The last step of the 3 Design Development Stages polishes the building design to a fine degree of detail that creates a finished product on paper.  It presents the proposed build with all the information required to manufacture and construct the building.  Communication is key at this stage in determining who needs what information which is why the Responsibility Matrix will become a core document.

Responsibility Matrix

The Responsibility Matrix that was produced during Stage 1 – Preparation & Briefing will define the level of information that needs to be delivered by the Design Team.  Descriptive Information is to be used by specialist contractors depending on each type of Building System that is to be used.  It allows the contractor to generate their own innovative solutions to deliver the design.  However, when there are strict requirements such as in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Listed Buildings that constrain the design to a particular standard, Prescriptive Information is essential.  This could be for a particular type of brick or window system required to be used to fit in with existing buildings.

The Responsibility Matrix, often referred to as a “RACI matrix,” is a tool used in project management to clarify and define the roles and responsibilities of various individuals or groups involved in a project.  “RACI” is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.  It is commonly used to outline who is responsible for what tasks, who is accountable for the overall success, who should be consulted for input, and who needs to be informed about progress.

In the context of building a house, a Responsibility Matrix (RACI matrix) is used to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of different parties involved in the construction project.  This can include the self-builder/client, architect, contractor, subcontractors, project manager, and various regulatory bodies. 

Here is how the RACI matrix might be applied:

By using the Responsibility Matrix as a core document during the Technical Design Stage, all parties involved can have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, which helps to prevent misunderstandings, streamline decision-making, and ensure that the project progresses smoothly.  It also aids in fostering effective communication and collaboration among different stakeholders, contributing to the successful completion of the house-building project.

One of the areas that needs to be fully planned out by the end of this stage is the Health and Safety aspects during the construction phase.

Construction Phase Plan

As a legal requirement in the United Kingdom for construction projects under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) it is necessary to create a Construction Phase Plan that outlines how health and safety risks will be managed during the build of the property.  The purpose of the CPP is to ensure the safety and well-being of all workers, visitors, and anyone else affected by the construction activities.

The plan provides essential information and guidance on how health and safety risks will be identified, assessed, controlled, and communicated throughout the construction process.  There may also a requirement to submit an F10 form to HSE (Health and Safety Executive) notifying them of the construction project.

Key elements that are often included in a Construction Phase Plan are:

  1. Site Information: Details about the construction site, including its location, boundaries, access points, and any existing structures or hazards.
  2. Project Description: A brief overview of the construction project, its purpose, scope, and objectives.
  3. Roles and Responsibilities: Identification of key personnel and their roles in ensuring health and safety, including the principal contractor, site manager, health and safety officer, and any other relevant individuals.
  4. Health and Safety Risks: Identification and assessment of potential health and safety risks associated with the construction activities.  This includes risks related to the site itself, as well as risks associated with the tasks to be performed.
  5. Control Measures: Detailed strategies and measures that will be implemented to manage and mitigate the identified risks.  This can include methods for controlling access to hazardous areas, ensuring proper signage, using personal protective equipment (PPE), and establishing safe working practices.
  6. Emergency Procedures: Plans for dealing with emergencies, including evacuation procedures, first aid provisions, and contact information for emergency services.
  7. Site Rules and Regulations: Clear guidelines for workers, subcontractors, and visitors regarding health and safety rules, procedures, and expectations on the construction site.
  8. Communication: How information about health and safety will be communicated to all parties involved in the construction project.  This includes regular site briefings and updates.
  9. Review and Revision: A process for reviewing and updating the Construction Phase Plan as the project progresses and circumstances change.
  10. Appendices: Additional documents or resources that support the plan, such as site layouts, diagrams, or relevant policies.

The Construction Phase Plan is a dynamic document that should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as the construction project evolves.  It plays a critical role in ensuring that health and safety standards are maintained on the construction site, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries during the construction phase.

Building Regulations Application

Before work commences on-site in Stage 5 it is necessary for a formal submission to the relevant local authority or building control body to obtain approval for the proposed building works.  The purpose of the application is to ensure compliance with existing building regulations which are in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of occupants and visitors of the building throughout its lifecycle after Handover in Stage 6.

It is important to note that obtaining building regulations approval is distinct from planning permission.  While planning permission focuses on the land use and aesthetics of a project, building regulations approval is concerned with the technical aspects of construction.  Both permissions are often required for significant construction projects such as a self-build.

Procurement Strategy

A procurement strategy is a structured plan that outlines the projects approach to acquiring goods, services, or works required to build the property.  It encompasses decisions about sourcing methods, supplier selection, contract types, and risk management and aims to optimise costs, quality, and efficiency while aligning with the project’s goals.  

It can heavily influence the decision-making during Stage 4 and influence the type of contractors required depending on the Building Systems being implemented.  It can also necessitate the need for Stage 4 to be split into two parts where the type of Building System needs to be designed by specialist subcontractors after the Building Contract has been awarded.

Appointing Contractors

With the design now in a theoretically complete state, the final requirement is to put the work out to tender and to source the contractors who will take on the Building Contract.  This can be a tedious task and finding the contractors that are available, that you have a good relationship with and provide the right level of quality, and that do not overcharge can be extremely difficult to do.

Setting a deadline for when all main contractor cost submissions should be in by can help keep a level of control on the timeline of the project.  Once these are in each response can be assessed and any missing data can be sourced.  The preferred contractor can then be engaged under contract, known as the Building Contract.  This will bring an end to Stage 4 of the RIBA Plan of Work.

Join us again for our next post which discusses the Stage 5 Manufacture & Construction.

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