CDM 2015 - Will you be ready?

Over recent years, the seemingly endless tinkering with the health and safety legal framework may have induced a certain amount of “change fatigue”.  However, the publication of draft Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 requires people to sit up and take notice.

Of the many changes that look set to be introduced on 6 April, the headline-grabber (rightly or wrongly) has been the proposed replacement of the CDM Co-ordinator with a new role – that of the Principal Designer (PD).

Planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating during this crucial step is obviously of vital importance, so the role of PD must not be taken lightly.  The next question to ask therefore, is: are designers prepared for these additional duties?

What will the ramifications of this be?  To answer that question, the role and functions of the PD need to be examined.

In their new guidance, the HSE state that the PD can be an organisation or individual who are “designers appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor”.  They go on to say that the PD has control over health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project and that:

“Decisions about the design taken during the pre-construction phase can have a significant effect on whether the project is delivered in a way that secures health and safety. The principal designer’s role involves co-ordinating the work of others in the project team to ensure that significant and foreseeable risks are managed throughout the design process.”

Planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating during this crucial step is obviously of vital importance, so the role of PD must not be taken lightly.  The next question to ask therefore, is: are designers prepared for these additional duties?  A key part of the role of PD is to identify and eliminate (or control) foreseeable risks, and to assess the adequacy of existing project information.

Shortly, many designers will find themselves in a position where they are expected to take on the role of PD.  In this situation, they must be confident that they have the competence and resources to fulfil this legal duty (many contractors may not fully appreciate that they are designers and could potentially be in-line to act as PDs).  Where projects involve more than one contractor, the client will be required to appoint a principal designer and a principal contractor.  Designers include architects, consulting engineers, etc., but they can also be anyone that carries out design work such as principal contractors, and specialist contractors.

Any designer that is able demonstrate their ability to be a fully compliant PD, will have an immediate competitive advantage.  It must also be remembered that in a high risk industry, mistakes can easily cost lives and ruin reputations.  It is for this reason that Santia has prepared a CDM Awareness Course, to give prospective Principal Designers (and others) a firm grasp on the new Regulations and duties.  This specially created course (along with a brand new two-day CDM in Practise course) will be available in the run-up to the introduction of the new CDM Regulations.

In addition to training, Santia’s technical construction team can provide on-site, project-specific support to steer CDM duty holders (including clients, principal contractors and designers) through their obligations.  Further details of this consultancy service can be found here.

Gerald Black has over 40 years of civil engineering design, construction and management experience. He is a key member of the Santia Consulting Health and Safety team, with extensive experience in construction training, safety auditing and inspections at construction sites both within the UK and overseas, particularly delivering NEBOSH and IOSH accredited courses both National and International. He has worked extensively within the role of CDM Coordinator and previously to that role as a Planning Supervisor under the CDM Regulations.

 

 

Post date: 29 Jan 2015

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