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Love for Life: Preconstruction Injury Free Environment

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During the early stages of the southern section of the main works contract for High Speed Two (HS2) Phase one, the contractor team recognised the importance of applying behavioural principles to design and other preconstruction functions, such as procurement, planning and commercial.

The project adapted the contractor’s successful construction-based Love for Life behavioural programme, in particular the Injury Free Environment (IFE) Orientation session, based on a previous Crossrail behavioural safety programme, and created one specifically for pre-construction.

The benefits of this were in the heightened awareness of the impact on those that will construct, operate and use the railway. As with construction stage behavioural safety programmes, it is a further step toward the long-term goal of zero-harm in and from construction.

Background and industry content

Traditionally on joint venture projects, particularly within the rail sector, behavioural programmes are implemented during the construction phase. A successful example of this is Be Safe Injury Free (BSIF) that was rolled out across the numerous Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV) projects working across the Crossrail portfolio. BSIF blended the established programmes of Costain’s Behavioural Management (CBM) and Skanska’s Injury Free Environment (IFE) to create a robust framework to embed the necessary values and behaviours into the project culture during the construction phase. BSIF directly supported Crossrail’s ‘Target Zero’ philosophy to further underpin both client and project values.

The Main Works Civils Contract (MWCC) for the southern section of High Speed Two (HS2) Phase One which includes the Northolt Tunnels and the Euston Tunnel and Approaches, being delivered by the SCS Integrated Project Team.

At tender stage of the MWCC, SCS recognised the positive impact of BSIF on the overall culture of CSJV projects delivering Crossrail and committed to developing a behavioural programme that would be an extension of the BSIF model, be relevant during preconstruction and support HS2’s Safe at heart framework. It would also complement the core principles of Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations and encourage those involved in the preconstruction phase to consider how risk could be eliminated during design and wider preconstruction decisions.

In addition, SCS was also keen to expand the offering of the behavioural programme so that it covered more than the elements of Costain’s CBM and Skanska’s IFE. SCS wanted a vehicle that would promote the project values and encourage the associated behaviours required. This was to ensure that the importance of physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing were given the same prominence as safety.

Once the intention of the behavioural programme had been established, the founding training elements were agreed. Due to the success of BSIF, it was decided that both IFE and CBM would remain and would be supported by two additional elements: health and wellbeing and mental health. This resulted in the creation of the Love for Life behavioural programme for HS2 London Tunnels.

Why Love for Life?

The Love for Life behavioural programme took its name from one of the SCS project values. Figure 1 illustrates the current values for SCS:

Diagram of the five project values that are promoted through the behavioural programme
Figure 1: The five project values that are promoted through the behavioural programme

The Love for Life value directly links to HS2’s Safe at Heart programme and the wider health, safety and wellbeing programme for the project through emphasis on care for others and considering out impact in how we work.

HS2 Safe at HeartSCS Love for Life
  • Caring about ourselves, our colleagues, everyone impacted by HS2 and the work we do.
  • Making sure that every decision and action we take in our teams and organisations counts.
  • Recognising that what we do matters to the future of our industry and country.

‘We take care and responsibility for the wellbeing of the HS2 family, our people, our families and the communities and the environment in which we will work in. We are safe at heart, working safely or not at all.’

Figure 2: A comparison of Safe at heart and Love for Life

The breadth in scope of this value and the associated behavioural programme meant that any training and implementation activity linked to it needed to respond to these requirements throughout the project lifecycle.

Preconstruction Injury Free Environment (IFE)

Due to the impactful and immersive nature of IFE, it was decided that this session would be imperative at project onboarding stage. A successful precedent had already been set for this on CSJV Crossrail projects as the session enabled all levels of the Integrated Project Team (IPT) to reflect on their own personal commitment to health, safety, and wellbeing.

An expectation was set that, as a minimum requirement, all the HS2 IPTs would need to attend IFE as part of the project onboarding process. However, it was apparent that the existing content of an IFE orientation was targeted at a construction-based audience and was unlikely to have the same impact on the preconstruction team currently working or due to start working on the project. In response to this challenge, SCS’s preconstruction phase leadership team identified an opportunity to develop an orientation session that was appropriate for a preconstruction audience, particularly designers.

