New Roads and Street Works Act 1991: Code of Practice for the Co-ordination of Works in Roads

Chapter 2 Co-ordination and Co-operation in Action

2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 Works in the roads restrict the movement of traffic, pedestrians and other users of the road by reducing the width of the road available for use and thus disrupt such movements. The level of the disruption caused will depend on the type of works and how busy the road is.

2.1.2 Minor works in a non traffic sensitive road may cause virtually no disruption, save to the residents and delivery vehicles. However a cluster of small scale works close to a larger scale one could cause serious disruption.

2.1.3 Works of any description in a busy road where the normal traffic flow is close to or in excess of the design capacity of that road will cause serious disruption, although works in any busy road will cause some disruption.

2.1.4 It is therefore essential that works in the road are effectively co‑ordinated to ensure that traffic disruption is minimised whilst allowing works promoters the necessary time and space in the road to complete their works.

2.2 The Process

The co-ordination process has four phases:


The works promoter shall interrogate the Scottish Road Works Register (SRWR) to consider if its proposed works will interfere with other works already noticed.


The works promoter shall place a notice on the SRWR as early as possible. The road works authority needs accurate and timely information on what is proposed and when it is proposed to happen.


The road works authority must consider if changes to the proposals could reduce disruption.

Discussion & Co-operation

Undertakers must co-operate with the road works authority to achieve minimal disruption.

2.3 Planning

2.3.1 The process of co-ordination starts at the planning stage. It is the responsibility of the works promoter when planning the timing and duration of works to interrogate the SRWR to identify suitable periods which do not conflict with works already noticed.

2.4 Information - the Key to Co-ordination

2.4.1 Successful co-ordination requires accurate and timely information together with good communication between road works authorities and undertakers. The road works authority cannot fulfil its statutory duty to co-ordinate without adequate advance notice of all proposed works.

The basic principle of minimum notice periods is, the greater the potential for disruption, the longer the notice period required.

2.4.2 Works promoters should recognise the advantages of giving more advance information and notification than the prescribed minimum notice period. There will be circumstances where the road works authority and others concerned may have no objection (or indeed, find it advantageous) if the works proceed before the end of the full prescribed notice period. In such cases consent should be given to an early start. See paragraph 6.7 for details on the use of early starts.

2.4.3 Work promoters should be prepared to discuss their proposals with other interested parties, including frontagers, and to modify them if it is appropriate and practical to do so.

2.4.4 The SRWR has been set up to provide the maximum assistance possible to those planning and coordinating works in roads. This includes the ability to:

(i) describe in detail the proposed works in the notice, particularly the location and timing of any planned works.

(ii) plot the area of proposed works against a map.

(iii) inform the works promoter when the works information provided would contravene the rules set out in this Code of Practice (for example works without enough notice given).

(iv) allow works promoters to inform on the progress of their works through to completion, giving reminders at each stage when information on the next step is required to be sent.

(v) share information with both road works authorities and undertakers to allow planners to coordinate at the earliest stage possible.

(vi) flag potential co-ordination conflicts (where works are planned in the same area at the same time) to both the works promoter and the road works authority for that area.

2.5 Co-ordination Considerations

2.5.1 Local co-ordination meetings are valuable for sharing information and enabling all parties to understand each others' difficulties and constraints. But they cannot be in permanent session and realistically they can only cover major programmes and proposals with relatively long lead times.

2.5.2 The day-to-day co-ordination of the majority of proposals can only be achieved through the regular interrogation of the SRWR, especially given the relatively short lead times for minor and standard works.

2.5.3 Road works authorities must consider all aspects of proposed works and other influences that may affect traffic, which include:

(i) the road network capacity at the relevant times;

(ii) the scope for collaborative working arrangements, including trench and duct sharing between undertakers and the road works authority;

(iii) the optimum timing of works from all aspects;

(iv) the effect on traffic, in particular the need for temporary traffic restrictions or prohibitions;

(v) appropriate techniques and arrangements particularly at difficult road junctions and pinch points;

(vi) the working arrangements required in protected and traffic sensitive roads, and roads with special engineering difficulties;

(vii) the effect of skip and scaffold licences, any known special events and other licences or consents issued in respect of affected roads under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984; and

(viii) developments for which planning permission has been granted on roads affected by the works.

