Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (“CDM”) – Questions and Answers

Article Safety by

Why was it necessary to revise the CDM Regulations 1994?

The new Regulations came into force in April 2007.  The purpose of the updated Regulations is to focus on the virtues of effective planning and management of construction projects from inception, i.e. the design concept.  The Regulations seek to engender a greater emphasis upon  health and safety considerations in order to reduce the risk of harm to those who build, use and maintain structures, and to address the generally accepted trend that the construction industry remains disproportionately hazardous to those working within it.

The aim is to enable members of the construction industry to work together to adopt a more health & safety conscious management programme, by:

  • Simplifying regulation;
  • Improving planning and management from the design stage onward;
  • Early identification of risks;
  • Encourage cooperation and working together;
  • Reduce bureaucracy and raise standards.

What are the CDM Regulations 2007

The new Regulations are divided into 5 parts:

Part 1 – Application and definition of the Regulations;
Part 2 – General duties that apply to all construction projects;
Part 3 – Additional duties that apply to notifiable projects;
Part 4 – Practical requirements for all construction sites;
Part 5 – Transitional arrangements and revocations.

 

What type of project is notifiable?

A notifiable project is one that will last longer than 30 days (including holidays and weekends) or which will involve more that 500 person days of construction work (calculated on a normal working shift).  Domestic projects for those who live, or will live, in the premises and are not related through trade, business or undertaking the project, are not notifiable.  It is the responsibility of the new CDM Co-ordinator to notify the project.

What is the role of the CDM Co-ordinator and the Principal Contractor?

On all notifiable projects a CDM Co-ordinator and a Principal Contractor must be appointed.  The co-ordinator is responsible for advising the Client and notifying the HSE together with managing the communication of the construction team and creating the health & safety file.  The Principal Contractor is responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the progress of the works.  In addition, they should ensure that the Client is aware of their duties and that the Co-ordinator is appointed and information is provided for the health & safety file.

 

By what criteria is competency measured under the new Regulations?

There are 3 stages to competency:

  • Basic understanding of risk and how they are managed;
  • Sufficient understanding of the tasks to be used and the risks they involve;
  • The necessary experience and ability to carry out those duties.

The basic premise is, competent people are safer people.  It is important that individuals and organisations recognise their own limitations in this regard.  The Approved Code of Practice provides valuable guidance when addressing the question of competency.

 

What if the project has already begun?

The 2007 Regulations will apply.  There are provisions dealing with the transition period between the old and new Regulations but, importantly, the competency element must be acquired within 12 months.

 

Who are the new dutyholders?

Specific duties are imposed upon Clients, the CDM Co-ordinator, Designers, Contractors and Principal Contractors.

Clients:

They cannot now transfer their liabilities and duties to third parties, however, an agent acting on an existing project, under the CDM 1994, can continue in that role until the end of the project or April 2012, whichever is the earlier.

The Client must also ensure that the project is suitably managed and all relevant  required information is provided.

Designers:

The Designer must principally comply with the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 and must not begin work until the Client is aware of its duties.  Further, all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that the other members of the construction team, including the Client, have been provided with sufficient information about the design.

With regard to notifiable projects, a Designer should not start work until a CDM Co-ordinator has been appointed and  they have sufficient information about the design to enable them to comply with their duties.

Contractors:

The Contractor should not start work until the Client is aware of its duties and the Contractor has ensured that any contractors or sub-contractors that it intends to use are informed of the minimum amount of time they will be allowed to plan and prepare.  Every worker should have sufficient information and training for their particular work.

Principal Contractors:

Their duties fall into 3 categories:

  1. Main duties;
  2. Duties related to the construction phase plan; and
  3. Co-operation and consultation.

Overall, Principal Contractors must plan, manage and monitor the construction phase of the project to encourage co-operation and co-ordination between the relevant construction team members.  In addition, they must draw up the construction phase plan, ensure that every worker has a sufficient site induction, is provided with information and training and consult with the representatives of the workforce on matters of health, safety and welfare.

What is a health and safety file?

The CDM Co-ordinator is responsible for creating and revising this document for notifiable projects.  They must liaise with all of the relevant members of the construction team to ensure that the file contains information for the future construction, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition of the structure, in order that the future work is carried out safely.

Are there any strategies I can adopt for a ‘best practice’ approach?

It is important that you integrate health, safety and risk management into the corporate culture by considering the level of “risk”, reducing or eliminating the “risk” wherever possible and keep the “risk” under review.  A paper trail of this process will be invaluable when you audit your compliance with the Regulations or you are asked to illustrate your adoption of the “best practice” approach.

Where do I go for help?

The Approved Code of Practice accompanies the new 2007 Regulations and assists with practical guidance on interpreting and applying the Regulations as well as suggesting ways of improving cooperation and coordination.

Berrymans Lace Mawer