CDM - Managing Operational Risk in Design

The management of risk is a key requirement of The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015. However, in some cases 95% of the design team efforts seem to be dedicated to the design and construction phases of a project, which could be argued only represent 5% of the building’s life.

A well-used ‘urban myth’ that typical operating and ownership costs for buildings by ratio being 1:5:200 (£1-for construction costs / £5-for maintenance and building operating costs/ £200-for business operating costs) would lead you to believe more focus should be placed by the design teams to the building in operation.

Whilst the Royal Academy of Engineering 1:5:200 Ratio has been questioned in some quarters, it is common sense to form an opinion that the more effort afforded to end user and operational risk in design phase will reduce not only the risk profile of building users but will make the building more affordable to run and maintain. The right time to consider how a building is used and maintained should be considered from the outset, with an outline proposal of the Access and Maintenance Strategy/Plant Replacement Strategy being prepared in RIBA Stage 2. These strategies would then be further developed in stages 3, 4, and 5, with the final versions being incorporated into the Operation and Maintenance Manuals and Health & Safety File. There may be benefits in Stage 5 for the Principal Contractor to enhance the Strategies taking them to the next level, with visits to previous projects to analyse working examples and training for the clients maintenance teams on access equipment etc. The constant throughout the life of the design, is the Principal Designer who should support the design teams with design risk management and providing adequate information on residual risks Builders, Users and Maintainers may encounter.

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