CDM regulations take force

April 7, 2015 10:40 AM

Yesterday (6 April) the new Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 came into effect, following a lengthy five-year evaluation of the CDM 2007 Regulations.

While the new regulations will have significant implications for all those involved in construction, they also cover the event industry in ways that many have deemed ill-fitting.

The intention of the Regulations is to prevent the ill health or death of construction and maintenance operatives, while also allowing for the delivery of good design realised by replacing the appointment of a CDM-coordinator with the appointment of a principal designer'.

The regulations re-focus on the team approach, underpinned by the intentions of the overarching 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, and aimed at proportionality, reasonable foreseeability, and practicability.

In its consultation document the HSE set out a number of policy objectives which explain why an update to the current CDM 2007 was required:

  • Maintain or improve worker protection
  • Simplify the regulatory package
  • Improve health and safety standards on small construction sites
  • Implement the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive (TMCSD) in a proportionate way (this is a European Directive)
  • Discourage bureaucracy
  • Meet better regulation principles.
  • HSE also cite external research into CDM 2007 within its consultation document which concluded:
  • CDM 2007 was viewed more positively by duty holders than the 1994 version; its broad structure was fit for purpose;

Problems generally arose through mis-interpretation and over-interpretation of the Regulations; significant concerns remained, however, in several areas:

  • The Regulations had not borne down on bureaucracy as hoped;
  • The Regulations had led to an industry approach to competence which was heavy-handed and in many cases burdensome, particularly on SMEs
  • The co-ordination function in the pre-construction phase was not in many cases well-embedded
  • These objectives are all admirable and I would have thought that everyone would agree with them
  • The Regulatory package will be much simpler in format than the current regulations
  • The onus will be on duty holders to comply with the regulations through implicit rather than explicit requirements;
  • Reliance on guidance documentation will be much greater than currently
  • SME Contractors will have to get their act together with regard to CDM as they will have much greater responsibilities, including taking on client duties if they are working on a domestic project
  • There will no longer be an independent CDM coordinator to provide clients, and others, with advice and assistance regarding construction health and safety
  • In many cases the first designer appointed will have to take on the health and safety coordination role currently dealt with by the CDM Coordinator
  • Health and Safety coordinators must be appointed for any construction project that will have more than one contractor working on site
  • Contractors will self-assess the contents and suitability of their Construction Phase Plans
Access‘ May issue will feature a News Opinion section with industry reaction to the new guidelines. The issue will be available later this month.

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