2.6 Discussion and Co-operation

2.6.1 The primary aim of section 118 of NRSWA is for the road works authority to co-ordinate works in the road with the active co-operation of all parties concerned.

2.6.2 A road works authority should discuss any potential difficulties that the proposed works might cause with the works promoter and agree an acceptable way forward. However, safety concerns, urgency or lack of co-operation may make it necessary for the road works authority to use its powers of direction. These are covered in Chapter 6 (Restrictions Following Substantial Works for Road Purposes) and Chapter 7 (Directions).

2.7 Co-ordination Machinery

2.7.1 Co-ordination means resolving any differences between those competing for space or time in the road, including traffic and pedestrians, in a positive and constructive way.

2.7.2 Enhanced facilities for self co-ordination within the SRWR are available to works promoters. Using the SRWR, the road works authority will be able to co‑ordinate road works effectively with the other parties concerned. Co‑ordination will also continue to be achieved through regular meetings of dedicated groups comprising of representatives from all appropriate major interests, including not only the road works authority and undertakers but, as the occasion requires, the local planning authority, police, other emergency services and organisations representing disabled people.

Area RAUCs

2.7.3 At area level the groups will be set up under the aegis of RAUC(S) and will be concerned principally with policy determination within RAUC(S) and Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (UK) (HAUC(UK)) guidelines, monitoring the effectiveness of local co‑ordination arrangements, providing policy guidance on a local basis and, where possible, resolving local differences. They will also facilitate dispute resolution and arbitration procedures. Further details on dispute resolution and arbitrations procedures can be found in the Code of Practice for Dispute Resolution and Appeals.

Local Co-ordination

2.7.4 At local level these groups should be organised and chaired by the relevant road works authority. They may be convened at a road works authority level where appropriate but, wherever considered appropriate, the group may be based on a grouping of road works authorities in order to minimise the number of meetings. They will be concerned primarily with direct co‑ordination of individual schemes and dissemination of information.

2.7.5 These local groups should meet at least quarterly or more frequently if the need arises, but a discussion should always take place whenever proposed major works are likely to conflict with other works in roads, especially in roads prone to congestion. They should cover:

(i) specific major works with, wherever appropriate, assessed alternative routes for the proposal, and a full assessment of the preferred route;

(ii) medium term and annual works programmes for both road works authorities and undertakers;

(iii) planned road closures for the next quarter and the rolling year ahead to allow all works on roads to be planned within such closures wherever possible; and

(iv) other significant events.

Commissioner Advice Paper No 7 provides guidance as to how information for Local RAUC meetings may be extracted from the SRWR.

2.7.6 The following topics may also be covered provided they do not conflict with the primary aim of the meeting, which is to co‑ordinate the identified road works:

(i) local policies and strategies affecting road works, traffic management proposals (including the effect of diversionary routes) and the potential for reducing disruption through common schemes/trench sharing etc;

(ii) proposed designations of roads subject to special controls and other constraints;

(iii) reviews of performance at local level, including damage prevention;

(iv) feedback from RAUC(S);

(v) road works permissions; and

(vi) any joint forward advertisement of road works and works for roads purposes where major traffic disruption is likely.

2.7.7 Representatives from all major interests should then ensure that they are well enough informed to be able to discuss major projects and medium term and annual work programmes that are relevant to them. They should be able to demonstrate the appropriate knowledge of individual schemes where these are of concern and should also be able to speak and take appropriate decisions on behalf of their organisations.

Terms of Reference

2.7.8 Model terms of reference for both Area RAUCs and local co‑ordination meetings have been established by RAUC(S) and can be found in Appendix B.


2.7.9 Road works authorities will maintain a record of all road works and apparatus installed under road works permissions granted by them. In responding to a plant enquiry regarding their own apparatus, road works authorities should also include details of any permission holder's apparatus.

Liaison with Other Bodies

2.7.10 Road works authorities should liaise with adjacent road works authorities if works are likely to affect traffic flows across boundaries and/or trunk roads. They should also provide information to other bodies likely to have an interest such as:

(i) the police;

(ii) other emergency services;

(iii) public transport operators;

(iv) any other appropriate bodies e.g. organisations representing disabled people, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists; and

(v) the appropriate planning and environmental health officers.

