Portfolio - Case Study 7

Provision of CDM services for a national firm of Chartered Surveyors

CDM Co-ordination

We are employed on an adhoc basis to provide support services in the form of the CDM Co-ordinator. We are generally involved from the outset i.e. from the fee proposal stage. We have been involved in a number of unusual and interesting projects over the period of our relationship with the firm and two different but recent projects are highlighted below.

Refurbishment of a basement area of a bank in central Edinburgh.

The project involved the total refurb of the basement which hitherto had been used for storage but its use had been curtailed because of progressive dampness. The proposal was to “manage” the water ingress and create floor channels serving a central sump pump. A drainage cavity membrane was fitted to damp affected walls and floors followed by framing and linings to both elements. A new plasterboard lining ceiling was installed followed by decoration and lino floor coverings. Lighting was renewed and a messing facility installed. The project initially seemed straight forward. The basement was cellular in nature, comprising up to 10 different rooms/spaces. In plan the layout was similar to a maze. In many cases, a room led to another room which led to a further room! The challenge was to provide a safe environment for the tradesmen and in particular ensure that the escape routes were well directed. In a confined area if lighting failed, with no natural lighting, the escape route could be a little confusing and made worse if any panic and disorientation set in.

Having grasped the main issues, the solutions were straightforward. We ensured that there was good coverage with emergency lighting and indeed it was necessary to provide additional lighting in a number of secluded locations. This was added to by installing good directional signage some of which was photo-luminescent. Additionally we arranged for the main contractor to provide a supply of hand torches.

Renewal of movement joints to a rooftop shopping centre car park Cumbernauld.

This asphalt covered car park is the subject of a phased program of works with the first phase involving the renewal of the movement joints. The units were life expired and were permitting water ingress and subsequent water penetration which was displaying itself, unfortunately for the shopping centre owners, through the shop unit suspended ceilings. Following several complaints action was initiated.

There were a number of movement joints along the length of the sizeable car park. The works involved the cutting out and following preparation, insertion of the new units. The plan was to renew between 5 and 10 metre sections at a time, taking into account weather (middle of the winter), Christmas shopping and January sales. The funding dictated the timing of this project.

This was a relatively straight forward project if the car park was closed to vehicles (and pedestrians) but as neither of these factors was applicable, the CDM issues were clearly traffic and pedestrian movement. The car park, due to elevated access pathways passing through, was subject to significantly more pedestrian movement than just vehicle users. In addition a number of offices and shops were located on one side of the car park giving rise to further pedestrian movement.

Regarding the vehicular movement, a one-way system operates so in consultation with the contractor (and centre manager) we agreed to close blocks of the parking areas and along with temporary signage re-routed traffic safely away from the works areas. Each area was carefully enclosed with ”Heras” fencing and to aid security, special clips held the sections together top and bottom. With careful thought as to the diversions we were able to safely enclose each of the sections of work; effectively providing a buffer zone around the work areas.
Some of the joints cut across pedestrian pavements and given the relatively heavy volume of pedestrians, it was necessary to give some thought to a method of safe re-routing. To further reduce risk we kept pedestrian routing well clear of the vehicles. After careful consideration, we elected to reduce the lengths of replacement section thereby maintaining a defined route well clear of vehicles. However in one or two cases it was necessary to re-route the pedestrians onto the car park itself and these areas were defined with “Heras” fencing and additionally further re-routing of vehicles was necessary. The project completed without incident with the winter weather causing more problems than any other issue.


Although on the face of it, these were simple projects, thinking through the H&S aspects of the works process was crucial. It is important to think of the safety of both the user (e.g. customer and client) and the contractor’s staff. A bit of thought at the outset can pay dividends in terms of safety and also financially when mindful of the litigious nature of today’s society.