Who needs a temporary works coordinator?

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We often get asked who needs a temporary works coordinator, what their responsibilities should be and what training they need to have to fulfil the role.

Let’s start with ‘what are temporary works’

The HSE states that Temporary works (TW) are the parts of a construction project that are needed to enable the permanent works to be built. Usually the TW are removed after use – eg access scaffolds, props, shoring, excavation support, falsework and formwork, etc. Sometimes the TW is incorporated into the permanent works – eg haul road foundations and crane or piling platforms may be used for hardstanding or road foundations.

How are temporary works different to permanent works?

The HSE answers this by saying “It is very important that the same degree of care and attention is given to the design and construction of temporary works (TW) as to the design and construction of the permanent works. As TW may be in place for only a short while there is a tendency to assume they are less important. This is incorrect. Lack of care with design, selection, assembly, etc leaves TW liable to fail or collapse. This places people at risk of injury and can cause the project to be delayed.”

Do I need to appoint a Temporary Works Coordinator for all jobs?

There is no legal requirement to have a Temporary Works Coordinator however the legal requirement is that the party in control of a project (regardless of size) must ensure that work is allocated and carried out in a manner that does not create unacceptable risk of harm to workers or members of the public. On projects with relatively simple TW needs, you may choose not to appoint a TWC. However, you must still make sure that TW are properly managed to ensure safety.  On medium or larger projects a dedicated TWC will hold a vital role to ensure the safety of all involved.

What is the difference between a Temporary Works Supervisor and Temporary Works Coordinator?

There are courses available for both a temporary works supervisor and a temporary works coordinator, but what’s the difference?

A Coordinator’s role is to manage all types of temporary works. So they will delegate and organise tasks to align with the temporary works schedule. They will be responsible for making sure the temporary works are designed properly and checked that they are safe. The job role also involves you regularly liaising with the Temporary Works Designer.

A Supervisor’s role is to assist in the day-to-day running of a temporary works site. The Supervisor will be out to spot possible risks and hazards on site. They will have a good understanding of the need for good safety risk management and the importance of the 4C’s.

Which course should I attend?

If you manage or hold a supervisory role on any form of temporary works site then the Temporary Works course will be vital for you.  Usually a coordinator is some form of site/project manager or a supervisor or designer who is working with a client.

The Temporary Works Supervisor course is suitable for Foreman, Engineers and Managers who have been given responsibility for temporary works. Anyone who is likely to assist the supervisor may also want to attend the course to further their knowledge.  You would already have an existing knowledge of temporary works.

Temporary Works Coordinator

This course covers a range of topics including; the need for temporary works, the legal elements to consider and procedures and the implements of the process.

Eight sessions make up the Temporary Works Coordinator course. Each contains different elements of the course. Session one, first of all, covers an introduction to temporary works and what can go wrong. Then session two looks at the “three Ps” (people, process, product). Session three looks at the four Cs and the legal elements of temp works.

Session four covers the need for temp works and the background to BS5975:2008 and A1:2011. Then session five looks at the design, erection and inspection of temp works and session six will go over the responsibilities of those involved on site. Finally, sessions eight and nine will be the examination and a final summary at the end of the course.


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