BEST PRACTICE IN THE PLANNING AND CO-ORDINATION OF WORKS


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Introduction

Section 59 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 states that: -

'A street authority shall use their best endeavours to co-ordinate the execution of works of all kinds (including works for road purposes) in the streets for which they are responsible-
i. in the interests of safety
ii. to minimise the inconvenience to persons using the street (having regard, in particular, to the needs of people with a disability)
iii. to protect the structure of the street and the integrity of apparatus in it.

That duty extends to co-ordination with other street authorities where works in a street for which one authority are responsible affect streets for which other authorities are responsible.

Section 60 of the Act states

'An Undertaker shall as regards the execution of street works use his best endeavours to co-operate with the street authority and with other undertakers-
i. in the interests of safety
ii. to minimise the inconvenience to persons using the street (having regard, in particular, to the needs of people with a disability)
ii. to protect the structure of the street and the integrity of apparatus in it.

The Secretary of State shall issue or approve for the purpose of these sections codes of practice giving practical guidance as to the matters mentioned above

The above places a legal responsibility on the both the street authority and the undertaker. However we are also obliged to co-ordinate works through our various organisations commitments to customer care and this is usually stated in the mission statement.

Co-ordination information

There is no secret formula to easy planning and co-ordination of works and it is not possible to just buy a software package off the shelf that does the job. Much of the work will be down to the efforts of individuals who build up knowledge of both the works and network they have responsibility for and the contacts and activities of neighbouring areas.

This document establishes an easy to follow procedure that should be applicable to both Undertakers and street authorities major/medium and minor works in the majority of cases. The procedures take account of the necessity to adhere to Sections 59 and 60 of the Act and customer care requirements as well as the interests of other 'stakeholders' in the works.

By following them it is envisaged that many of the problems and disruption that happen when works start and progress on site will be avoided by planning in advance to take account of them. This will assist in creating a better public and Government perception of our abilities and performance as well as helping to ensure that budgets are adhered to.

Most Authorities operate two databases of works information. For major works/events planned in advance there is the Co-ordination Database that contains information on planned activities that may be scheduled as far advanced as 5 or more years. Some Authorities databases are held on the East Midlands HAUC website located at www.emhauc.org.uk , although others are held locally by Authorities.

In line with E-government requirements information is usually exchanged electronically and for those Databases held on the EMHAUC website available in Excel format to download.. This enables users to then check their information and to then feed back updates on their plans, which in turn are uploaded to the site on a regular basis.

In line with the legal requirements of NRSWA Authorities also operate Street Works Registers. These contain information on all works/events that have been noticed to the Authority in line with the legal requirements of NRSWA.

The Register in effect contains information on what is actually happening or planned to happen rather then the Co-ordination Database that contains information on longer-term potential works/events.

The Street Works Register is not capable of holding both sets of data at present and this reflects the current limitations of the available software and the complexities of current legislation on Notices.

Design, planning and execution of works

Works can be divided into: -
i. major/medium schemes which are known about and planned for well in advance
ii.standard/minor works that are usually customer driven and are usually only known about a few days prior to their execution

Most works on the highway have three distinct stages -
i. planning
ii.design
iii.execution.

The processes for co-ordination requires the full involvement of those involved in these stages.

Major/Medium Works

Those involved in the planning of any works on the highway should be aware of potential schemes or 'wish lists' of schemes far in advance of any potential start dates. Some schemes are known about for years in advance. It is the responsibility of those involved in the planning process to ensure that they 'register' their potential schemes on the Co-ordination Database as far in advance as possible. The detail of this information at this stage may be vague but it at least has 'flagged' the possibility of works. As details become established the information on the Database can be updated. This then allows those involved at Authority Offices in the co-ordination of works/events to establish what may be happening on their network and adjoining Areas in the future months and years. This should allow discussions involving all potential parties to be established at an early stage It also allows those other planners of works who may have an interested in a particular part of the network to establish at an early stage what is happening on that stretch of road that may influence decision making processes in their organisations which in turn may bring about new proposals for works from them. The opportunities for trench sharing or the sharing of a temporary closure of a road are two possible scenarios that may bring about such a situation.

Those designing schemes, whether they be highway or utility works, should, on being given a design brief, give initial thought to the effects that the works will have on the network and the time scales that are involved. Prior to beginning any involved design work they should be consulting with the relevant Authority staff involved in the co-ordination of works and traffic management to discuss the proposals. In addition further checks should also have been carried out on the Co-ordination Database to establish if there are any other works that may have a direct affect or compromise the works that they are planning. In this way the design of the works can take account of the limitations that may exist. It is far easier to design certain restrictions or modifications into a scheme at an early stage rather than once the contract has been let and the contractor is put in a position of having to make claims or the works themselves are quickly compromised.

If the above processes are carried out then the continued dialogue that is established should ensure that the works will be planned to take account of any traffic management requirements and that they will not conflict with other major works/events or be compromised by other works once completed.

Once precise dates have been established for the commencement of the scheme, those responsible (usually those involved in the execution of the works) should then submit the relevant Notices in accordance with NRSWA to be included in the Street Works Register. In view of the above procedures, the arrival of these Notices should be not be a surprise to the Authority and should in effect just be the confirmation of what is already known and agreed. Once under way the dialogue must continue so that the Authority staff involved in co-ordination and traffic management are aware of the progress of the scheme and any alterations or delays that may affect other works/events. Such alterations will be reflected in the Street Works Register by the submission of updated Notices and depending upon the duration of the scheme may well require the update of information held on the Co-ordination Database.

Minor/standard Works

Those involved in these schemes are usually solely responsible for the planning, design and execution of these works and have a much shorter timescale in which to carry out the required processes. These works will not usually be included in the Co-ordination Database but those responsible should still be expected to view the data to establish if there are any potential conflicts or opportunities for working with others already planning works at the same location. The dialogue should still be established with those responsible for Authority co-ordination and traffic management and conflicts with other works discussed. Notices are submitted in accordance with NRSWA but if the above has been followed then there should be minimal co-ordination issues.

Interface with Trunk Road works

As the Trunk Road network forms the 'Backbone' of the road network in most Authority areas and surroundin areas it is essential that works of all types on both County and Trunk roads be interfaced to ensure that they are not compromised. Those involved in the design, planning and/or execution of works on either network must consult with all the appropriate Authorities at all stages in the life of the works and ensure that the Co-Ordination Data Base is consulted and updated and that Notices for the Street Works register are issued as soon as possible. Again, consultation from an early stage and throughout the progress of the works is essential.

Step by step procedures

The links below lead to the procedures that are applicable to the design, planning and execution of both major/medium and minor works for Authorities and Utilities. It should be noted that they are provided as guidance but provide the major steps that should be applicable to the successful and less disruptive completion of works on the highway

BEST PRACTICE PROCEDURES FOR UTILITIES PLANNING MAJOR/MEDIUM WORKS

BEST PRACTICE PROCEDURES FOR UTILITIES PLANNING MINOR WORKS

BEST PRACTICE PROCEDURES FOR HIGHWAY AUTHORITIES PLANNING MAJOR/MEDIUM WORKS

BEST PRACTICE PROCEDURES FOR HIGHWAY AUTHORITIES PLANNING MINOR WORKS