SC19 - Work on buildings
06 Dec 2010



Work on buildings, premises, services and infrastructure


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Initial launch
October 2008
1.1Update to include SWMP in ResponsibilitiesFebruary 2009
1.2Amendments to audit checklistMay 2013
1.3Addition of Excavation AppendixFebruary 2014
Add Document retention policy Appendix
August 2014
removed para 4.5.3 (audit action)
September 2015
Added lab/area clearance checksheet
July 2016
Added focus on asbestos management
June 2017
​Minor change (to printable PDF) to reflect the formation of UKRI
​October 2018​

1. Purpose

A fundamental responsibility of employers is to provide a safe working environment; and the provision of safe buildings is an integral part of that responsibility.

The installation of new buildings and building services, subsequent modifications and maintenance of the same is covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act and a number of statutory regulations including:

  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, amended 2002
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

To ensure compliance with these legal requirements, this work must be effectively controlled, planned, managed, and undertaken by competent individuals. This will involve effective cooperation, coordination and communication between all of the parties involved, in particular occupants (residents/tenants), contractors and site/estates management teams.

Primary responsibility for the provision of safe working environments and safe buildings resides with Estates Groups who undertake and manage building works at STFC sites. Other staff will only carry out such works on the authorisation of respective Heads of Estates Groups.

2. Scope

This code applies to all STFC owned sites and includes:

  • Construction of new buildings and building services;
  • Modifications to existing buildings and services;
  • Mechanical and electrical services including hard wiring or plumbing services serving scientific or office equipment into existing building services;
  • Maintenance of buildings, building services and the premises;
  • Maintenance of records;
  • Substantially increasing floor loading or positioning of heavy loads on existing floor or suspended floors;
  • Change of use of an area;
  • Attaching equipment and loads to the internal and external fabric of buildings;
  • Routing data or communications cabling; and 
  • Permanently positioning equipment externally in the estate (greater than 6 months).

Other SHE reference material related to activities detailed in this code include:

This code does not apply at the STFC Swindon Office where the STFC is a tenant of the Research Council site operated by Joint Building and Operations Services (JBOS) and hosted by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC).

3. Definitions

3.1 Building work

'Building work' means all work that involves any of the following:

  • Construction/installation of a new building or structure including their plant and services. This includes internal buildings such as beamline hutches;
  • Repair or maintenance of an existing building, structure and building plant and services including external structures and ducts;
  • Positioning or repositioning of heavy objects/equipment likely to substantially increase floor loading, see Appendix 1;
  • Disturbing the fabric of a building or its services including drilling holes through walls to provide access routes for services to experimental facilities, and minor alterations such as fixing pictures, whiteboards, erection of wall mounted shelving etc;
  • Installation of new building services into an existing building;
  • Modifying the fabric of the building, modifying building services or hard wiring/plumbing into existing building services infrastructure;
  • Routing data or communications cabling; 
  • Excavations including trenching for underground services, see Appendix 6; and
  • Demolition of a building or structure.
3.2 Building Work Co-ordinator

Suitably qualified and appointed person who co-ordinates the execution of building work, see Appendix 5. This will normally be a member of Estates staff unless agreed by the Head of Estates Groups.

3.3 Estates group

This generic term is employed to address the differing terms and models employed for estates management at STFC sites where responsibility is designated as follows:

  • at RAL (including the Cosener's House and Chilbolton Observatory) this responsibility of the RAL Estates Services, see Appendix 3;
  • at DL it is the Estates Management Group, see Appendix 4; and
  • at the UKATC it is the Premises Department.
3.4 Change of Use

Change of use means:

  • Substantially changing the function of a room/area which changes the hazards inherent to the area for example its structural loading or its fire risks (e.g. from an office to chemistry laboratory or vice versa)
  • Changing the layout in a room or area such that it significantly alters the distances staff have to travel in order to reach an emergency exit and
  • Significant changes in equipment that may affect the capacity of incoming (gas, water, heat, electricity) or outgoing (effluent) services.

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Directors shall:
  • 4.1.1 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) and record in SHE Directory, where required, local Building Work Co-ordinators(s) subject to the agreement of the Head of estates group.
    4.1.1 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) and record in SHE Directory, where required, local Building Work Co-ordinators(s) subject to the agreement of the Head of estates group.
  • 4.1.2 Ensure that authorised Building Work is managed by a competent Building Work Co-ordinator and that suitable and sufficient resources and time are available to implement the requirements of this code.
4.2 Head of Estates​ shall:
  • 4.2.1 Determine the training and competence required to be a Building Work Co-ordinator, see Appendix 5.

  • 4.2.2 Maintain a register of Building Work Co-ordinators (SHE Directory)and ensure Building Work Co-ordinators procure, manage and undertake building work within the scope of their competence.

