CDM 2015 - are you set for the biggest changes in health and safety in a decade?

  • Health and safety regulation is changing 

With significant changes to the Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations set to come into force today (6 April), those involved in construction projects will need robust health and safety more than ever before according to Tom Burton of Innes England's building consultancy team.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) objectives behind the new regulations are far-reaching and will mark an important shift in the health and safety regulatory regime for procurement, design and delivery of construction projects – changes that are intended to make the regulations clearer to understand.

The role of CDM Coordinator will be removed, but there will now be a requirement for a ‘Principal Designer; who will take control of the health and safety elements of the pre-construction phase. This will also extend into the construction phase as they will liaise closely with the Principal Contractor throughout. It will also be required that those taking up each of these roles has the appropriate Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision.

Another key change will see domestic projects – those undertaken by homeowners, for example – become subject to a Construction Phase Plan, which must be put in place before any works begin. This is something completely new that people will need to be aware of should they undertake construction projects at home.

All construction projects exceeding 30 days or with more than 20 workers on site simultaneously, or those with works to exceed 500 ‘person days’, will require a notification to the HSE. This doesn’t, however, trigger the requirement for the appointment of either Principal Designer or Principal Contractor.

The new regulations will also be accompanied by a new, slimline Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) which will be published after 6 April. Again, it is intended that this will help to make the process more easy to understand and accessible for those undertaking construction projects – something that will be particularly useful to those undertaking domestic projects.

The HSE will implement a transitional period from 6 April to 6 October where the new regulations will be phased in – so, for projects starting before then when construction has not yet begun and a CDM coordinator has not been appointed, a Principal Designer must be appointed as soon as practicable. If, however, a CDM coordinator is in place then they have until October to appoint a Designer.

It will be essential that those undertaking construction projects are able to demonstrate clear leadership, ownership and partnership to ensure suitable management arrangements right through from procurement to completion will be essential to achieving the necessary health and safety controls.

For advice on the changes in regulations, and how we can help, please contact Tom Burton at Innes England on 0115 924 3243.