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CDM Changes

09/03/2015

As you may be aware, the HSE set out their proposed changes to the current CDM Regulations in a consultation document in May of this year, with the proposed changes coming into force in April 2015.

There are 6 fundamental changes proposed:

  1. Simplification of the Regulations
  2. The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to be replaced with targeted guidance
  3. CDM-Coordinator to be replaced with a new role of the Principal Designer
  4. Competence Requirements being removed and replaced with a requirement for appropriate skills.
  5. Addressing Areas of Temporary Mobile Construction Sites Directive (TMCSD)
  6. The Threshold for appointment of Co-ordinators and notification

What does this mean and how will it affect current and future projects?

1.  Simplification of the Regulations


The aim of the proposed changes are to reduce duplication and follow the process of a project in a logical form.
The first question is, are these changes needed and what affect will it have on construction sites post April 2015? Our view is that Health and safety on construction sites has vastly improved since the introduction of the CDM Regulations nearly 20 years ago, therefore, we have concerns that by removing the ACoPs from the proposed Regulations and introducing new guidance documents may lead to dropping of standards/increase in Health and Safety risks on sites and in design due to lack of clarity.

2. The Approved Code of Practice to be replaced with 
     targeted guidance


The aim is to remove the CDM ACoP and replace it with a suite of tailored guidance.  This will be in plain and clear English.  As stated above, this raises concerns as to whether this will result in industry standards dropping.

3.  The CDM Coordinator to be replaced with a new role of 
      the Principal Designer


The PD will be a person or individual in control of the Pre Construction Phase of the design and CDM.  The “PD” will be responsible for the Pre Construction Phase similar to how the PD is responsible for the post construction phase as under the current Regulations.  The PD’s roles and responsibilities are similar to the CDM-C’s Role under the Current Regulations: -
•    Managing the Pre Construction Phase
•    Eliminate and control risks through design
•    Pass information to the PC
•    Ensure Co-ordination
•    Ensure designers comply with their duties
•    Assisting the client in preparing PCI
•    Preparing the H&S File.

Will PD’s emphasise on their design responsibilities and not give adequate time on the PD role, leaving CDM/the PD role as an afterthought? This may, in turn increase the risk of injury on our construction sites.  Will the quality of Contractor’s CPP’s be effected by this?

The CDM-C role superseded the role of the Planning Supervisor with the aim of coordinating the design team and client at the design stage.  Our current concern is that by putting the emphasis back on the design team, this may set H&S within the construction industry back by a number of years.

 4.  Competence Requirements being removed and replaced 
       with a requirement for appropriate skills.


The ACoPs and Regulation 4 will be removed to promote competence through leadership, knowledge and behavioural change within the industry.

The revised documents will allow for adequate training and supervision for those appointing others to carry out works to allow safe working procedures.  Although pro-improvement, we feel that the relaxing of the Regulations may allow inadequately experienced personnel to ‘slip through the net’.

5.  Addressing Areas of TMCSD


The HSE are proposing to remove domestic client exemption from the revised regulations.  All duties will fall on the domestic client by default and not the contractor.

Bringing domestic client projects into the regulations will only benefit the H&S activities of small to medium contractors and raise awareness throughout the industry.  In our experience, the large experienced contractors who deliver large schemes have considerable and stringent H&S procedures and working practices in place.  The small to medium contractors still struggle to manage and eliminate risk within their working activities, the main influences on this are cost, resource and knowledge.

6.  The Threshold for appointment of Co-ordinators and
      notification


The HSE plans to revise the current regulations in line with the EU TMCSD which requires the appointment of co-ordinators whether one or more contractor will be involved within the construction activities.  The PD will be appointed in these scenarios.

Projects are to be notifiable when they last longer than 30 working days, where there are more than 20 workers working simultaneously or where the works exceed 500 person days.

The proposed regulation changes emphasise on the pre contract stage of construction works with no changes proposed to the construction phase.  Design often continues throughout the construction phase and without the role of the CDM-C, there will be little or no CDM input on post contract design amendments.

In summary, we believe that the industry has progressed in post contract CDM/H&S areas and welcome the fact that no proposals are to be made to this stage of construction works.  At this stage we have reservations on how the elimination of the CDM-C role will have long term benefits on the industry but will provide additional updates and views on this subject as the consultation/proposed changes evolve.
To find out how these regulations may affect your projects please contact chris.mace@watts.co.uk

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