CDM (GB) Knowledge Base
The pre-construction information (PCI) provides information for those designing, bidding for, or planning work and for the development of the construction phase plan. Dependant on the role under the CDM2015 there are specific responsibilities that require actions to be undertaken.
Pre-construction information provides the health and safety information needed by:
- designers and contractors who are bidding for work on the project, or who have already been appointed to enable them to carry out their duties;
- principal designers and principal contractors in planning, managing, monitoring and co-ordinating the work of the project.
Pre-construction information provides a basis for the preparation of the construction phase plan (as per Appendix 3 of the CDM2015 regulations). Some material may also be relevant to the preparation of the health and safety file (as per Appendix 4 of the CDM2015 regulations).
Pre-construction information is defined as information about the project that is already in the client's possession or which is reasonably obtainable by or on behalf of the client. The information must:
- be relevant to the particular project;
- have an appropriate level of detail; and
- be proportionate given the health or safety risks involved.
Pre-construction information should be gathered and added to as the design process progresses and reflect new information about the risks to health or safety and how they should be managed. Preliminary information gathered at the start of the project is unlikely to be sufficient.
When pre-construction information is complete it must include proportionate information about:
- the project, such as the client brief and key dates of the construction phase;
- the planning and management of the project such as the resources and time being allocated to each stage of the project and the arrangements to ensure there is cooperation between duty-holders and that the work is coordinated;
- the health and safety hazards of the site, including design and construction hazards and how they will be addressed;
- any relevant information in an existing health and safety file.
The information should be in a convenient form and be clear, concise and easily understandable to help other duty-holders involved in the project to carry out their duties. This may well be a document or set of documents with associated plans, maps details etc. The client must provide all the information in his/her possession that pertains to the site and any other information that could be reasonably obtained. This information should be supplied as soon as possible in the project to enable the designers to take the information into account when making their design and planning decisions. Some of this information would also be supplied to tendering contractors so that they can take this into account when tendering for the work, or allow the construction team, in a situation where tenders are not required, to effectively plan the construction work.
The pre-construction information may be discrete pieces of information in the form of drawings, reports, surveys, etc, either in electronic or hard copy format, with an index provided to all of the project team so that the information available is known to all. Alternatively, although not the preferred option, the 'pre-construction information' may be supplied as a single document.
What the Duty-holders must do in regard to pre-construction information
The client has the main duty for providing pre-construction information. They must provide this information as soon as practicable to each:
- designer (including the principal designer); and
- contractor (including the principal contractor), being considered for appointment, or already appointed to the project.
For projects involving more than one contractor, the client can expect help from the principal designer appointed for the project who must assist the client in drawing this information together and providing it to the designers and contractors involved. For single contractor projects, it is the client's responsibility alone - although they should liaise with the contractor (and any designer) they appoint to provide whatever information is necessary.
The pre-construction information will evolve as the project progresses towards the construction phase. At first, drawing together the necessary information should involve identifying relevant documents that the client already holds. These might include a health and safety file produced as a result of earlier construction work, any surveys or assessments that have already been carried out (e.g. asbestos surveys), structural drawings etc. For projects involving more than one contractor, the client must pass this information to the principal designer as soon after their appointment as possible. In liaison with the principal designer, the client should then:
- assess the adequacy of this information to see if there are significant gaps;
- take reasonable steps to obtain the information needed to fill any gaps identified by, for example, commissioning relevant surveys; and
- then provide the information to every designer and contractor as soon as practicable.
The stage at which it is practicable to provide information will depend on a number of factors such as the scale and complexity of the project, when duty-holders are appointed and when information is obtained. However, the client, together with the principal designer, must also take account of when designers and contractors will need pre-construction information to enable them to carry out their duties. For example:
- designers or contractors who are seeking appointment for work on the project should have sufficient information made available to them at a time which allows them to put together a bid based on a clear understanding of the nature of the work involved;
- designers already appointed should be provided with sufficient information at a stage early enough to enable them to judge whether it is reasonably practicable to eliminate any foreseeable health and safety risks in the design process and, where it is not, the steps they should take to reduce or control the remaining risks. It may not be possible to provide this information all at once, in which case it should be provided as soon as it becomes available;
- contractors already appointed should be provided with the information that they will need to plan, manage and monitor their work.
The designer must take account of the pre-construction information when preparing or modifying designs. They must be provided with this information by the client as soon as practicable assisted by the principal designer where appropriate. The information should be:
- sufficient to enable the designer to judge whether it is reasonably practicable to eliminate foreseeable risks in their designs, and, where it is not, help in identifying the steps they should take to reduce and control the remaining risks; and
- provided at a stage where designers can take account of it - as early in the design process as is practicable.
The principal designer
The principal designer must help the client in providing the preconstruction information to each designer and contractor appointed, or being considered for appointment. The extent of the help required will depend on the nature of the project, the risks involved and the client's level of knowledge and experience of construction work. Taking account of these matters, the principal designer should agree with the client the level of support the client needs to ensure the information is made available when others need it.
Soon after their appointment, the principal designer should be provided with any relevant information that the client already holds. This might include any health and safety file produced as a result of earlier construction work, any surveys that have already been carried out (e.g. asbestos surveys), structural drawings etc. The principal designer must then help the client to:
- assess the adequacy of this information to see if there are significant gaps; and
- take reasonable steps to obtain the information needed to fill the gaps identified by, for example, commissioning surveys.
As far as it is within their control, the principal designer must then work with the client to provide the information in a convenient form and as soon as practicable. The information provided to those seeking appointment must be sufficient and in good time to allow them to put together a bid based on a clear understanding of the nature of the work involved. After their appointment, the stage at which information is provided will depend on factors such as the scale and complexity of the project, and when the information is obtained. However, the principal designer, together with the client, must also take account of when designers and contractors will need pre-construction information to enable them carry out their duties. The client guidance (above) is also relevant for principal designers.
The principal contractor
The principal contractor has no specific duty in relation to pre-construction information. However, they must liaise with the principal designer for the duration of the principal designer's appointment and share any information relevant to the planning, management, monitoring or coordination of the preconstruction phase.
The contractor has no specific duty in relation to pre-construction information. However, for projects involving more than one contractor, contractors must cooperate with the client, principal designer and principal contractor to ensure the pre-construction information is right.