Safety of construction sites: vademecum for the Client


In relation to the Renovation Bonus (Superbonus) many Clients are struggling with extraordinary maintenance of their properties.

In this article we will provide Clients with a summary of the obligations imposed by the legislation on site safety, responsibilities and strategic tools to protect themselves.

In order not to make the treatment of the issues in question too complex, some regulatory steps have been simplified as they are aimed at a novice public. Please refer to in-depth articles on the discussion of specific topics.


Safety of construction sites: regulatory framework

The text of the law of reference is always the Legislative Decree 81/08, c.d. TUS (Consolidated Safety Act), and specifically the Title IV – TEMPORARY OR MOBILE CONSTRUCTION SITES.

Originally the text of the reference law was Legislative Decree 494/96 (now repealed) also called “Construction Sites Directive“, legislation transposing a Community Directive on safety on temporary and mobile construction sites released in the 90s.

In particular, the reference articles of the TUS are those from 88 to 104 inclusive, as well as Annexes from X to XIX inclusive.


What is a temporary or mobile construction site?

With reference to Article 89 and Annex X of Legislative Decree 81/08, a temporary or mobile construction site, hereinafter referred to as “construction site” is any place where construction or civil engineering works are carried out, i.e. “construction, maintenance, repair, demolition, conservation, rehabilitation, renovation or equipping work, transformation, renewal or dismantling of fixed, permanent or temporary works,  masonry, reinforced concrete, metal, wood or other materials“.

In practice, any intervention of ordinary, extraordinary maintenance and renovation of a property.


What are the obligations of the Client on construction sites or temporary or mobile construction sites?

With reference to Article 90, the Client or the Works Manager (RdL – we will see who he is later) has the following obligations:

  • in construction sites where the presence of several executing companies is expected (even if not simultaneously), appoints the Coordinator for Safety in the Design Phase (CSP) and the Coordinator for Safety in the Execution Phase (CSE)
  • verifies the Technical-Professional Suitability (ITP) of contractors, executing companies and self-employed workers in relation to the functions or works to be entrusted, in the manner set out in Annex XVII
  • asks the executing companies for a Declaration of the Average Annual Headcount (DOMA), distinguished by qualification, accompanied by the details of the workers’ complaints made to the National Institute of Social Security (INPS), the National Institute for Accidents at Work (INAIL) and the construction funds, as well as a declaration relating to the National Collective Labour Agreement (CCNL) stipulated by the comparatively most representative trade unions, applied to employees.
  • transmits to the granting administration, before the start of the works covered by the building permit or the declaration of commencement of activity, a copy of the preliminary notification, the DURC (Single Document of Contributory Regularity) of the companies and self-employed workers, and a declaration certifying the verification of the further documentation referred to in the previous points.


Who is the Construction Site Safety Coordinator?

Leaving aside the regulatory definitions, we can define the Safety Coordinator on construction sites as the technical consultant appointed by the Customer to design the safety of the construction site (CSP) and to verify compliance with the safety standards during construction (CSE). This role, formally defined by Articles. 91 and 92 of the TUS, in smaller construction sites is usually covered by a single professional.

Specifically, the CSP (Safety Coordinator in the Design phase) is the one who prepares:

  • the Safety and Coordination Plan (PSC), the document that specifically defines the coordination and safety measures for the construction site in question
  • the Technical File or Work File (FT), the document that must be kept by the Customer for future maintenance or adaptation.

On the contrary, the CSE (Safety Coordinator in the execution phase) is the one who supervises the compliance, by the executing companies, with the safety standards on site and the suitability of the documents produced by them, through:

  • inspections recorded on the construction site (VIS)
  • Security Coordination Meetings (RCS)
  • checks on the documentation produced by the executing companies (POS and construction site safety documents specific to each company) and on the suitability of the workers operating on site.

In order to cover the role of CSP and CSE, a technical qualification (surveyor, engineer or architect) and a 120-hour specialization course (with subsequent refresher courses) are required.


Who is the Project Manager?

The RDL or Works Manager is instead the subject to whom the Customer can delegate the tasks indicated in the previous paragraph.

Unlike the construction site safety coordinator, to carry out the function of RdL no special skills or qualifications are needed, even if it is widely desirable to identify a subject with requirements similar to those of the CSP or CSE in order not to make the institution of delegation ineffective (translated: it is not very protective for a Client to transfer control and supervision tasks to a subject that does not have adequate skills).


Does the appointment of the RDL exempt the Customer from liability?

With reference to Article 93, the Client is exempt from the responsibilities related to the fulfillment of the obligations limited to the task conferred on the Project Manager. Furthermore, the designation of the CSP and the CSE does not exempt the client or the RdL from the responsibilities related to the verification of the fulfillment of the obligations referred to in articles 91, paragraph 1, and 92, paragraph 1, letters a), b), c) d) and e) ie the main obligations imposed by the legislator on the CSP and the CSE

It is important to underline that the Legislator and the judgments of the Supreme Court have identified the Client as the “economic engine” of the work, effectively imposing on them the task of carrying out assessments on the safety and health of workers operating on the site. In fact, it is the Client who almost always chooses the companies on the basis of technical-professional requirements or economic evaluations, who agrees with the designer the tender specifications and who often enters into the merits of the technical-operational solutions.

In all these cases, which can be defined by the judge as interference by the Customer on the choices of the companies and on the methods of execution of the works, there is a profile of civil and criminal co-responsibility of the Customer in the event of an accident at work.


Strategies to reduce civil and criminal liability in the event of an accident on site

From the above and on the basis of the principle of “culpa in eligendo” and “culpa in vigilando” it is clear that the Customer must take specific actions to avoid civil or criminal co-liability profiles. Specifically, the priority strategies are:

  • Appoint CSPs and CSEs that have previous skills and experience in the field of construction site safety (through the analysis of CVs and training certificates)
  • Verify that the technical offer specifies the methods of service provision (e.g. number of inspections planned during the construction site, methods of recording inspections and coordination meetings, etc.)
  • Be wary of “allologists”; the technician who plays the role of designer, construction manager, who presents the practice in the land registry, who processes the energy certification and also deals with the Restructuring Bonus, very rarely has experience in the field of construction site safety, a theme that with the evolution of the legislation requires technical-legal skills that cannot be acquired with a construction site safety course (even if lasting 120 hours)
  • Check which IT tools the technician uses to effectively perform the role of RdL or CSE. And in this case we are not referring to the availability of a construction site safety software for the processing of PSC or FT but of computerized management tools (such as management platforms) able to simplify the verification processes of all the documentation concerning safety (priority and somewhat protective aspect for the Customer).



Based on the above, it can be said that safety on construction sites has evolved enormously in the last decade, presupposing increasingly specialized and targeted skills on the part of technicians operating in the sector. By analogy, the legislator has defined a central role of the Client as safety supervisor, it is in fact inevitable the interference of the same in the decision-making processes and in the choices of suppliers and making these tasks and responsibilities fall on the field of site safety.


Do you need to appoint the CSP, CSE or RdL for your construction site?

Safetyone Ingegneria Srl, thanks to its twenty years of experience in the sector, is able to provide you with a fast, economical and professional service.