As with traditional construction-based IFE, the content and delivery needed to be important, relevant and personal to the audience for it to have the necessary impact. The leadership team was keen for the session to raise awareness of the long-term impact of decisions made on health, safety and wellbeing, at design stage. At this point in time, the ‘hearts and minds’ of the preconstruction community, particularly designers, had not been explored. This was an important consideration as decisions made at design stage are far removed from the consequences experienced by those during construction. Another purpose of the session was for the audience to consider the opportunity that they all have, to lead the culture and achieve Safe at Heart.

Additional support

Once the requirement for a preconstruction orientation was recognised, there was a need to revise the existing material. SCS sought external support from a consultant, JMJ Associates, and Skanska to help develop the new content. Both JMJ and Skanska had co-created the original IFE orientation material and were the natural choice in helping the SCS to determine what was needed to develop a successful session for a preconstruction audience.

The team working on the development of the content recognised that the session needed to directly correlate to HS2’s commitment to eradicate health disorders such as long-term impairment caused by noise and vibration, respiratory disorders and skin reactions. This theme was to recur throughout the session to remind the audience of the impact of their decision-making on the health, safety, and wellbeing of those during the construction phase. In addition, the team recognised that appropriate and impactful case study examples needed to be included in the material. By tailoring the content to resonate with the audience it would subsequently increase awareness of their individual role in reducing risk and harm. In the original IFE sessions, this usually took the form of a personal story shared in a video that spoke about the loss of life or a significant injury.

The content

There are three main areas that make the Preconstruction IFE content different to that of a traditional IFE orientation:

  1. Exploring the difference between responsibility and accountability
  2. Understanding the ability to have an early influence on the elimination or reduction of risk and hazard
  3. Appreciating how design can impact other people

Additionally, the content also refers to HS2’s ‘Safe by Design’ commitment throughout the session.

Screenshot of HS2 Safe by Design page taken from HS2 Supply Chain Health and Safety Approach
Figure 3: HS2 ‘Safe by Design’, taken from HS2 Supply Chain Health and Safety Approach (1)

Exploring the difference between responsibility and accountability

As with a traditional IFE session, the orientation discusses the importance of relationships and their impact on overall accomplishment. This is illustrated in an extract from the material provided in Figure 4:

Diagram showing a relationship triangle about the importance of relationships and their impact on overall accomplishment.
Figure 4: The relationship triangle, taken from Love for Life Element 1: Injury Free Environment (IFE) Orientation

This dialogue was expanded in the revised material so that the many forms of relationships could be explored in detail. One conversation point is that relationships are not just between two living things but can extend to extraordinary things such as tools, concepts, and plans. The discussion continues to focus on how heightened relationships with such extraordinary things can enhance engagement. It is this engagement that is the difference between responsibility and accountability. The aspiration is that those associated with the preconstruction phase of the project feel responsible for the impact of their decisions rather than accountable. If an individual feels responsible, then they demonstrate more care and discretionary effort. This in turn will make it more likely for them to consider the impact of decision making on others further along in the project lifecycle.

Screenshot showing the 5 key discussion points exploring the concept of relationships
Figure 5: Key discussion points exploring the concept of relationships, taken from Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction Injury Free Environment (IFE)

Understanding the ability to have an early influence on the elimination or reduction of risk and hazard

This topic seeks to demonstrate the high level of influence that those involved in preconstruction can have in relation to long term health, safety and wellbeing. The ability to influence the reduction or elimination of risk at preconstruction stage is explored. If acted upon, this will significantly reduce harm and cost throughout the project lifecycle. The intention of the discussion is for the attendees to recognise the impact that they have now and the long-term benefits if utilised effectively. The discussion then continues to identify how everyone can increase their influence through their own behaviours and establishing the necessary relationships. Figure 6 is used during the session to promote discussion and understanding on this subject:

Chart showing  ways to influence health safety and wellbeing
Figure 6: Influencing Health, Safety & Wellbeing, taken from Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction Injury Free Environment (IFE)

Appreciating how design can impact other people

An appreciation of how design impacts other people is largely demonstrated using a video of the 1986 NASA Challenger disaster. As with the traditional construction-based case studies, the video highlights the importance of relationships and further discussions focus on exploring the concept of the ‘degradation of norms’ (the natural, incremental lowering of standards over time in any system where humans are present). The audience are encouraged to consider whether this is something that is possible on the project and what can be done to prevent it from occurring. Figure 7 is used to promote discussion on the topic. The audience will be asked to consider the events or behaviours that occurred over time that became acceptable and resulted in the unsafe launch of the shuttle:

Diagram illustrating the concept of Degradation of Norms in relation to the 1986 NASA Challenger disaster
Figure 7: Diagram illustrating the concept of Degradation of Norms in relation to the 1986 NASA Challenger disaster, taken from Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction Injury Free Environment (IFE)


The first session of Love for Life Element 1, Preconstruction IFE was delivered on January 18th, 2018. The session was run by JMJ to a large audience that included members of SCS, associated design houses, HS2 and a Skanska master trainer. The session was well received, and feedback was used to modify the content that fed into a further pilot session that was delivered May 14th, 2018 to a similar audience. Once the material was finalised, it was taken back to Skanska and licensed. Sessions have continued to be delivered at SCS and within Skanska UK.

Lessons learned and successes

The recognised success of Preconstruction IFE resulted in it being licensed and rolled out within Skanska. This was predominantly within the Highways sector and has been openly supported by Highways England. It is hoped that the session will continue to be recognised and will eventually become a legacy piece associated with HS2, where it was developed.

The successful development of Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction IFE initiated the development of an in-house Health and Wellbeing session to further bolster the Love for Life behavioural programme. This session has incorporated some of the features of the orientation session that have made it successful such as the opportunity to explore what makes health and wellbeing personal, relevant, and important to the audience. This successful adaptation of IFE provides a long-term opportunity for the behavioural programme to diversify its offering even further in the future. This in turn will enable the IPT to respond to the changing requirements of the project.

A lesson that has been learned from the creation of Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction IFE is to ensure that it is targeted at all of those involved in the preconstruction phase of the project and not just designers. The session was originally referred to as IFE for Designers, which was not inclusive of the wider target audience. This was resolved by renaming the session Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction IFE.

As with all aspects of delivery, it is important to review the effectiveness of the different elements of the behavioural programme. Discussions, one year on from construction start, relating to the future development of the Love for Life programme have indicated that there is still an audience for Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction IFE on the HS2 London Tunnels project. The content will still be relevant to our design house partners as well as those involved in other disciplines such as procurement, planning and environment. This is due to the large number of decisions that will continue to be made as the project progresses that will have both a long-term and downstream impact.

In addition to recognising that there is still a requirement for this element, the format of the session is also being adapted so that it can be delivered online. The fundamental concepts from the session will remain although made more dynamic so that it can be delivered within a shorter time and in a virtual environment. The material for the session is also being rebranded so that there is a stronger visual link between the key messages, SCS project values and HS2 Safe at Heart programme. These revisions will hopefully improve the accessibility and the interest in the session.


Large scale infrastructure projects should implement their behavioural programmes from the preconstruction phase of the project to ensure that the preconstruction team has a clear understanding of the impact their decision making will have on the future of the project, workforce, and associated stakeholders. To make it successful, we would recommend the following:

  1. Thought should be given to programme material during tender stage so that it can be put in place as soon as the work is awarded and be ready to deliver to staff in the start-up phase of the project. This will ensure that the correct behaviours and values are reinforced from the start and make it more likely that a positive safety culture is adopted
  2. The developer should consider all disciplines they need to reach and all levels of management so that the material is relevant and can hit on a personal level with all staff that go through it. It is important to engage anyone managing people so they will lead by example
  3. It is not necessary to involve a consultant, but it is important to draw on the experience of a wide group to ensure you find appealing examples
  4. Developers will need to continue to review and adapt their behavioural programmes to ensure that the content remains personal, relevant, and important to the audience Throughout the lifecycle of a project there will be changes to the organisation and risk profile that may lessen the effectiveness of existing content
  5. Developers should also recognise that behavioural programmes need to be more than just training alone. A blended approach of education, discussion and implementation will embed the desired values and associated behaviours
  6. The main blocker to any programme like this will be securing the budget. The return on investment is difficult to measure as resultant success is often unconscious on the part of the individual
  7. To get buy-in the programme needs to be endorsed by all levels of leadership, not just the very senior executive levels.


The development of Love for Life Element 1: Preconstruction IFE was assisted by the Health, Safety & Wellbeing team and Behavioural Programme Team within SCS, Andy Mais, and the team at JMJ, Andy Davis and the team of Master Trainers at Skanska UK.


  1. HS2 Supply Chain and Safety Approach

Peer review

  • Karen ElsonCo.Cre8
  • Brigid LeworthyCo.Cre8