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The management of temporary works in the construction

industry
SIM 02/2010/04
Open Government Status
Fully Open
Author Unit/Section
Construction Engineering Specialist Team (CEST).
Target Audience:
Construction Division staff, Construction Inspectors and Specialist Inspectors (Construction Engineering).
Summary
This SIM provides guidance to Inspectors on temporary works management in the construction industry and how
Inspectors should approach enforcement of the topic.
Summary
Purpose
Background
Temporary Works Management
Temporary works procedures
Temporary Works Coordinator (TWC)
Temporary Works Register
Design brief
Temporary works design
Design Checks
Temporary works management arrangements suitable for small contractors
The role of CDM co-ordinators
Action by Inspectors
General
Legislation
Enforcement guidance
Enforcement action
References
Appendix 1 temporary works design principles and the consequences and causes of failure
Appendix 2 the impact of changes to the construction industry on temporary works management and
the history of BS 5975

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Purpose
This document should be used as the basis for undertaking operational work on this topic in accordance with
Construction Divisions current work plan. This is a new topic introduced in to the work plan in order to highlight
and better control the risks associated with all types of temporary works on construction sites (although there are
clear links to existing priorities, e.g. tower crane safety and structural stability). As this is new work, the SIM will
be reviewed and revised in the light of operational experience and, as such, constructive feedback would be
welcomed.
The aim of the planned work is to:
Promote awareness and knowledge of the importance of managing temporary works Improve contractors
management arrangements of temporary works Increase the competence of those engaged in temporary works
management and design Reduce accidents arising from temporary works failures
Background
Temporary works is a widely used expression in the construction industry for an engineered solution used to
support or protect an existing structure or the permanent works during construction, or to support an item of plant
or equipment, or the vertical sides or side-slopes of an excavation, or to provide access. The construction of most
types of permanent works will require the use of some form of temporary works.
Temporary works is defined in BS5975: 2008 Code of practice for temporary works procedures and the
permissible stress design of falsework as (those) parts of the works that allow or enable construction of, protect,
support or provide access to, the permanent works and which might or might not remain in place at the
completion of the works.
Examples of temporary works include, but are not limited to:
Earthworks - trenches, excavations, temporary slopes and stockpiles. Structures - formwork, falsework, propping,
faade retention, needling, shoring, edge protection, scaffolding, temporary bridges, site hoarding and signage,
site fencing, cofferdams.
Equipment/plant foundations - tower crane bases, supports, anchors and ties for construction hoists and mast
climbing work platforms (MCWPs), groundworks to provide suitable locations for plant erection, e.g. mobile
cranes and piling rigs. Further information on temporary works design principles and the consequences and
causes of failure are set out in Appendix 1.
Temporary Works Management
The correct design and execution of temporary works is an essential element of risk prevention and mitigation in
construction. BS 5975:2008 provides recommendations and guidance on the procedural controls to be applied to
all aspects of temporary works in the construction industry and on the design, specification, construction, use and
dismantling of falsework. Background information on the impact of changes to the construction industry on
temporary works management and the history of BS 5975 are set out in Appendix 2.
Temporary works procedures
Contractors should be able to demonstrate that they have in place effective arrangements for controlling risks
arising from the use of temporary works. These are usually captured in a temporary works procedure which will
contain most or all of the following elements:
Appointment of a Temporary Works Co-ordinator (TWC)
Preparation of an adequate design brief.
Completion and maintenance of a temporary works register
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Production of a temporary works design (including a design risk assessment and a designers method
statement where appropriate).

Independent checking of the temporary works design.


Issue of a design/design check certificate, if appropriate.
Pre-erection inspection of the temporary works materials and components.
Control and supervision of the erection, safe use, maintenance and dismantling of the temporary works ie,
procedures to:
Check that the temporary works have been erected in accordance with the design, and issue a formal
permit to load where necessary.

Confirm when the permanent works have attained adequate strength to allow dismantling of the
temporary works, and issue a formal permit to dismantle where necessary.

The procedure should include measures to ensure that the design function, the role of TWC, and
Temporary Works Supervisor(s) where appropriate, are carried out by competent individuals.

