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CDM Regulation Update – what it really means17 Apr 2015

The UK Construction Industry employs more than 2 million people – that’s 6% of the UK workforce. However, despite considerable improvements in culture, processes and risk controls over the years, it remains one of the most high risk industries to work in.

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) are the main set of regulations to help manage the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.

CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.

The revised CDM 2015 came into force on 6 April 2015 and replaces the earlier CDM Regulations which were introduced back in 2007. There will be a transitional period that will run for six months from 6 April 2015 to 6 October 2015 but here’s what you need to know now!

Why the change?

The changes have been implemented for a number of reasons:

  • To improve health and safety and reduce fatalities on sites. The balance of where injuries occur has shifted dramatically; two thirds of fatalities now occur on small construction sites and the new CDM 2015 is more relevant to their needs
  •  The original CDM (1994) did not transpose the European Union Directive accurately. The Government is committed to EU Directives being implemented properly and the Government is keen for deregulation
  •  The draft Regulations take a slightly different approach to ensuring that those engaged to carry out construction work are suitable, using language which more closely reflects industry practice than the consultation draft

What’s new?

It’s important that for anyone working on construction projects understands the changes to the CDM regulations. Here are a few of the main changes:

  • Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) with a shorter and more accessible, industry-written guidance encouraging greater compliance.
  • CDM 2015 applies to all ‘Clients’- including domestic Clients’ who will now be subject to CDM, although they can delegate their duties to a Principle Designer (PD) or Principle Contractor (PC). PD duties include identifying and controlling risks, assisting the Client in preparing the Health and Safety File. PC duties include the planning, management and co-ordination of construction phase of the project.
  • Abolishment of the CDM Co-ordinator role and introduction of Principle Designer role
  • New notification changes to HSE – F10 notification threshold for projects over a 30-day duration plus 20 workers on site simultaneously, or 500 worker days. This targets small projects with a risk of falls from height that probably wouldn’t have been notified anyway therefore reducing number of notifiable projects.
  • Updated standardised documents – Building contracts, professional appointments and related development agreements and real estate contracts will need to be updated to reflect the new role and terminology.
  • Removal of explicit competence requirements and replaced with the requirement for the appropriate skills, knowledge and institutions.

What does this mean for you?

There are a number of areas that businesses and staff will need to take note and address the changes now in force. We’ve outlined a number of them, but remember – it’s always best to get an expert involved if you’re unsure!

  • Align notification requirements with the EU Directive and apply the Regulations to domestic clients
  • CDM 2015 makes non-domestic Clients responsible for some of the duties previously carried out by your CDM Co-ordinator.
  • The CDM Co-ordinator role is replaced by a ‘Principle Designer’ and Clients are to appoint for projects involving more than one Contractor on site. A separate fee should be agreed for this role.
  • Client’s duties are now more onerous and cannot appoint and forget as they must ensure that the Principle Designer and Principle Contractor comply with their duties. They must ensure they have the skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work in a way that secures health and safety
  • The Client is to provide pre-construction information i.e. Construction Phase Plan in place prior to commencement of works and are advised by HSE document to seek competent specialist advice with regards to health and safety on projects, previously provided by CDM Co-ordinator.
  • Domestic projects involving more than one Contractor, the Principle Contractor will normally assume the Client duties. However, the Domestic Client can choose to appoint the Principle Designer but this should be done during the pre-construction phase.

So what are the potential drawbacks?

As with any change, there are going to be some alterations that people will approve of and some that are less appealing. A few areas that you might want to consider when dealing with your construction projects are:

  • Smaller projects not previously in scope could struggle with the CDM requirements to produce a construction health and safety plan and file – for businesses that are now affected should seek professional advice as choosing to ignore the new changes could cost dramatically at a later date.
  • The separate CDM and notification triggers could cause confusion – whilst steps have been taken to simplify some of the regulations, there could leave others unsure therefore check the small print and read carefully
  • The cost could be hidden in the designer’s fee, which could be misleading – make sure you are aware of the cost detail
  • Concerns that CDM 2007 did not adequately recognise that Design and Build projects often see considerable design work continuing after the appointment of the Principal Contractor

Overall – there are a number of changes that have been put into place for very valid reasons. However, like with any update, it will take a while to embed and for the industry to start to see the effects. This article is meant for general discussions and does not constitute legal advice – remember, if you’re unsure, seek a professional as the outcome could be very different if you don’t abide to the new rules.

If you would like any assistance updating your standard documentation, or have any queries arising from the new CDM Regulations – please feel free to contact Edward Carolan by email here or call 01727 861510 – we will be happy to help!

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