In this Blog, I will be discussing what a Method Statement is, what it consists of when it is typically used and the relationship between a Method Statement and a Party Wall Award.
What is a Method Statement?
A Method Statement put simply is a document that details a step-by-step process on how work is to be carried out safely on a building site. Typically, the Method Statement will break down the project from beginning to end and will indicate usually on a weekly basis what phase of the project will be taking place each week. Each of those weeks is further broken down into descriptive words on how that phase of work is to be carried out in detail. This helps reassure the client and any concerned parties as they can somewhat grasp and follow the project and what the expectations are. It also provides structure and a general timeline the project should follow.
A method statement usually includes some form of Risk Assessment or is usually produced alongside a separate Risk Assessment. The purpose a Risk Assessment serves is to make apparent all possible risks that may arise on a building site and the safety precautions considered to control those risks. Usually, you’ll find details on protective equipment on the building site, Health and Safety procedures and contacts and the general protocol to prevent issues but also the actions to take when an issue arises.
What does a Method Statement consist of?
A Method Statement typically is quite easy to digest due to the layout and step-by-step format it follows. It is almost like a set of instructions which specifies what the Method Statement is for and each activity the contractor needs to take from beginning to end to produce a finished project. Within that set of instructions, the document will typically specify each action and description of works and is numbered, in the order it is to be completed with some scope for the duration of each action.
The reason a method statement can be useful on construction projects is the work involved can be so varied, it is difficult to follow one path to ensure the safety of all workmen and that the project is carried out safely and correctly without causing any damage. The method statement helps identify the possible risks and provides a clear set of instructions to follow specific to the project. This is important because typically, in the construction industry, you complete a project and move on to the next. While each project has similarities, there will always be many differences and new challenges to overcome. Some of the variables that change are the location, possibly the team, client, circumstances etc. Each of these variables can affect the course a project follows. The Method Statement should take these variables into account and be reflected in the set of instructions so it can be referred to.
Some key points that may be covered within a Method Statement can be found below.
- The name of the Project
- The specific activity the Method Statement is for
- A description of the works
- The Start Date, the intended duration of the work and the intended end date
- The Hours of work
- The name of the Assessor
- The name of the personnel with key responsibilities
- The identified hazards associated with the task/project
- The identified hazards associated with the site and environment
- References to other key documents such as a Risk Assessment that is relevant to the task/project
- The planned work procedure, the sequence the work is to follow and general control measures
- PPE Requirements if applicable
- Management arrangements
- Monitoring arrangements
- First Aid and welfare arrangements
- Emergency Procedures
What a Method Statement would be used for in relation to Party Wall Works
When discussing Party Wall works; there are different types of work that could be taking place and a Method Statement isn’t typically required for all of them. It is apparent in projects that are to be deemed to be riskier.
The projects you are likely to see a Method Statement are where there are Basement Excavations, especially in a Terraced/Semi-Detached Environment. This is because the level of work taking place is usually quite extensive and comes with risk to the adjoining properties. Another type of work you might find the use for a Method Statement is when Underpinning is taking place. This is because it involves the action of securing a wall or structure whilst works are taking place close to the subject and could cause damage.
You may also see Method Statements on projects such as Loft work and Rear Extensions when it is more extensive than the basic residential loft extension/rear extension. Or when the Party Wall where the works are taking place or close to where the works are taking place is in heavy disrepair. The Method Statement can be used to reassure concerned parties that additional care will be taken to preserve the damaged area and that additional methods are considered to safeguard the area of concern.
Is a Method Statement a requirement in a Party Wall Award?
In addition to the above, A Method Statement is not a requirement Under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 but is advised to be considered on projects that are typically riskier than what would be considered a standard Party Wall Project. A Party Wall Award typically consists of clauses to protect owners, a Schedule of Condition Report, and some drawings usually to indicate what works are taking place. On a simple Party Wall Job, this would be sufficient However, as the risk increases and the level of work required become more extensive you will find that the Party Wall Award consists of more documents and information to indicate that further considerations have been considered before signing off on a Party Wall Award. Some of these can include; Structural Drawings, a Checking Engineer, Security for Expenses or a Risk Assessment and Method Statement. Whilst it may not be a compulsory requirement; it is advisable to have this considered on projects where there are increased risks.