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Maintaining CDM 2015 Compliance while Unable to Meet with Your Design Team due to Coronavirus/COVID19

Unfortunately, a principal designer cannot safely organize design meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the designer still has to undertake design risk management and provide health & safety information. Most importantly, the principal designer must coordinate the flow of all this information with their team and the client, to comply with the requirements of CDM 2015.

This demands a remote remedy. For instance, Mosaic’s cloud based app solves your collaboration and document management needs during this era of social distancing. And even after the COVID-19 pandemic, it will continue to be an essential resource. Apart from simplifying your coordination responsibilities, the app saves your time. Let’s see how this is possible.

 

Providing Pre-construction Information

The CDM regulations 2015 require the Principal Designer to plan, manage and monitor H&S during the pre-construction phase and this includes managing design risks. Again, it demands that you assess health & safety standards and provide information to the project stakeholders during the pre-construction phase.

“The right information to the right people at the right time”

Mosaic’s proprietary HARI tool allows you to identify hazards and risks. This you can do via the application’s online Hazard Assessment and Risk Identification questionnaire. Again, you can create a comprehensive workflow amongst your design team through collaborative risk assessment.

Mosaic App enables you to:

  • Identify risks
  • Eliminate the risks
  • Comment on the risks
  • Upload safety documents
  • Produce risk registers

Additionally, the Mosaic app enables you to add essential Health and Safety information. Through the app, you can provide your design team with files for both the Pre-Construction Information and the Health & Safety File.

Mosaic App enables you to:

  • produce document checklists for PCI and H&S Files
  • Prompt users via automated reminders
  • Produce easily navigable folder structures
  • assign document responsibility to individuals

 

Coordinate Your Project Team

In as much as COVID-19 restricts your physical design team meetings, you can comfortably guide the team remotely via the Mosaic app, and host your team meetings via conference software such as Zoom. Project Team members can all have access to Mosaic, there is no limit to the number of collaborators you can invite in. Everyone can have their input and be provided access to the information being collated, providing an essential, open and informative tool. You can collect the right data, serve your client while providing resources to other designers and every stakeholder on the project.

Mosaic are currently running a Beta version of the app which enables you to run multiple projects free of charge. The app allows you to:

  • control all your design responsibilities from one place, across multiple projects;
  • invite collaborators to join the project directory and provide input;
  • keep everyone informed throughout the pre-construction phase;
  • create informative Risk Registers and PCI files for interested parties, i.e. Principal Contractors.

CDM 2015 requires you to prepare, update as well as revise safety documents. Forget about unnecessary meetings and tedious excel spreadsheet preparations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mosaic app lets all project stakeholders:

  • Create instant and comprehensive reports on health and safety status
  • Access a PCI and H&S file exporter. You can access these through one-click of a button
  • View all actions taken by other collaborators via the audit log
  • Get access to the latest versions of essential project files any time

Through the features mentioned above, Mosaic enables the Principal Designer to oversee decisions that affect the construction design. Apart from the availability of checklists and workflows, the app saves your time. With one-click reports and one-click email reminders, you won’t spend hours providing status updates and chasing up the project team.

Equally, you can avoid lengthy travel up and down the country to site meetings, even when not on lockdown. Via the app’s automatic generated reports and email reminders, you can send your project stakeholders personalised reminders informing them of information they are required to provide, and fully detailed status reports to inform the project meetings.

 

Conclusion

Although the COVID-19 pandemic restricts face to face meetings, you can still accomplish your CDM 2015 compliance. As a principal designer, you can remotely manage your design team.

Through the Mosaic app, you can discharge your CDM duties by identifying hazards and risks, providing pre-construction information, and health and safety files as well as overseeing designs.

Lastly, the app saves your time by allowing all project team members to instantly access risk registers, the PCI, and the H&S file. Sign up for the app FREE today to enjoy unlimited resources during lockdown!!

Architecture – there’s a brilliant app for that!

‘There’s an app for that’ was Apple’s battle cry in their 2009 advert, and we scoffed at the idea that an app could do anything more than remind us when the last episode of ER was being shown or allow Mr Pacman to cheer up a dreary train ride.  10 years later, are apps literally defining the build of our landscape?

