionate to scale and complexity of the work and level of risks involved in the path project.

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