Smaller contractors may not have the experience to operate their own temporary works procedure and
may need to obtain external expertise. It is also common for large and medium contractors to outsource
aspects of temporary works design and management.

Temporary Works Coordinator (TWC)


The TWC is responsible for ensuring that the contractors procedures for the control of temporary works are
implemented on site. The TWC is not normally the designer, but is responsible for ensuring that a suitable
temporary works design is prepared, checked and implemented on site in accordance with the relevant drawings
and specification.
The principal activities of the TWC are listed in Clause 7.2.5 of BS5975:2008. On some projects, particularly
smaller jobs involving lower risk temporary works, it may be appropriate for the TWC and designer roles to be
carried out by the same person, provided that he/she is competent to carry out each of the roles.
The TWC for a project should be formally appointed and have adequate authority to carry out his/her tasks,
including stopping the work if it is not satisfactory. It is essential that those selected to act as TWC are competent
with relevant up-to-date training, and experience and qualifications appropriate to the complexity of the project.
Ideally a TWC would:
Have experience of the relevant types of temporary works.
Have completed formal TWC training.
Hold a Degree / HND in civil/ structural engineering.
Be a Chartered Civil / Structural Engineer
Although a Chartered Civil or Structural Engineering qualification is desirable, the numbers with these
qualifications and with experience of the co-ordination of temporary works, is unlikely to be sufficient to provide
cover for all projects. The key attributes of a competent TWC are in order of priority,
relevant experience, 1.
formal TWC training and 2.
professional qualifications. 3.
TWCs should have the competence and authority to be effective. 4.
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Temporary Works Supervisor (TWS)
On larger sites, or where a number of subcontractors are involved, it may be appropriate for one or more
Temporary Works Supervisors (TWS) to be appointed. A TWS should be responsible to the TWC and assist the
TWC in the supervision of temporary works.
Temporary Works Register
It is useful for a temporary works register to be prepared for any project,.It should contain a list of all identified
temporary works items associated with the project. These can be set out as a table using appropriate headings,
which could include:
Design brief number (for each item) and date issued
Short description of temporary works
Date required
Category of temporary works
Designer
Design Checker
Date design complete
Date design checked/approved
Erection complete and checked or Permit to Load Permit to Dismantle
Design brief
A design brief should be prepared for each item of temporary works to serve as the focus for subsequent
decisions, design work calculations and drawings. It should include all data relevant to the design of the
temporary works and should be prepared in good time to allow for all subsequent activities. The brief may be
relatively simple for the smaller schemes, but for major work, more information will need to be collected and
collated before design work can commence. The TWC should ensure that an adequate design brief is provided to
the designer and design checker of the temporary works.
Temporary works design
The design of the temporary works should be based on the agreed design brief. Any proposed alteration or
modification of the design brief by the designer should be referred back to the TWC. The temporary works should
be designed in accordance with recognised engineering principles. The preparation of design calculations,
drawings and specification should be undertaken with similar rigour to the procedures applied to the design of the
permanent works.
Temporary works designers include; the manufacturers and suppliers of proprietary temporary works equipment
and those working in a contractors temporary works department or office. Temporary works designs are
sometimes categorised to indicate the complexity/simplicity of the specific temporary works structure and the
potential risk. See below for an exmple
Simple and/or potentially low risk temporary works
Standard scaffold
Formwork less than 1.2m high
Hoarding and fencing up to 1.2m high
Simple propping schemes 1 or 2 props
Internal hoarding systems and temporary partitions not subject to wind loading
Shallow excavations less than 1.2m deep/high
More complex and/or potentially medium risk temporary works
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Falsework up to 3m high
Formwork for columns and walls up to 3m high
More complex propping schemes multiple props at single level
Needling of structures up to 2 storeys high
Excavations up to 3m deep/high
Safety net systems fixed to robust primary members
Hoarding and fencing up to 3m high
Simple designed scaffold
Temporary roofs
Complex and/or potentially high risk temporary works
Falsework and formwork over 3m high
Trenchless construction, including headings, thrust bores, mini tunnels
Working platforms for cranes and piling rigs
Tower crane bases
Faade retention schemes
Flying and raking shores
Complex propping schemes multiple props and multiple levels
Needling of structures greater than 2 storeys high
Ground support schemes greater than 3m deep
Complex designed scaffold
Cofferdams
Bridge erection schemes
Jacking schemes
Complex structural steelwork and precast concrete erection schemes
Hoarding and fencing over 3m high
In practice, even relatively simple temporary works may require careful consideration in their design, construction,
commissioning, inspection and loading. An apparently simple temporary works job could lead to failure and even
to fatalities if it is not competently executed. The choice of the appropriate temporary works solution, including the
use of standard solutions, is discussed in Clause 9.4 of BS5975: 2008. A standard solution is an arrangement
for which the basic design work has already been carried out and is presented in a tabular or similar form, and for
which no further calculations are required.
Design Checks
Before erection commences, the temporary works design should be checked for:
Design concept
Strength and structural adequacy (including foundations and lateral stability)
Compliance with the design brief.
The design check should be carried out by an independent competent person(s) . The ability and independence
of the checker should be greater where the temporary works are more complex or where new ideas are
incorporated. Recommendations for various categories of design check are given in Table 1 of BS5975:2008,
reproduced below:
Categories of Design Check (taken from BS 5975:2008)

