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Construction Method Statement

What exactly is a method statement?

It’s essentially a risk assessment document detailing the work that is to be carried out in a precise, specific and orderly manner. It needs to address all of the potential risks and hazards associated with the task.

A few years ago a subcontractor could get away with a vague generic construction method statement. Today, both architects and principle contractors are scrutinizing methods statements more closely.

Why all the fuss about?

Construction remains a disproportionally unsafe environment when compared to industries like manufacturing. In an attempt to reduce incidents (many of which are fatal), contractors and subcontractors are required to complete a series of documents to comply with safety legislation – one of which is the mandatory risk assessment.

On medium to large construction sites, the principle contractors are taking method statement documents very seriously – so seriously that in fact as a subcontractor, you may be prevented from working on a site without the correct risk assessments and method statement documentation duly signed by all the parties.

The subcontractor, for example, must detail precisely how they will be doing specific tasks.

Example: Say a subcontractor is required to do some deep trenching. As we all know, deep trenching can be potentially dangerous to the workmen, and the people around the vicinity of the work area.

What the method statement does is explain how the job will be done in a safe and orderly manner. It details precisely how the subcontractor will prevent any collapse of the trench, for example.

  • How will the responsible people ensure that there will be support on all sides – at 45 degree angle to the horizontal?
  • What methods are in place to ensure that the vertical trench side below the support portion will not exceed 1.5 meters in height?
  • What is the method to inspect that the supports will be checked daily to ensure its effectiveness?

Construction method statements are essentially risk assessments for particular tasks.

In other words; it’s a careful examination of what might cause harm to people so that the responsible people can weigh up what precautions will be.

In many cases, the subcontractor has to submit the risk assessment to the Engineer, as required by the project tender terms and conditions.

This document also covers details with regard to:

  • Construction methods and procedures
  • What materials and equipment to be used
  • How will the subcontractor/contractor get the equipment to and from site
  • Where will the materials be stored
  • The exact location of activities
  • Satisfy everyone that all compliance/ non-compliance with the Specifications are being adhered to legal and local regulatory requirements
  • Any other deemed necessary by the Engineer

The method statement must be accepted and signed off by all the parties involved; namely the subcontractor, the principle contractor and in some cases by the consulting engineers before the work begins.

For other articles on method statements for construction, visit http://www.mepconstructionworld.com

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