What the future could hold for CDM regulations

The Health and Safety executive (HSE) has recently announced the outcome of their consultation into new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM).  The proposed key changes in the CDM 2015 Regulations are:

  • The replacement of the CDM Coordinator with the Principal Designer;
  • The removal of the ‘domestic client’ exemption;
  • Changes to notification requirements;
  • A shorter ‘signposting’ Approved Code of Practise (ACoP); and
  • Construction Phase Plans for all projects.

The consultation received more responses than any previous consultation document, with key duty holders and the wider industry in general, both responding.

"It is important to note that current CDMCs will not be able to undertake this activity (PD) unless they have formal design qualifications / training / experience (competence)."

Having considered the balance of responses concerning the proposed removal of the CDM Coordinator (CDMC) role, the HSE intend to progress with the transferral of CDMC duties to the Principal Designer (PD). The immediate concern here, is that these duties will be for the duration of the project and are likely to extend beyond the traditional competencies held by designers.  At this stage, it appears to be unlikely that they (designers) will be able to contract out of these new requirements – the consequence of this may be the rise of the CDM Advisor (previous CDMCs), who PDs may turn to for advice.

It is important to note that current CDMCs will not be able to undertake this activity (PD) unless they have formal design qualifications / training / experience (competence).

The removal of the domestic client exemption, by default, means that client duties will be discharged by the Contractor or Principal Contractor or if there is a written agreement, by the PD. This may result in domestic clients and small contractors failing in their duties as they may not aware of them, are not competent to undertake the duties or are unable to resource them.

Concerning notification requirements, the threshold is set to change, meaning that ALL projects (both commercial and domestic) will, if they meet the criteria, be notifiable. The criteria is set to become over 30 days and 20 workers (simultaneously), or over 500 person days. The view from the HSE is that this will significantly reduce the number of notifications. The party responsible for notifying the project will however, be the Client.

The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) was, under the original proposals, going to be withdrawn, but two thirds of respondents disagreed with this, resulting in the HSE deciding to replace it with a shorter ‘sign post’ ACoP supported by Industry Guidance. It is unlikely that the ACoP will be available when the regulations come into force, but the guidance documents will (hopefully) be ready.

In CDM 2007, there is only a need to appoint a Principal Contractor for notifiable projects, but CDM 2015 will require the appointment of a Principal Contractor whenever there is more than one contractor appointed to the project (the issue here being – will separate trades be classed as separate contractors even where they are employed as one?).

There will also be a requirement for a Construction Phase Plan on ALL projects; this plan however, needs to be ‘proportionate to the risks involved’. Hopefully, this will encourage a move away from the generic documents which are sometimes produced under the existing system.

The current detailed requirements on competence will be replaced with a more general framework, but the HSE has acknowledged concerns from many parties about how the new reforms will deliver change.  As a result, they will improve clarity and provide comprehensive guidance on competence, however, competence will be based more generally on information, instruction, training and supervision.

The HSE are still aiming to implement the Statutory Instrument in April 2015, although the Regulations themselves will not be available until January 9th 2015.

We at Santia Consulting, pride ourselves in our delivery of CDM services and our integrative approach to ensuring the best results for you, click here to learn more. We are able to support clients, designers and contractors alike, with any aspect of compliance with the proposed new legislation, and will also be able to provide this service to the proposed Principal Designer.

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: 26 Nov 2014

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