Contractors and consultants may have to prove their competence through schemes such as Constructionline.
Planning supervisors, widely criticised as ineffective, could be axed under a safety drive to be launched by Sir John Egan. The move will come as part of a shake-up of the Construction (Design and Management) regulations.

Contractors and consultants may have to prove their competence through accreditation to trade associations, independent certifiers and industry schemes such as Constructionline.

The changes, being discussed by the Strategic Forum, are expected to be part of the Health and Safety Executive's consultation document, which will form the basis of possible legislation to modify safety regulations.

Under the proposal, the planning supervisor, appointed by a client to act as safety co-ordinator on a project, would become redundant. Egan is pushing for the creation of an integrated supply team where responsibility for safety would be shared and risk could be designed out before construction work began. Planning supervisors are likely to remain for one-off jobs, however.

A Whitehall source confirmed that the role of the planning supervisor had come under scrutiny and that they could be phased out of major projects.

Egan confirmed last week that the CDM regulations and the role of the planning supervisor were to be looked at by the forum. Speaking at the Constructors Liaison Group Conference, he said: "We want to put proper regulations in to make sure we stop killing people."

HSE chief construction inspector Kevin Myers said the CDM regulations would be reconsidered as part of the consultation document.

He said: "If there are ideas emerging from the Strategic Forum that suggest that building-in a supply chain can support the objectives of CDM, we will be happy to back them."

A revised approved code of practice for the CDM regulation in their current form is to be launched by the HSE next month.

Liaison group chief executive Rudi Klein said CDM regulations did not do enough to measure the competence of contractors and consultants.

He said: "There is strong support within the Strategic Forum to promote and facilitate supply-chain integration through the CDM regulations."

Klein added that the move could give a boost to two struggling government accreditation schemes: the quality mark and Constructionline, which could be merged.

Egan also emphasised the need for an integrated supply team. He said that theoretically, the industry could reduce the number of deaths on site by 90% by bringing in the supply team earlier, preplanning and designing out the safety risks.

He said: "Let's really get to grips with the disgraceful position we are faced with, this brutality of killing the people we employ."

Egan also pledged that the Strategic Forum would write a guide for the occasional client to advise them on using Egan principles in one-off construction projects.