If you’re an architect, you may have spent time online scouring the web for useful tools to make life easier, maybe you’re already using online accounting apps like Xero or Quickbooks? Here is a selection of some of the more interesting software we found that might be useful for architects:

  • A360. This was created by CAD experts Autodesk, but this app lets you upload 2D and 3D drawings regardless of what software you used to make them.  This app means that these drawings are available on your phone no matter where you are, so you can review them, mark changes or observations, track the project’s progress and find your way around models of all sizes.

 

  • Concepts. This app isn’t just for architects, it can also be used by artists, illustrators, product designers and anyone that wants to be able to draw on the go, (but it is ideal for architects!)  It’s a digital sketch pad for professionals that enables them to draw exceptionally accurately with 64 bit precision.  With a 4.7 star rating, this is a popular choice!

 

  • Scala Architectural Scale. Despite the name, it is designed for both architects and engineers and it enables you to measure printed drawings both on the move and in your office.  It has both fixed and variable scales so whether you know the scale or not you can still use it.  There is a free version with 18 fixed scales, but you can expand the range with a paid-for upgrade.

 

  • RoomScan Pro. Great for smaller projects or improvement projects, this app allows you to mock-up the layout of a room very quickly just by waving your phone around the room believe it or not.  It even lets you draw out features such as stairs, exteriors and gardens.

 

  • Mosaic. Of course, we couldn’t leave out our own CDM app!  Mosaic app for construction professionals takes some of the sting out of the new initiative to get architects into the role of principal designer.  Mosaic can help users feel confident in their CDM work, as it gives frameworks to use and not just the template-based resources currently available elsewhere.  The key to this app is that it helps architects, who perhaps feel their CDM experience isn’t going to be sufficient to avoid potential prosecution, feel more secure in their work. The architects using Mosaic have declared they will be happy to take on more revenue-generating CDM work in the future, having started using our software.

 

Apps in architecture defining the landscape

These are only a handful of the myriad apps available online and offline, and with new technology opening up including the growth of AI and virtual reality as well as cloud-based tools, and the increased phasing out of the dreaded paper-based record keeping, in the future whole buildings could literally be designed by app alone. Architectural technology is a discipline that spans architecture, building science, design and engineering.

In practice, architectural technology is developed, understood and integrated into a building by producing technical architectural drawings, quantities, measurements and schedules. Computer software is now used on all simplest building types and methods, for the better. New breeds of architects perpetually innovate – while keeping an eye on the heritage of the past – to evolve their craft. For example, Guangzhou Opera House, designed by Zaha Hadid, is a suitably theatrical spectacle for the modern world, held together with joints built using medieval techniques, a fine blend of the past and the future! This level of asymmetry would not have been possible to achieve without modern modelling software and the architect’s vision!

The adoption of technology in architectural practice has undoubtedly allowed this creativity to be more easily achieved, but it has also enabled the industry to extend its business proposition far beyond its traditional remit of design and construction.

 

Architect | Created by slidesgo

Principal designer – why is an architect the best person for the job?

Since new legislation in 2015, the role of ‘principal designer’ has been one passed around like an unwanted gift.  The principal designer must establish a basic standard of Health and Safety practices throughout any given construction project, and theoretically, anyone with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience in Health and Safety could be the principal designer.

So surely some kind of health and safety administrator would be the best option to free up the architect’s time to create and design?  Actually, in the 2015 CDM Regulations, there was a strong drive for the architect to be the principal designer.

Why is an architect the best principal designer?

  • For maximum efficiency, a principal designer should be there from the start, as far back as the conception of a design. There is usually only one person or group of people present at that point and that is the building designer(s) – the architect(s).
  • It vastly decreases the risk of any health and safety issues as the building work is carried out. An architect who is also a principal designer isn’t just trying to create a beautiful and efficient building, but a beautiful, efficient building that is safe to work on and inhabit.
  • This in turn saves time. Once the design is finalized there is less need for there to be amendments and adjustment as a health and safety team review it.  Health and safety is considered throughout the design stage and is a part of the project from the off.
  • This in turn again can reduce the risk of unexpected costs. If all and any safety measures are put in place at the start, no new member of the team is going to add an additional 5% to the budget as they notice the need for a different material or additional safety measure.
  • Nobody knows the building like the building’s architect. An outsider will look at designs and renders and find out where everything is positioned and placed and why, but an architect already knows everything about the design.

