Blog • 03.04.17

The Alcumus SafeContractor Guide to Subcontracting

You probably know that your business needs high health and safety standards to become SafeContractor accredited. But did you know that your subcontractors also need to uphold these standards?

As a contractor, you should be aware that you can be held liable for the actions of your subcontractors. That’s why a strong policy on subcontracting is required for SafeContractor accreditation. Here are 7 tips to ensure that you monitor your subcontractors to the highest standards possible:

1. Work with SafeContractor accredited subcontractors.

The simplest way of establishing that your subcontractors work safely is to require that they hold valid accreditation with SafeContractor (or a similar member of SSiP). SafeContractor accreditation demonstrates that a contractor has already been assessed against the SSiP Core Criteria, which is aligned to the Government-backed construction pre-qualification document PAS91. Using SafeContractor accredited subcontractors also reduces the cost and hassle of assessing contractors yourself.

2. If your potential subcontractors aren’t SafeContractor accredited, make them complete a health and safety assessment questionnaire before you offer them work.

This questionnaire should allow any potential subcontractors to outline their health and safety policies. It should also ask who gives them competent advice regarding health and safety procedures. We have an example health and safety assessment questionnaire that you can use in our Selection and Assessment of Subcontractors Guidance Note.

3. Ensure that all subcontractors in the supply chain are screened in advance of the job.

This includes all the subcontractors you hire directly AND any businesses that they subcontract. It is your subcontractors’ responsibility to monitor their own subcontractors, but you could still be liable for any issues that arise on your site. To protect yourself, it is wise to check that your subcontractors have appropriate screening processes in place for their own subcontractors.

4. Before starting work, make sure that your subcontractors have completed a risk assessment to a competent standard.

This is a legal requirement. While your risk assessment should cover your own work activities, it is your subcontractors’ responsibility to create one for any work that they will be carrying out. Our Risk Assessment Guidance Note can be found here.

5. A method statement should also be completed by your subcontractor before beginning the job.

While this isn’t a legal requirement, it is best practice and follows HSE advice. Read our Guide to Method Statements here.

6. If you are working in construction, you will need a construction phase plan (CPP).

A CPP is a legal requirement in the construction industry and must be devised by the principal contractor (usually the first contractor chosen for the job). If you are the principal contractor you will need to create the CPP, but you must make sure all your subcontractors are aware of it. This is because the CPP will give your subcontractors an overview of the job and provide guidance while they carry out their work. Our Construction Phase Plan (CPP) Guidance Note can be found here.

7. Once work has started, your subcontractors should be monitored on site throughout the project process.

This can be done in several ways, including:

  • Observing your subcontractors carrying out the work.
  • Performing or requesting on site audits and inspections.
  • Obtaining feedback from your clients.
  • Checking that subcontractors are following their risk assessments and method statements.
  • If applicable, ensuring your subcontractors are following the CPP.

For more information about subcontracting, please read our Selection and Assessment of Subcontractors Guidance Note.