Last edited 04 Jan 2022

Construction site


A construction site is an area or piece of land on which construction works are being carried out.

The term ‘building site’ is often used interchangeably with construction site, although this tends to indicate that buildings (and sometimes, more specifically, housing) are being constructed, whereas the term ‘construction site’ can refer to all types of works, such as road construction, sewer construction, landscaping, and so on.

The CDM Regulations suggest that a construction site: '...includes any place where construction work is being carried out or to which the workers have access, but does not include a workplace within the site which is set aside for purposes other than construction work.'

Typically, land will become a construction site when it is handed over to a contractor to begin the construction works. Regulation 6 of the CDM regulations requires that notice is given to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins. On projects involving more than one contractor, the CDM regulations also require that the client appoints a principal contractor to co-ordinate the construction phase.

In the first phase of the works, construction may be restricted to preliminary activities such as; securing the site, site clearance, setting up site facilities, demolition, groundworks, and so on. It is often apparent that a site has become a construction site when hoarding is erected to secure its perimeter.

It is relatively common for sites to remain in this 'prepared' condition for some time with little evidence of further construction works being undertaken. This may be due to complexities in securing all the land required, obtaining permissions, securing all the funding required, complex ground works, ongoing design, and so on. This can leave developers open to accusations of landbanking.

Once above ground works begin, construction sites may appear to progress relatively quickly as structural frames grow and cladding is installed. They may then appear to slow again as internal fit outs are undertaken and finishing work is carried out.

Typically, a construction site will revert to being a non-construction site when it is handed back to the client on certification of practical completion. However, there may be ongoing minor works required to rectify any defects that become apparent.

NB The Scottish Building Standards, Part I. Technical Handbook – Domestic, Appendix A Defined Terms, defines site in relation to a building as: ‘…the area of ground covered or to be covered by the building, including its foundations.’

On Designing Buildings Wiki, there is a range of useful information relating to construction sites, including:


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