CDM 2015

Posted 23/2/2015

Contractors – are you ready for CDM 2015?

The building industry has been well aware that the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations are due to be overhauled in April this year, but the specific details have yet to be formally announced. Although the 2007 regulations are relatively well regarded, a government consultation found that:

‘There has been significant improvement in the industry’s performance on health and safety over recent years. However, it remains one of the highest risk industry sectors in which to work – with unacceptable standards, particularly on smaller sites….’

As a result many of the proposed changes for 2015 are targeted for the smaller end of the market and domestic projects.

Domestic projects will be included in future

The 2015 update to the CDM Regulations will see domestic construction projects that involve more than one contractor being subject to the same rules as larger, commercial equivalents. The only noticeable difference between the commercial and domestic requirements will be the way roles are assigned.

Under CDM 2015, home-owners will not be expected to assume the newly created role of Principal Designer (which replaces the former CDM Co-ordinator). Instead these duties will be passed on to the principal designer or contractor, obliging them to carry out the associated responsibilities.

By including domestic projects in the CDM 2015 Regulations, the HSE expects to capture an additional 1 million construction projects each year.

Issues Contractors need to address

As mentioned above, the role of CDM Co-ordinator is being replaced with the new Principal Designer (PD) designation. Although there will be very little difference in the actual duties associated with the role, the idea is that the PD will be able to influence the early stages of any project as designs are first being drawn up.

Contractors will need to ensure that they fully understand their new responsibilities under the CDM 2015 regime before taking on any projects after the 6th of April.

Confusion among the Industry

Despite the new CDM regulations going live in just two months, small builders may still be faced by confusion. The exact definition of ‘more than one contractor’ for a project remains a little vague for the Industry – does that mean two employees working on site, or representatives from two firms doing different tasks for instance.

Similarly, what paperwork will be required to prove that projects are being operated according to CDM 2015? What will appointment documents and contracts need to contain to meet the prescribed standards? For larger construction firms many of these questions are academic, but for smaller builders who have never been bound by the regulations before, April could come as quite a shock.

CDM 2015 is a positive move towards making the construction industry even safer for workers, but the short implementation timeframes could place small builders at a disadvantage later this year. Right now the best thing they can do to prepare is to familiarise themselves with the draft guidance and hope there are not too many changes in the meantime. They should also seek professional guidance from an expert (like Harris Safety Solutions) who can help implement the organisation changes needed to fit the CDM 2015 regulations.

Over to you – how is your small building firm preparing for CDM 2015?

Please pass and share if any of you friends and family are small builders , We are here to help

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