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Category Scope Comment Independence of checker
0 Restricted to standard solutions
only, to ensure the site conditions do
not conflict with the scope or
limitations of the chosen standard
solution.
This applies to the use of standard
solutions and not the original design
which will require both structural
calculation and checking to category 1,
2 or 3 as appropriate.
Because this is a site issue,
the check may be carried out
by another member of site or
design team.
1 For simple designs. These may
include: formwork: false work (where
top restraint is not assumed):
needling and propping to brickwork
openings in single storey
construction.
Such designs would be undertaken
using simple methods of analysis and be
in accordance with the relevant
standards, suppliers technical literature
or other reference publications.
The check may be carried
out by another member of
the design team.
2 On more complex or involved
designs. Designs for excavations,
for foundations, for structural
steelwork connections, for reinforced
concrete.
Category 2 checks would include
designs where a considerable degree of
interpretation of loading or soils
information is required before the design
of the foundations or excavation support
or slope
The check should be carried
out by an individual not
involved in the design and
not consulted by the
designer.
3 For complex or innovative designs,
which result in complex sequences
of moving and/or construction of
either the temporary works or
permanent works.
These designs include unusual designs
or where significant departures from
standards, novel methods of analysis or
considerable exercise of engineering
judgement are involved.
The check should be carried
out by another organization
Temporary works management arrangements suitable for small contractors
For smaller contractors, the principles of BS5975 should be in place if not the formal and specific procedures, in
particular:
ensuring a suitably competent temporary works designer/adviser is in place to supply an engineered
solution,

adequate information flow,


design checking to an appropriate level,
suitable verification of correct erection of the temporary works and someone overseeing and co-
ordinating the whole process.

