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 Client Role in CDM - Utilities

Created 15 Nov 2006, 09:15 by Ai Solutions in the CDM forum.

If a construction company requests a Utility Company to undertake a main diversion as pre-construction works 'off-site' by the Utility company, but paid for by the construction company, Who is the Client ?? Does this fall on the construction company as he is funding it, or the Utility Company as the provider to a 'customer'?

#35 Ai Solutions posted on 15 November 2006, 09:15

The question above was originally posed via our Ask A Guru feature and this response from 2006 was by either Dave Carr or Michael Stokes.

According to the [1994] CDM Regs all work that is performed to achieve the project objectives forms part of that project and therefore the client organisation who engaged the contractor is the client for this work. Who pays for the work or organises the work is irrelevant.

The work involving mains diversion is part of the development project and as such will fall under CDM and the utilities’ contractor will have to be appointed as principal contractor for that work by the client, having supplied a Pre-tender H&S Plan and the principal contractor prepare a Construction H&S Plan. The HSE will also have to be notified of this work!

This is a difficult item to manage as some utilities seem to consider that they are may be above the law and do not have to comply with CDM. Even though the utility owns the service, they would not be performing the work if it wasn’t for the development and so are not the client, neither is the contractor, even though they will pay for the work to be completed.

I hope this explains this issue, which is very rarely performed in compliance with the regulations.

#91 Steve Hickford posted on 7 February 2013, 10:12

I see that the last post on this forum pre-dates the 2007 Regulations, but as a Planning Supervisor and CDMC since 1995 and as a newbie to the utilities sector, having spent a working lifetime in building consultancy, I offer the following insight as to how this is managed by my current employer:

A new or upgraded supply is requested by a customer. A feasibility study is undertaken and an estimate provided (a new supply could involve several kilometres of excavation and new cable in the highway). If the price is agreed then we undertake the works as Principal Contractor, usually engaging a specialist subcontractor to do everything except the final connection to the network. We appoint our own CDMC for all works outside the customer's site, prepare our own PCI and CPP and act as H&S auditors / inspectors for the works. The "Client" is our "Major Connections" division. Effectively the new connection is a turnkey project.

#94 Trevor Olsson posted on 7 February 2013, 10:21

My experience of utility service providers is that they tend to work independently of the project they have been instructed to provide services to. I have never known them ask for the PCIP or to provide information to or to discuss the proposals with the project CDMC. Getting as built information for inclusion in the H&S file is almost impossible

#97 David Brede posted on 7 February 2013, 10:33

I would always encourage clients and designers to commission surveys of subsurface utilities to determine accurately their location. This can avoid expensive conflicts with the design and provide the site team with the info to avoid strikes.

#98 Steve Hickford posted on 7 February 2013, 12:58

I can't speak for other utility providers but my current employer tends to the view that everything required to provide the new supply outside the site boundary is their concern, anything inside the site boundary is the customer's - we don't need to view your PCI because it won't affect our works. You don't need to see ours for the same reason. I haven't encountered a new connection project yet where our work is not entirely segregated from the Client's project. For example, you (as our customer) need a new 11kV supply to your new housing / school / commercial / medical development? No problem (!?), we can run a supply from X grid site to Y new substation / transformer (which can either be ours or yours), we'll test it and commission the connection, Thereafter the supply is ours, and we'll maintain it. You won't get information for your site H&S file (unless our cable has to track across your site) because there are no residual hazards and no maintenance requirements that will impact your project.

I also endorse the comment that all Clients should gather as much information as they can from their local utilities suppliers for inclusion in the PCI - just don't expect them to be accurate to the nearest mm! Every excavation should be preceded by a records search and a CAT and Gennie survey, with hand digging to expose the services.

#100 David Brede posted on 7 February 2013, 21:29

Hi Steve, Things have moved on a lot beyond CAT and Genni surveys.

Could I introduce you to a firm who does advanced surveying?

#101 Trevor Olsson posted on 8 February 2013, 08:17

Steve; I have yet to manage a project where the utility connections are outside the site boundary. To ensure that you are aware of the site conditions and hazards identified by the project design team, site programme and ongoing construction hazzards, there is every need to discuss the works with the CDMC. As a specialist designer you have a duty under the regulations to ensure the safety of all who may be affected by your works, this includes the project construction team. This safety information would be available from the PCIP or the CDMC.

#102 Steve Hickford posted on 8 February 2013, 08:18

Hi David, we're obviously "old school" here, I'd appreciate anything you can offer that would give us greater confidence in the surveys we undertake.

#103 Steve Hickford posted on 8 February 2013, 08:46

Hi Trevor, I'd accept that you have more experience of working with utility companies than I have of working for one and I also accept that there is still perhaps an unconcious arrogance - "our way or no way" - inherent in a state monopoly that became a private monopoly. I'll take on board your comments and address them to the design team on the next project. I'll let you know what the response was!

#105 David Brede posted on 8 February 2013, 20:20

Well Steve, let me have your email and I will pass it on.

#106 Steve Hickford posted on 11 February 2013, 09:36

Hi David, you can reach me at [email address hidden]
many thanks

#110 Stuart Nagle posted on 5 March 2013, 19:32

With due difference to Steve, Trevor and David, in essence the answer is simple. The Utility Company is a 'Statutory Undertaker' within the meaning of the New Roads and Street Works Act, and as such, has the legal powers to place, remove or alter etc. his equipment within the Public Highway as is needed to provide the services required (whether client driven or not). As such CDM 2007 will fall on the shoulders of the Utility Company, inso much as it applies to the works he is undertaking (i.e. 30 days or 500 person days etc.) as it does to any other contractor undertaking 'construction works'). In such cases there is however a choice... that is, the project to carry out the 'street works' element of the works could be run as a separate project by the Statutory Undertaker (the Utility Company) as is likely to be the case, but... if the Client so instructs for the works (as is also usually the case - they are paying for it in most cases, ergo the Client) the other choice would be for the existing Principal Contractor for the 'site' to which the services are to be supplied to employ the Utility Company as a 'specialist sub-contractor' in undertaking the works, in which case the Principal Contractors Construction Phase Plan would need to include the relevant information etc. and he would need to 'oversee' the H&S management of the works...!!
There is nothing to say that the works cannot be managed in this manner, however in reality (for reasons that will be obvious to most) this rarely happens, and on the Public Highway the Utility Company will manage their own works, up and until placing the supply on the 'site', and once inside the boundary of the 'site' will be managed by the Principal Contractor. The terminus of the 'supply' (be it water, gas, electricity or telecoms etc.) is usually is left 'dead' - terminated at a valve or simply not energised, until such time as the receiving equipment (water services, gas intakes, switch gear or comms equipment etc.) is ready, at which stage it will be turned on/energised inspected, tested and commissioned as required.

The likelihood of change to the current CDM 2007 Regulations (such as their repeal and adoption of the TMCS Directive) may well see the Principal Contractor having to take on these responsibilities in full... in which case it will be interesting to see how the Utilities Companies come to grips with this... as it appears not many in this field are planning ahead for the 'what if' scenario in 2014... and I see many a headache for those involved who are currently resting on the fence and hoping that it may either go away or be somebody else's problem to deal with it !! - let me tell you THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN...!! Happy days...

#1156 Hana harith posted on 21 September 2015, 06:39

I would always encourage clients and designers to commission surveys of subsurface utilities to determine accurately their location. This can avoid expensive conflicts with the design and provide the site team with the info to avoid strikes.

#1159 David Brede posted on 22 September 2015, 21:30

Makes sense Hana.

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