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What is the Design Risk Management: Temporary Steel Works guidance?

27 July 2022

Design risk specialist John Carpenter discusses the latest advice for designers, principal designers and contractors.

What is the Design Risk Management: Temporary Steel Works guidance?
The briefing note provides advice on how to adopt contemporary practices. Image courtesy of Severfield plc

What is the Design Risk Management: Temporary Steel Works guidance?

In July 2022, ICE published its latest briefing note on Design Risk Management: Steelwork Temporary Conditions.

It offers advice for designers (to implement), principal designers (to help ensure designers deliver on risk management), and for contractors (to point out their reasonable expectations of designers).

Why was the guidance written?

Ever since the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations (most recently updated in 2015) were first enforced, designers have lacked good, contemporary advice on risk management.

This lack of clarity and leadership has been very damaging and has set the industry back many years.

The background and reasons behind this have been explained. Also, a methodology to design risk management now features on the ICE website.

Part of the process of good design should be adopting contemporary practice. The latest briefing note on Design Risk Management: Steelwork Temporary Conditions provides advice on how to do so.

Why is this guidance needed?

Contractors and the workers under their control are most at risk of injury and ill health from construction work.

We need to improve our design so that those who erect it do not have to grapple with unnecessary challenges involving safety, ill health or indeed excess cost.

This briefing note provides details of what is expected of ICE members when they hold designer roles.

It should be followed unless there is a good, documented reason not to do so.

Where did the guidance come from?

The best people to ask about inadequate or dangerous design are those who may be in harm's way.

These are primarily trade or specialist contractors and owners of structures in the long term.

This design guidance is made of essential, good practice examples obtained from the experiences of steelwork contractors.

The message to designers is:

"You should be following this advice unless you have good, documented reason not to do so."

Poor design not only leads to unnecessary (and likely illegal) risk, but it also almost always results in additional time and cost.

What do designers need to know?

A designer is an organisation or individual who prepares or modifies designs for construction projects. Alternatively, they arrange for or instruct others to do this.

Designs include drawings, design details, specifications, bills of quantity and design calculations.

Design Risk Management: Steelwork Temporary Conditions provides specific advice on particular design situations to give designers clear solutions.

This guidance is also referenced in appendix B of ICE’s Design Risk Management (2020) guidance, which includes other examples of specific design advice.

What do principal designers need to know?

A principal designer, as an organisation or individual (on smaller projects), is appointed by a client to control the pre-construction phase of any project including more than one contractor.

The briefing note will also interest principal designers as they must be satisfied that designers are discharging their obligations to manage risk.

What do contractors need to know?

A contractor is anyone who directly employs or engages construction workers or manages construction work.

Contractors include sub-contractors, meaning any self-employed worker or business that carries out, manages, or controls construction work.

They must have the skills, knowledge, experience and, where relevant, the organisational capability to carry out the work safely and without risk to health.

Contractors, specifically steelwork contractors, should ask designers they’re working with if they’ve followed the advice in the briefing note. The answer should be ‘yes’.

Related resources

Designing a Safer Built Environment: A complete guide to the management of design risk (published 2021)

Designing a Safer Built Environment delves into the statutory obligations designers have in the real world of commercial projects.

Read the book

building crane and building under construction
The book addresses long-standing uncertainties and challenges faced by designers. Image credit: Unkas P/Shutterstock

Design Risk Management (published 2020)

This document provides guidance to improve design risk management in the construction industry.

It has been created as a go-to document to get quick and easy support and directs users to additional existing contemporary advice.

Read the paper

image of people working on a construction site
The guide helps to provide a more holistic solution for all stakeholders.
  • John Carpenter, design risk management specialist at Self employed