  • 4.2.3 Agree the location of any permanent equipment to be fixed on the outside of buildings or located anywhere in the estate. Refer items as necessary to any local Building/Accommodation Committee.

  • 4.2.4 Maintain up to date and accurate records and drawings of the premises.
4.3 Building Work Co-ordinators shall:
  • 4.3.1 Act as the focal point for the submission of proposals for: 
    • Building and building services works;
    • Changes of use of an area;
    • Loadings of floors or structure;
    • Location of permanent equipment or structures within the estate;
    • Any operation that requires working on an asbestos containing material; and
    • Significant changes affecting incoming and outgoing services requirements.

  • 4.3.2 Procure any design work necessary.

  • 4.3.3 Check for existing hazards such as asbestos and concealed services by contacting the Estates Group.

  • 4.3.4 Check the structural capacity of the building fabric and the capacity of services through Estates Group.

  • 4.3.5 Obtain statutory approvals through Estates Group.

  • 4.3.6 Submit the works to the local SHE group for consideration and approval and as required obtain the relevant fire authority approval.

  • 4.3.7 Ensure the planning and execution of works comply where relevant with the CDM and other regulations, see STFC Safety Code 13 Construction (Design and Management).

  • 4.3.8 Select, engage, supervise and monitor competent trained staff or contractors to carry out the work see STFC Safety Code 15 Management of Contractors. Where work is near or could affect known or suspected asbestos containing materials, such contractors must have received Asbestos Awareness training.

  • 4.3.9 For a large construction projects, ensure that Waste Management is considered during the planning phase and maintained during the construction phase of the project. All asbestos waste must be managed according toSHE Code 35, Asbestos Management.

  • 4.3.10 Ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out in accordance with STFC Safety Code 6 Risk Management, including fire risk assessment.

  • 4.3.11 Ensure implementation of any measures resulting from the risk assessment. e.g. establishment of controlled zones, provision of PPE, RPE, issue of safety information, etc.

  • 4.3.12 Arrange for the necessary permits to be issued (Excavation see Appendix 6, Hot Works, asbestos, switching of electrical supplies, etc).

  • 4.3.13 Act within their competence, maintain their competence in the light of changing legislation and standards, and ensure that other competent persons, as necessary are appointed to co-ordinate and project manage the work.

  • 4.3.14 Ensure appropriate tests are carried out on the services, including crane load tests, and that appropriate certification is obtained prior to handover and occupation.

  • 4.3.15 In conjunction with the local SHE group ensure that fire and safety precautions are adequate and that all legal requirements have been complied with prior to the occupation of any newly refurbished areas.

  • 4.3.16 Ensure appropriate records, plans, maintenance manuals and CDM files are produced and passed to the appropriate recipient.

  • 4.3.17 Ensure that site plans, drawings, records, and asbestos registers are updated through Estates Group and made available upon request to all interested parties.

  • 4.3.18 Ensure arrangements are put in place for periodic testing of services.

  • 4.3.19 Ensure that the building work is inspected by a suitably qualified person before use and/or occupancy.
4.4 Staff and Tenants shall:
  • Staff and tenants wishing to erect new buildings, modify existing buildings or their services, change the use of a room or substantially change the loading on an existing floor, significantly increase the demand on building services, fix loads to the building fabric, or permanently locate equipment on the outside of buildings and elsewhere on the estate shall:

  • 4.4.1 Contact the Estates Group or local Building Work Co-ordinator to discuss their requirements.

  • 4.4.2 Not carry out any building work, see 3.1, including minor work (for example fixing pictures, whiteboards, shelving, etc), without approval from the relevant Estates Group or local Building Work Co-ordinator. Normally only the Estates Group will manage building works.

  • 4.4.3 Ensure any equipment that they are responsible for, or bring onto STFC sites, that contain asbestos is reported to site Estates teams to record in the site asbestos register.
  • 4.4.4 When clearing out an area/laboratory/workshop etc. prior to refurbishment, re-purposing or demolition consider the safety, health, environmental and disposal hazards that may arise. The checklist in Appendix 9 provides a helpful guide to considering the hazards that may arise, in particular for ionising radiation hazards.
  • 4.4.5 Report all defects in buildings, premises, services and infrastructure to local Estates Groups, and as appropriate report related safety incidents or near misses to SHE Group, see STFC SHE Code 5, Incident Reporting.
4.5 SHE Group shall:
  • 4.5.1 Provide advice regarding proposed changes of use for a room or building and any impact this has for example on the fire risk assessment and fire safety, or environmental discharges or consents.

  • 4.5.2 Approve major completed building works where fire safety is affected prior to such premises being occupied by staff or others.​

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)