The importance of a Digital Health & Safety File specification

Updated: Jan 17, 2019

whole asset lifecycle solution

Dealing with Construction Handover Documentation (health & safety file/o&m’s) without the proper procedures in place, it’s fair to say the task at hand is quite daunting. Unless there is a detailed specification implemented in the tender documentation that ensures solid communication, detailed quality approval process and clear deadlines you are going to be left with a format that is sloppy and disorganised. With the new CDM regulations the role of the CDM has been replaced with the Principal Designer, in this blog we want to highlight the importance of including a high quality Digital Health & Safety file performance specification that deals solely with Construction Handover Documentation and the procedures that will help the Principal Designer to fulfil the role.

Pre-Tender / Design Stage

The problems that most companies face with Handover can be dealt with at the Pre Tender / Design Stage, speaking with our clients and understanding the market we know that these problems include –

  • Poor standard of documentation

  • Lack of structure

  • No Coordination / Planning

  • Information being submitted months after PC

  • No communication throughout the build

The key to a successful fluid Handover is how the information is specified, a high performance detailed specification lays the foundation for how documentation should be collated, managed and designed with a highlight on communication at the early stages of construction. The role of the Principal Designer (PD) at this stage is to clearly understand and document the clients preferred Handover Documentation coordination delivery. Once a strong platform is set up with a structured process based on the client’s specific requirements we can then move on to the construction stage of the project.

Construction Stage

With a specification implemented in the tender documentation a full coordination and quality approval process is set up. This includes developing a close working relationship with all Sub Contractors on site, highlighting the information required from each separate Sub Contractor along with establishing clear deadlines and target dates for information to be submitted. This logical process allows for documentation to be easily shared and ready for weekly reviews meetings so that any problems identified can be addressed in a timely manner. The client is able to see the information securely online as the building is developed. This provides peace of mind to the facility management team and also vastly reducing the risk of documentation not been handed over on time. The new CDM regulations highlight that a good working relationship between the Client/Principal Designer/Main Contractor is crucial in order to provide relevant documentation at the specified time. If the specification is fully implemented the Principal Designer should have the answers to the following questions as proposed in the CDM regulations 2015 -

  • ​Is the information reliable

  • Where has it came from

  • Is there any information missing

  • Would a site visit help to confirm the accuracy of information


At Practical Completion the Construction Handover Documentation (Health & Safety File) should be 90% coordinated, reviewed, approved, published and handed over to the client. Staying relevant with recent advances in technology along with Government regulations (GSL) is crucial to the long term planning of the asset. The Principal Designer prime responsibility is to prepare, develop and handover the Health & Safety file to the client. What the client now has is not just a Handover process but a secure, up to date building life cycle management tool.