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Core curriculum topic: Health, safety and wellbeing

To help you gain the skills you need to practise architecture now and in the future as a RIBA Chartered Member, we have defined 10 mandatory core curriculum topics to address through CPD.

The topic Health, safety and wellbeing helps you understand your legal, professional and ethical duties in relation to construction site and workplace safety and wellbeing. The topic also covers developing and managing appropriate strategies, processes, tools and systems, as designers, Principal Designers, architects, business and employers.

Health, safety and wellbeing (incorporating the Health and Life Safety mandatory competence knowledge schedule*)

This competency potentially covers:


The Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Edinburgh Schools Inquiry and the review of the building safety regulatory regime all revealed the need to raise general levels of professional competence in relation to building safety. The RIBA mandatory competence in health and life safety and this associated knowledge schedule have been developed to help ensure RIBA Chartered Architects are safe when visiting sites and that they are competent to design buildings that are safe to construct, inhabit, use and maintain.

*Preparing to visit site

  • Site surveys and research
  • Plan of work
  • Site occupation and vacant sites
  • Clothing, equipment and personal protective equipment
  • Weather conditions
  • First aid

*Undertaking site visits

  • Lone working
  • Personal site safety
  • Person responsible for control of the site
  • Induction and orientation
  • Site behaviour, communication and emergencies
  • Safety signage
  • Navigating around site, vehicles and mobile plant
  • Inspecting construction work
  • Post site visit activity

*Site hazards

  • Site assessment
  • Site contamination
  • Falls from height
  • Slips and trips
  • Unsafe Structures
  • Excavations
  • Enclosed spaces
  • Confined spaces
  • Respiratory hazards (dust and fumes)
  • Noise
  • Hazardous substances
  • Fire safety
  • Manual handling
  • Geological, man-made landscape or hydrological features
  • Flora and fauna

*Design risk management

  • Advising clients
  • Principles of design risk management
  • General principles of prevention
  • Hazard awareness and risk identification
  • Significant hazards and risks
  • Communication and co-ordination (including meetings, residual risk registers, drawings and models)

*Statute, Guidance and Codes of Conduct

  • Statute and the regulatory environment (legislation under the Building Act and Health and Safety at Work Act)

o The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare)
Regulations 1996

o The Management of Health and Safety at Work
Regulations 1999

o The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

o Work at Height Regulations 2005

o Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act

o Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

o Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002

o Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous
Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

  • Statutory and non-statutory guidance

o Approved Documents

o British, European and International Standards

o Professional guidance

o Trade and product guidance

  • Codes of conduct

*CDM Regulations

  • Duty Holders – their roles and responsibilities
  • Regulation 8 – General duties
  • Regulation 9 – Designer duties
  • Regulation 11 – Principal Designer duties
  • Differences for domestic’ projects
  • Absolute and qualified duties in CDM 2015
  • Understanding of the concept of “so far as is reasonably practicable” (SFARP) and its application
  • Pre-Construction Information- deliverables
  • Notification of HSE by client
  • Construction Phase plan
  • Pre-construction information and the health and safety file

Building Safety

  • Building Safety Dutyholders
  • Building Safety Competence
  • Higher Risk Buildings and Gateways
  • Construction Product Regulations

* Principles of Fire Safety Design

  • Ignition, development and spread of fire
  • Fire performance of construction materials
  • Design for fire safety
  • Fire safety information (Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations)

The RIBA has published a Health and Safety Guide to improve standards and help members prepare for this Mandatory Competence test.

Practice management

  • Employers’ and employees’ responsibilities
  • Risk assessments
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation
  • Electrical safety
  • First aid
  • Lone working
  • Staff safety out of office – on site (CSCS) and/or surveying
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Visiting the site safely; provision and use of PPE

Health, safety and wellbeing accreditation systems

  • RIBA Health and Safety Test
  • Safety schemes in procurement including CHAS, SSIP, SMAS
  • Considerate Constructors
  • Safe Contractor
  • CSCS card scheme
  • BS OHSAS 18001 – to be replaced by ISO 45001
  • Occupational health and safety management systems (2018)
  • WELL Building Standard

Find CPD on this topic

You must take two hours of CPD on this topic every year.

Find RIBA accredited CPD on Health, safety and wellbeing through RIBA Academy.

Related courses include:

Find related CPD offered by our partners on the CPD Providers Network.

Podcasts, videos, articles, and other offers can also contribute towards your CPD requirements.

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