With all of these overwhelming arguments for the architect being the principal designer, then why in December 2017 – nearly 3 years after the regulations were introduced – were only 60% of RIBA architects or architectural practices offering principal designer services?

The honest answer is most likely time and confidence.  Technology is to play a greater role in encouraging architects to step out of their comfort zone a little for the greater good.  With time-saving methodology and mobile technology, architects can provide the best possible service by wearing the hat of both an artist and designer of buildings, and a safe guarder of those building and living in it.

5 ways mobile technology is changing the way architects work

A recent study carried out by RIBA showed that 87% of architects agree that digital technology is transforming the way that they work. 79% state that adopting digital technologies leads to improved project efficiencies and 35% of architects use at least one form of mixed, augmented or virtual reality, with many planning to expand their use of immersive technology and use other variants soon.

Mobile Technology is beyond impressive now though and it is designed to be used on the move, or remotely.  Most smartphones now have microprocessors which enable increased computing power in a small device.

How is mobile technology progressing how architects work?

  1. Building Information Modelling. BIM was created in 1987 when ArchiCAD became regarded by some as the first implementation of BIM.  It was the first CAD product on a PC that could create both 2D and 3D geometry and was the first commercial BIM product for personal use. The 2016 central government target which then required level 2 BIM to be employed for its projects upped the game.  Luckily mobile technology was catching up to make this much easier for those wanting to get ahead of the game.  Years before this, mobile-friendly programs were being developed and now the majority of BIM software packages either already have or are due to have a mobile-friendly version.  Those worried that the enforcement of technology would mean running between being on-site and getting in front of their PCs can be reassured.
  2. Apps. Much of the time there are specific tasks such as health and safety that are important enough to be able to access at all times.  This is probably why there are so many established and up and coming apps on the market designed for niche tasks such as these.  In addition, they can fill in areas where architects feel less comfortable such as CDM regulations, providing useful frameworks to follow when acting as principal designer.
  3. Artificial Intelligence. A good example of this might be parametric design; a design system that enables architects to play with parameters to create different types of outputs and create forms and structures that would not have otherwise been possible.  Still in its infancy compared to other technology, using AI on the move will be essential to be able to function to the best of its ability.
  4. Virtual Reality. The possibilities for this area, in particular, are endless.  Being able to take a virtual tour of a finished project enables problems to be identified at the concept stage instead of at the end where rectifying the issues might be costly and time-consuming.
  5. Communication. A very basic functionality of mobile technology that we all sometimes take for granted.  It’s only in the last few decades that making and taking phone calls anywhere is possible and now we can add video calls, multi-person video conferences and of course mobile email to the mix.  This is what mobile phones were originally designed for, and essential for any successful architect.

The real cost of neglecting principal design on building extensions

Fines for not following health and safety in construction can go into the hundreds of thousands of pounds even if there is no accident, but when extending a building there is the added complication of current inhabitants.

The new Construction Design Management Regulations (CDM) were put into place in 2015 and enforced a greater emphasis on accountability from the conception stage all the way through to the finalization of a project, yet there have been a number of high profile cases where workers and members of the public have been put at risk since then.

In early 2016 concerns were raised about the lack of health and safety controls at a large timber frame extension being built onto a residential home in Exmouth.  Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited the site and found a number of health and safety breaches, including uncontrolled high-risk activities that put workers at risk of death, serious injuries or ill health. This included falls from height, fire, slips and trips and badly controlled wood dust.

Perhaps worse, as this was an extension there were inhabitants still at the premises, so 80 physically and/or mentally impaired residents were put at risk due to the possibility of fire spreading into the home.

