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Changes to CDM regulations on the way

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Changes to CDM regulations on the way

The changes have arisen following a review, instigated by the findings of the 2011 Lofstedt report, which highlighted concern about the way in which CDM 2007 was working in practice, particularly in its effectiveness in minimising bureaucracy, bringing about integrated teams and addressing issues of competence.

The HSE believes that a two-tier industry has emerged. Whereas larger construction clients have progressed well in adopting effective health and safety practice, the smaller construction site has not fared so well. This is due to poor understanding of what is expected of them under the regulations and has led to the employment of inadequately trained staff to fulfil the role, or even the ignoring of basic health and safety requirements.

There are nine key areas of change in the revised legislation including the aim to make the regulations clearer and easier to understand, especially for small to medium sized enterprise companies (SME’s).

One of the biggest changes is the replacement of the CDM Co-ordinator with a new role of Principal Designer. This role has traditionally been carried out by an independent CDM Co-ordinator for the pre-construction design and planning phase, and the principal contractor for the construction phase on site.

From April 2015, it is expected that the lead designer – the architect, engineer or building surveyor – will be the Principal Designer and will manage, plan, coordinate and monitor health and safety information during the pre-construction phase and prepare the building’s health and safety file. The change has been made to ensure that the organisation to carry out this new role is appointed early by the Client.

This appointment of the Principal Designer by the Client, together with a Principal Contractor, will be required on all projects on which more than one trade contractor is working. Again this ensures that clear lines of accountability and responsibility are set from the start. If the client does not officially appoint these roles in writing, they will become liable to fulfil their legal duties, as well as their own. Not a move that a non-appropriately qualified individual or company should make.

Other changes include placing responsibility on the client to ensure that a construction phase plan is in place before any works commence and a change in the required threshold for notification to the HSE.

Despite these amendments the skills and knowledge of existing CDM Co-ordinators like BCAL Consulting will remain in high demand. Clients, Architects and Designers who do not possess this expertise will need to either buy it in or employ a dedicated specialist. Where people’s livelihoods and reputations could be at stake, no responsible firm will assume responsibility for risking either. The earlier involvement of clients for appointments into the health and safety arena should also lead to a greater awareness of health and safety issues at design stage. A good and sustainable result all round.

BCAL can act as a CDM Consultant to help guide you through the new regulations or can act as Principal Designers from the start of a project.

Please contact Keith Banham for further infomation email: keithbanham@bcal.co.uk

Published on January 21st, 2015