Smaller contractors may not have anyone sufficiently experienced to plan effectively all but the most simple
temporary works. There should be clear evidence that appropriate external expertise has been engaged. This
includes obtaining the services of a suitably competent TWC and temporary works designer to ensure temporary
works are effectively designed, constructed, inspected, loaded and managed. On some projects, particularly
smaller jobs involving low risk temporary works, it may be appropriate for the TWC and designer roles to be
carried out by the same person.
The role of CDM co-ordinators
CDM co-ordinators should take reasonable steps to ensure co-operation between permanent and temporary
works designers, in particular to ensure that arrangements are in place to ensure that designs are compatible and
that the permanent works can support any loadings from temporary works. CDM co-ordinators also have a duty
to advise clients on the suitability of the initial construction phase plan. Amongst the topics that need to be
considered when drawing up the construction phase plan, as listed in the ACOP, are the arrangements for
controlling significant site risks including, the stability of structures whilst carrying out construction work, including
temporary structures and existing unstable structures and work on excavations and work where there are poor
ground conditions.
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Action by Inspectors
General
Inspectors should focus their attention mainly on ensuring that appropriate temporary works management
arrangements and procedures have been adopted commensurate with the scale and complexity of the project
and the construction risks involved.
The expectation is that medium to large projects, and those with complex and/or high risk temporary works, will
have formal management procedures in place specifically following the recommendations in BS5975. For smaller
contractors and smaller simpler, projects, we would be looking for the principles of BS5975 to be in place.
Judgment will be required regarding the extent to which procedures should be formalized, depending on the
degree of risk rather than size of project. We want to see good management of temporary works. BS5975 is an
established standard representing good practice, but it also provides a useful yardstick for checking that essential
elements of a management system are in place.
Legislation
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) and associated Approved Code of
Practice (ACOP) are directly applicable to the design and management of temporary works. The definition of a
structure in the regulations includes any formwork, falsework, scaffold or other structure designed or used to
provide support or means of access during construction work. In the ACOP, designers include temporary works
engineers, including those designing auxiliary structures, such as formwork, falsework, faade retention
schemes, scaffolding, and sheet piling. Temporary works designers have exactly the same designer duties as
permanent works designers on CDM-notifiable projects.
CDM 2007 make several direct or implied references to the design and construction, inspection and management
of temporary works and the competence of those involved in their provision:
PART 2 General management duties applying to construction projects
Regulation 4 (competence): competence required of all those with a role to discharge in the planning,
design and execution of temporary works.

Regulations 5 and 6 (cooperation and coordination): cooperation and coordination of activities, including
temporary works, incumbent on all involved.

Regulation 10 (clients duty to provide information): provision by client of pre-construction information


(e.g. ground conditions, structural drawings).

Regulation 11 (duties of designers): avoidance of foreseeable risk arising from preparing or modifying
designs.

Regulation 13 (duties of contractors): planning, management and monitoring of construction work.


PART 3 Additional duties where project is notifiable
Regulation 18 (additional duties of designers): provision of information to assist the CDM co-ordinator.
Regulation 20 (duties of CDM co-ordinators): all reasonable steps to ensure designers comply with their
duties and to ensure cooperation between designers and principal contractors in relation to any design
or design change.

Regulation 22 (duties of the principal contractor): planning, managing and monitoring the construction
phase.

PART 4 Duties relating to health and safety on construction sites


Regulation 28 (stability of structures): any support or temporary structure must be designed, installed
and maintained so as to withstand foreseeable loads.