Unsurprisingly the construction company involved were fined, but more significantly for this purpose so were the architects involved, as the legally responsible Principal Designer on the project.  Whilst they were involved in the design of the building and not the actual building of it, the responsibility of health and safety is now spread much further than just a supervisor on-site with a clipboard tick list.

How a principal designer reduces the risks

Architects taking on the role of principal designer might make them more responsible and liable, but it also gives them more control.  In setting the standards in health and safety at the design stage they not only reduce the risk of fines or worse, injury or loss of life, but they also set the standard expected by those involved.

The real cost may seem monetary and this number would no doubt have been so much higher if someone had been injured or killed.  In fact, the real cost is ethical.  In this example, very vulnerable members of the public were at risk but even in an event where members of the public aren’t involved, more vulnerable team members such as apprentices and trainees could be at risk if standards aren’t maintained.

Principal Designer | created by Pikisuperstar

The slow death of spreadsheets in Principal Design

There was a time when the mighty shared spreadsheet took over from paper forms, and all was good. Colour coded GANT diagrams, emailed from person to person to update, initially seemed like a great idea to keep any construction project on the straight and narrow.

But teams have got bigger as architects, contractors, principal designers, project managers and investors all want to be kept up to date and getting a giant spreadsheet with ‘Version 19’ saved into the title to make sure everyone has the most current version wasn’t uncommon, and the project is only a third of the way through!  Confusion reigns.

Cloud-based spreadsheets!  Fantastic, we can all see the most recent version!  But the design and construction industry has got more complicated in the meantime.  CDM legislation has put a greater emphasis on health and safety, Building Information Modelling introduces an additional layer to design and the shared spreadsheet is now so big that it’s in danger of taking over even the biggest screen.  All individuals are being given information in one place and in fact, is it essential everyone has all information or is it just overload?

The fact is that a lot of information really doesn’t always need to be in one place, however CDM is one such area.  The role of principal designer was created to ensure that there is a single individual wholly responsible for the health and safety of a project and as long as the outcomes are communicated in summary, a giant spreadsheet will only further confuse.

Farewell to spreadsheets in construction?

It is for this reason that specialist tools are taking over from the mighty spreadsheets.  Not only do these tools mean that information is collated away from the overall plan, making it easier to find quickly and efficiently, but it means that it is in a format that can easily demonstrate that legislation is being followed and more importantly, that everyone on site is safe from injury, or worse.

The human cost of getting CDM wrong means it really isn’t worth leaving it to chance with a blunt tool as generic as a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are more suited to budgets, accounts and Christmas party menu choices.  Cloud-based and app-based tech do not just record but also guide principal designers in recording information and save, rather than use up, time.

Design Team Meeting | created by iconicbestiary

Health and safety – no longer architectural design’s ugly cousin

You don’t need to look far at the moment to see how big a legacy can be left by neglecting health and safety in construction projects.  This is not just when injuries and deaths occur on site but more predominantly of late, when people are living in the building once it’s habitable.

Building a sleek and sexy looking building used to be key, with a safe and steady building being something of the ugly cousin of the zippier design-led project.

Faced with the very human cost of what could happen, architects are now taking into account health and safety during the design and construction phases as well as the long-term safety and security of a building.  When presenting a building for proposal they recognize that people no longer want to just be dazzled with design, but they want to be able to see how it’s going to be a building without the potential for a devastating heritage.

Not only this, but an architect would not want to have to live with the knowledge that their design caused loss of life.  For most people, it’s beyond ticking boxes, you can literally save lives by taking health and safety into account from the conception stage.

Where does Construction Design management come in?

In short, when architects take on the role of principal designer, they get the best of both worlds.

As principal designer, they set the standard when it comes to Health and Safety practices throughout the construction of the project and beyond.  As they design, they look at how the construction might be achieved as safely as possible, and this becomes an integral part of the design itself.

The risk here is that Health and Safety once again becomes the unattractive annoyance as it increases the design phase timeline with additional paperwork and collaboration.  Smarter ways to work will be key in maintaining the momentum recently acquired where the safe construction and inhabitation of a building has become as important as the finished product design.