Good Design Practice

There are many examples of good design practice, including:

Example of minimising working adjacent to high-speed traffic:

A steel footbridge was erected over a busy roadway. A single span was practicable and was chosen so as to reduce dangers to road vehicles. A lightweight design was utilised, enabling the bridge to be lifted into place during a single road closure held on a weekend night. There was minimal need for temporary works. The connections and lifting points were designed to allow speedy pre-assembly.

Examples of designing out the need to perform work at height:

A designer had specified timber cladding on a building façade, including the gables. All the cladding, would be accessible for periodic maintenance by mobile elevating work platform, except for one gable adjacent to a narrow passageway. The cladding on the gables was replaced by a low maintenance anodised aluminium cladding.

     image representing good design practice

A designer had specified that air-conditioning units be mounted 2.5m high on an external wall. This would have required periodic access for maintenance and ladders would likely by used. Working on ladders is a high risk activity and the designer changed the mounting height to 0.6m. to avoid the need for work at a height.


A designer considered the use of a water-based paint for the exterior of a metal spire on a tall building to reduce exposure to solvents. She determined that the level of exposure to solvents from a solvent based paint would be low and that the metalwork would require more frequent repainting with a water-based paint. She, therefore, concluded that it was better to specify the solvent-based paint because of the high risk of frequent working at height.

Example of making arrangements to permit safer means of work at a height:

In preparing the drainage layout for a fast-track project, the drainage lines were arranged so that the drains could be laid without preventing access for the use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) that had been chosen to provide safe access for the erection of the structural steelwork.

Example of designing features to reduce risks from fall from height:

In the design of a roof, the designer increased the height of the parapet from 450 mm to 1,100 mm prior to application for planning permission to facilitate safety in both the construction of the roof and future maintenance on the finished roof and associated drains.

Example of minimising disturbance to contaminated ground:

A development was built on a former industrial site that contained some contaminated ground. Records giving information on the history of the site were supplied by the client and these outlined the extent of the contamination. Contact with the contaminants was minimised by using driven piles to reduce ground disturbance; the designer having judged it better to accept the noise, etc of driven piles. Relevant information was passed to the Project Supervisor Design Process for inclusion in the Safety File. Services were placed in ducts to minimise contact with contaminants for future maintenance work.