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Regulation 29 (demolition or dismantling): planning and recording of arrangements.
Regulation 31 (excavations): planning and execution.
Regulation 32 (cofferdams and caissons): design, planning and execution.
Enforcement guidance
Failure to properly plan and execute temporary works constitutes a risk of serious personal injury and could
result in a fatal, or a major injury as defined by RIDDOR 1995 Reg. 2 could occur. The likelihood of this occurring
is set out in the risk matrix below:
Consequence Application/
Interpretation
Likelihood
Probable Possible Remote Nil/ negligible
Risk of
serious
personal
injury
Collapse of
permanent
structure due to
inadequate
temporary works
Collapse or failure
of temporary
works and
associated plant
due to poor
design, erection
or overloading
Falls from height
from poorly
designed/
constructed
temporary works
High risk or
complex temporary
works being used
without the key
elements of a
temporary works
procedure in place,
particularly absence
of evidence of the
temporary works
being designed by a
competent person
Evidence of
significant problems
being manifested
High risk or complex
temporary works
being used with most
of the key elements of
a temporary works
procedure in place
but absence of
evidence of
temporary works
designs being
independently
verified.
Medium risk
temporary works
being used without
the key elements of a
temporary works
procedure in place,
particularly absence
of evidence of the
temporary works
being designed by a
competent person
Lack of input by CDM
co-ordinator on
temporary works
issues prior to work
starting.
Medium risk
temporary works
being used with
most of the key
elements of a
temporary works
procedure in place
but absence of
some elements
requiring
improvement.
Low risk temporary
works being used
without key
elements of a
temporary works
procedure in place
A temporary
works
procedure for
all categories
consistent with
the advice in
this SIM is in
place and
evidence it is
being used
effectively
Enforcement action
The first consideration is whether there is a need to prohibit some or all aspects of the temporary works (whether
planned or in progress) before considering further action. If there is clear evidence of risk, e.g. signs of structural
distress (distortion, missing bracing, poor foundations, damaged components), overloading of temporary works,
risk of falls from height, a prohibition notice is clearly appropriate. Even where there is no patent evidence of risk
but there is no effective temporary works procedure being employed a prohibition notice might still be required
dependent on the type and complexity of temporary works in use or planned and the competence of those
undertaking the work.
The absence or inadequacy of temporary works procedures should be addressed as an underlying management
failing. Regulation 13 (2) CDM 2007 can be used to require that temporary works are planned, managed and
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monitored in a way which ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, they are carried out without risks to health
and safety.
For CDM-notifiable projects where there is evidence of a lack of effective input by the CDM co-ordinator (e.g. co-
operation between temporary and permanent works designers, adequate construction phase plan arrangements
for dealing with risks), a letter to the CDM co-ordinator would be appropriate.
The following matrix provides guidance on initial enforcement expectations depending on the likelihood of risk.
(The multiple casualties table in EMM has been applied).
Initial enforcement expectation
Control failure Risk of serious
personal injury
likelihood
Consider
PN
Consider
IN
Consider
letter
No temporary works procedure and high risk or complex
temporary works in use or planned
Probable x x
Inadequate temporary works procedures and medium risk
temporary works in use or planned
Possible x
Absence of effective input from CDM co-ordinator
demonstrated by lack of co-operation between temporary
and permanent works designers and/or, inadequate
temporary works arrangements in construction phase plan
Possible/Remote x
References
THE CONCRETE SOCIETY, Falsework Report of the joint committee, The Concrete Society and the Institution
of Structural Engineers, Technical Report TRCS 4, London, July 1971.
BRAGG, S.L.(DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT), Interim Report of
the Advisory Committee on Falsework, London, HMSO, 1974.
BRAGG, S.L.(DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT), Final Report of
the Advisory Committee on Falsework, London, HMSO, June 1975.
PALLETT, P.F. et al (HSE), Investigation into aspects of falsework, HSE Contract Research Report 394/2001,
HMSO, 2001.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON STRUCTURAL SAFETY (SCOSS), Falsework: full circle?, SCOSS Topic Paper
SC/T/02/01, 2002
Appendix 1 temporary works design principles and the
consequences and causes of failure
Design principles
In order to ensure the strength and stability of any temporary works structure, there are 3 fundamental aspects
that need to be considered which can be simplified as follows:
Foundations the ability of the ground to carry the loads transmitted from the temporary works structure
without failure or excessive deformation or settlement.

Structural integrity the ability of the temporary works structure itself to carry and transmit loads to the
ground via the foundations without failure of the structural elements, including fixings and connections
(e.g. by buckling, bending, shear, tension, torsion), and without excessive deflection.

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Stability the ability of the temporary works structure to withstand horizontal or lateral loading without
sway, overturning or sliding failure (stability may be inherent in the temporary works structure itself or
provided by the permanent works).

Consequences of temporary works failure


Failure to adequately design, construct and maintain temporary works can lead to:
Collapse or failure of the temporary works
Structural failures and collapse of the permanent works
Uncontrolled ingress or egress of materials, spoil and water
Collapse of adjacent structures (buildings, transport systems, infrastructure)
Risk of single/multiple fatalities and serious injuries to workers and members of the public
Risk of significant delay and increased costs to construction projects
Significant financial and commercial risks to contractors, sub-contractors, designers, suppliers, and
clients

Causes of temporary works failures


The main causes of temporary works failures include:
Absence of or an inadequate temporary works procedure
No temporary works coordinator (TWC) appointed
Inadequate site investigation (including geotechnical investigation, identification of underground
services, assessment of the structural condition of existing and/or adjacent buildings)

Inadequate, or lack of, design brief


Inadequate, or lack of, design for the temporary works
Inadequate, or lack of, appropriate level of checking of temporary works designs
Lack of awareness on site of temporary works design assumptions
Unavailability of temporary works equipment
Inappropriate use of temporary works equipment
Poorly constructed temporary works and/or absence of checking of adequate erection.
Unauthorised changes to an approved temporary works design
Overloading of temporary works, i.e. failure to control loading or lack of awareness of the capacity of the
equipment (e.g. acrow props)

