Method statement for construction
Method statements are widely used in construction as a means of controlling specific health and safety risks that have been identified (perhaps following the preparation of a risk assessment) such as; lifting operations, demolition or dismantling, working at height (such as work on roofs), installing equipment, and the use of plant.
A method statement helps manage the work and ensures that the necessary precautions have been communicated to those involved.
The process of preparing a written method statement provides evidence that:
- Significant health and safety risks have been identified.
- Co-operation of workers has been ensured.
- Safe, co-ordinated systems of work have been put in place.
- Workers have been involved in the process.
Like risk assessments, method statements are not a requirement of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, however they are identified by the Health and Safety Executive as one way of satisfying the requirements of the regulations and as an effective means of assessing risks, managing risks, collecting workers’ views and briefing workers. The fact that method statements are not a requirement of the CDM Regulations is evidence of the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) intention that implementation of the requirements of the CDM Regulations should not be a paper exercise, where the filling out of a standard template is sufficient, but that it should be an integral and fundamental part of the construction process.
At the outset of a project the format in which the method statements are reviewed and used should be set out, this is best done within the Project Execution Plan (or PEP), ensuring not only that the method statement is produced by a competent person, but that it is peer-reviewed as part of the QA system prior to it's use.
Where they are prepared, method statements need be no longer than is necessary for them to be effective. They are for the benefit of those carrying out the work and so should be clear, should not be overcomplicated and should be illustrated where necessary.
Method statements should be written by a competent person who is familiar with the process being described and may need to be agreed between the client, principal contractor and contractor. The HSE suggests that those preparing method statements should consider:
- Is there a safer way of doing this task?
- Will workers actually implement the controls as planned?
- Do these controls make the job difficult or inconvenient?
- Are there small changes that will improve the intended method?
- How will these controls work in adverse conditions, e.g. weather?
- Will workers require additional briefing or instructions?
The contents of a method statement will vary with the work process being described however, they may contain:
- Details of the organisation in control of the activity.
- Details of the individual responsible for the activity.
- A description of the activity.
- A description of how the work will be managed.
- The location of the activity, its boundaries, means of access and how it is segregated from other activities.
- Plant and equipment required.
- The procedure for changing the proposed method of work if necessary.
- A step by step description of the activities to be undertaken.
- Precautions necessary to protect workers, and other people that could be affected, including personal protective equipment and ventilation requirements.
- Training procedures.
- The need for specially-trained operators for certain activities.
- Emergency procedures, including the location of emergency equipment.
- The handling and storage of materials and pollution prevention procedures.
- Temporary works designs.
- The method for safeguarding existing structures.
Together, risk assessments and method statements are sometimes described as 'RAMS'. RAMS may be required by third parties to demonstrate that health and safety has been properly considered and that the requirements of the CDM regulations have been satisfied. For example, a contractor may require submission of RAMS form sub-contractors, a landlord may require submission of RAMS from tenants proposing to carry out works to a property, or a client may require submission of RAMS from contractors operating on their premises.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Deleterious materials.
- Health and safety.
- Permit to work.
- Principal contractor.
- Project execution plan.
- Project risk.
- Reporting accidents and injuries on construction sites.
- Risk assessment.
- Risk assessments and method statements.
- Risk management.
- Temporary works.
 External references
BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki are asking what your ideas are for improving the performance of buildings in use. Win £500 of BSRIA goodies.
All about supply? The future for recyclable construction materials.
Regarded as the finest example of Mughal architecture and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
House of Lords seek to reintroduce the scrapped Zero Carbon Homes strategy as part of the Housing and Planning Bill.
Concept designs released for Stockholm's tallest skyscraper.
Bold change efforts are required to meet sustainable practice in the water sector.
Mixed-use timber complex proposed for Bordeaux.
The Dali Theatre and Museum, one of the 'largest surrealistic objects in the world'.
The global BIM market is expected to grow by 19% a year to reach US$11.54 bn by 2022.
UK construction businesses lose more than £1.8bn from invoice fraud each year.
Architecture has always evolved in line with technology, but for how long will this continue?
For more news, go to the home page.