2.7.11 Where it is possible that the works could require a change to a bus route, then discussions with the bus operators and road works authority should be entered into at an early stage in the planning process.

2.8 Forward Planning

2.8.1 Forward Planning Information

Forward planning information on long-term programmes from all works promoters will help road works authorities to co-ordinate works. It will also help works promoters to identify opportunities for joint working and to co-ordinate the timing of resurfacing. This might include mains replacement programmes or reconstruction of main roads, which will be planned several years ahead.

The advance notice for works under section 113 of NRSWA is the minimum period. Work promoters should be entering advance notice for their works on to the SRWR at the earliest opportunity. This should include long term programmes, which may include those works in their annual operating programme, or three or five year rolling programmes.

It is much easier to adjust the timing of medium and long-term programmes to fit with the plans of other works promoters when there are reasonable lead-in times than to do so only when the detailed plans are available and contractual commitments may have been made. While accurate information is important, it is accepted that the longer the lead time the greater the uncertainty about the timing of works. Such uncertainty should not be seen as a barrier to entering works on to the SRWR at the earliest possible date.

2.8.2 Recording Information

It is essential that information on major or potentially very disruptive works and activities is included in the SRWR at the earliest opportunity. This will enable works promoters to:

(i) take part in early co-ordination;

(ii) consider joint working;

(iii) consider trench sharing;

(iv) highlight other works which need to be co-ordinated with these works; and

(v) produce reports for works co-ordinators.

The entry should give as much detail as possible. This information should be reviewed and updated regularly to include details as they are finalised.

2.8.3 Expected Start and Completion Dates

Each notice requires the insertion of an expected start date and an expected completion date. It is the responsibility of the works promoter to ensure that any changes to these dates are inserted on to the SRWR as soon as they are known to the works promoter.

2.9 Collaborative Working

2.9.1 It is important that all road works authorities and undertakers seek every possible opportunity to collaborate on road works, as this can minimise traffic disruption and benefit the travelling public and the undertaker's customers. Paragraph 2.8.1 above highlights the need to place the details of longer term programmes on to the SRWR at the earliest possible opportunity. Identifying major works as far in advance of the proposed date as possible will help to facilitate opportunities for collaborative works e.g. road closures in city centres should be made use of by as many promoters as possible to minimise disruption and maximise shared reinstatement opportunities.

2.9.2 It should be possible to arrange contracts so that the excavating primary promoter serves notice and carries out work on behalf of itself and others. However, it must be emphasised that such arrangements do not remove the legal liability imposed by NRSWA on individual undertakers.

2.10 Other Statutory Obligations

2.10.1 Both road works authorities and statutory undertakers operate under other statutes which impose additional obligations that impact on those under NRSWA - for road works authorities to co-ordinate all works, and for undertakers to co-operate.

2.10.2 There are additional duties on roads authorities; for instance Sections 20 to 21 of the Equality Act 2010 give disabled people a right of access to goods, facilities, services and premises. By providing integrated and accessible transport and a barrier-free pedestrian environment, local traffic and roads authorities will help deliver this right and fulfil their obligations.

2.10.3 The utility companies have statutory obligations to provide a supply or service, and these are closely monitored by the utility regulators, The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (Scottish Water), and OFGEM (gas and electricity industries) to ensure that the required level of service is maintained. This will include restoring supply, as well as ensuring new customers are connected within certain time frames. OFCOM (regulator of telecommunications) places a universal service obligation on BT across the UK to meet all reasonable requests for service. Under legislation, customers of the electricity, gas or water companies, subject to certain exemptions, may be entitled to compensation if a company fails to meet these guaranteed standards of performance.

2.10.4 The operators of a gas network also have obligations under Regulations enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. These require operators of gas networks to carry out certain works within a specific time or to replace certain types of apparatus within a specified period. Currently, the gas industry has a programme to replace all iron mains within 30 metres of properties, over 30 years old, from 2001, with highest priority given to that apparatus at greatest risk based on an agreed safety case to assess priorities. The priorities may change to reflect an escalation of risk based on either new information about specific types of pipes or apparatus, or as result of incidents involving a specific pipe.