Inadequate communication of details of the temporary works design to the erectors


Inadequate foundations for the temporary works
Lack of adequate lateral stability for the temporary works
Appendix 2 the impact of changes to the construction industry on
temporary works management and the history of BS 5975
Industry changes
There have been significant changes to the construction industry since the mid 1970s which have affected how
falsework, and more generally temporary works, are dealt with. Recent research5 identified the principal
changes, including:
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Few main contractors now have their own temporary works departments whereas, in the 1970s, almost
all would design temporary works in-house; the responsibility for temporary works now often falls to a
specialist contractor/ supplier which can result in a lengthy supply chain.

In the 1970s, most falsework and temporary works were constructed from scaffold tube and fittings
whereas proprietary systems now dominate the market; therefore, the design skills and knowledge of
the performance of the systems now tends to lie within the specialist organisations.

There has been a gradual but inexorable loss of traditional skills within the construction industry; in
practical terms, this means that the site foreman with a lifetimes experience of what works has been
largely lost.

Procurement routes are now largely chosen to maximise commercial benefit with little regard to
considerations for the flow of information; the difficulties caused by long supply chains are further
exacerbated when design and erection responsibility are split, and when design/supply briefs do not
provide for site visits/inspections.

Research4 into various aspects of falsework produced some worrying findings which included:
A lack of understanding at all levels of the fundamentals of stability of falsework and the basic principles
involved.

Wind loading is rarely considered.


A lack of clarity in terms of the design brief and coverage of key aspects such as ground conditions.
The assumptions for lateral restraint of the falsework made by designers were often ignored or
misunderstood by those on site.

A lack of adequate design checking and erection accuracy.


Based on the research, a number of key concerns were identified:
Competency of the falsework/temporary works designer.
Sufficiency of information.
Adequacy of supervision.
Role of the Temporary Works Co-ordinator
Competency of those erecting falsework/temporary works.
The actions to deal with these concerns are straightforward and require no more than the application of the good
practice given in BS5975:2008. They also fit well with the aspirations of the CDM Regulations 2007 in respect of
their aim of improving the overall co-ordination and management of health and safety throughout all stages of a
construction project.
History of BS5975
The Code of Practice was first published in 1982 as BS5975:1982 Code of practice for falsework, following a
number of significant falsework collapses in the 1970s and an apparent lack of authoritative guidance. A report
on falsework1 by the Joint Committee of the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Concrete Society in 1971
was followed by an advisory committee to investigate the use of falsework, which produced reports2,3 in 1974/5,
the Bragg Reports. Industry then produced the first code of practice (in compliance with one of the
recommendations of the final Bragg Report) and it reflected the recommendations of the Bragg Report and was
based on the Joint Committee report.
BS5975:1982 codified all relevant aspects that should be considered when preparing a design for falsework and
included recommendations for materials, design and work on site. It described procedures as well as technical
aspects because the success of falsework is closely linked to its management. Recommendations were given on
the actions that should be taken and the allocation of duties to individuals. The Bragg Report recommended that
the duty of ensuring that all the relevant procedures and checks are carried out be given to one individual known
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as the Temporary Works Co-ordinator. BS5975:1982 included this recommendation but adopted the narrower
term of Falsework Co-ordinator because the section on procedures only considered falsework and not the wider
activities covered by the more general term of temporary works, such as scaffolding and excavations.
BS5975 was revised in 2008 and now provides recommendations and guidance on the procedural controls to be
applied to all aspects of temporary works in the construction industry, as well as specific guidance on the design,
specification, construction, use and dismantling of falsework. BS5975 describes procedures as well as technical
aspects because the success of falsework and temporary works is closely linked to their management.
Recommendations are given on the actions that should be taken and the allocation of duties to individuals. It is
recommended that the duty of ensuring that all the relevant procedures and checks are carried out be given to
one individual known as the Temporary Works Co-ordinator
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