Steven Corfield tells Access exclusively why Serious Stages has helped launch a new guidance document

REVISED GUIDELINES for the construction design and management (CDM) regulations regarding demountable structures on event sites are coming into full force in the UK in April. Ahead of this, Serious Stages has led an industry group to create a new guidance document aimed to bring clarity to working practices within the temporary structures and staging industry.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) issued draft guidance on its website, concerning the revision of the CDM regulations, following a considerable period of consultation with the event industry. The guidance was issued to help anyone who has duties under the regulations prepare in advance of them coming into force on 6 April 2015.

CDM regulations are not new to the event industry, but have not been widely enforced. Having originated from the construction industry, we (along with other contractors) were faced with fulfilling their criteria leading into the 2012 London Olympics.

CDM practices written for the construction sector weren’t always easy to integrate into live events environments, especially when the build period is days, not months, and when budgets are a lot less. From 2010 onwards we have invested a lot of time consulting with the HSE as to how CDM regs could be realistically applied to our industry, ever mindful that the HSE has a legal obligation to enforce all safety at work during the build and dismantling processes we undertake. The Local Authority has the same legal obligation as the HSE during the show period, so we communicate with both sets of organisations where it is necessary to do so.

To accommodate a realistic and workable introduction

Serious: Stephen Corfield

of CDM enforcement this April deadline, we have liaised extensively with the HSE along with our major competitors in the staging business over the past two years to produce a guidance which is acceptable to us (staging profesionals) and the enforcing authorities. This has been a challenging task as the HSE, whilst being extremely helpful, has used its experience of the construction industry as its default position in viewing us. We knew we needed to work closely, and be transparent with the HSE to show them how our own industry worked.

We have taken a leading role in formulating an industry-backed ‘Guidance for Best Working Practice for Staging and Temporary Event Structures’ with regards to our methods of work and the management of structures during use. The HSE have also been involved every step of the way and we anticipate this being held up as an ’Adopted Code of Practice (ACOP)’. Its purpose is to create a reference framework that is acceptable to both the HSE and staging contractors, local authorities and clients as regards to the supply and use of staging structures.

We hope and expect this will become the common way of working for the staging sector, initially in the UK, it is hoped that it will form the basis of similar documents for international markets too.

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