Health & Safety: Appoint PSDS/PD

The ultimate responsibility for complying with both the building regulations and the health and safety requirements rests with the owner. 

The legislation in ROI is called the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations and in NI the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations known as CDM. The regulations apply to construction work that you pay to get done in your home or to build your home.

In both jurisdictions, if you are doing all the work yourself, i.e. a full DIY project, the regulations do not apply. This scenario is highly unlikely as you would almost always need specialist contractors such as electricians, plumbers, etc.

In both ROI and NIprojects that involve more than one contractor or are scheduled to last longer than 30 days or involve a particular risk, the owner must appoint project supervisors for the health and safety aspects and notify the relevant authorities: you need a supervisor for the design process (in ROI Project Supervisor Design Stage or PSDS, and in NI they are called the Principal Design or PD) and another for the construction stage (called the Principal Contractor or PC in NI and in ROI, Project Supervisor Construction Stage or PSCS). The PSCS/PC role may be taken on by the main contractor.

Whilst it is possible to undertake the role of project manager and fulfil both roles, be aware that you must be competent to do so. You will also probably need the help of a H&S professional to help you with the documentation and site specific aspects.  

The PSDS/PD must file a health and safety report based on the specific risks to the project, as identified at the design stage. This must be submitted to the health and safety authorities prior to work commencing on site. Oftentimes self-builders appoint the architectural designer to act as PSDS/PD; this is a service that you will have to pay for in addition to the design fees. 

The PSDS/PD must prepare a written plan for the project outlining the risks, including those relating to technical, organisational, planning or time issues, how they’re to be dealt with and what control measures are to be put into place (if any). The PSDS/PD also prepares a safety file for the homeowner where the risks are documented and health and safety information is filed.  

The PSDS/PD must notify the health and safety authority and the client of non-compliance with any written directions issued and where necessary issue directions to designerscontractors or others. 

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