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CDM Regulation changes 2015 – One month in

The revised 2015 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations have now been in force for just over a month. Whilst the industry is still adjusting to the new regulations, there is still a lot of uncertainty amongst industry professionals around appointments, duty holders and key duties. We have highlighted some of these below and tried to set the record straight.

Appointment of the Principal Designer

The new regulations are clear – whenever it is foreseeable that more than one contractor will be appointed on a project then a Principal Designer should be appointed. The HSE guidance states ‘as early as possible in the design stage, if practicable at concept stage’. So, this doesn’t mean at planning, at tender stage, or as the project gets on site! A question that is coming up frequently is ‘what does more than one contractor mean?’ This refers to any contractor, not just the contractor appointed by the client, therefore includes all sub-contractors. In reality very few projects will have only a single contractor. So this means a Principal Designer (and Principal Contractor) will be required.

This is not notifiable, so I don’t need a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor

Under the 2007 regulations the client did not need to appoint a CDM-C or PC if the project was not ‘notifiable’, i.e. there was no F10 submitted to the HSE. This notification element of the regulations has been decoupled from the application of the regulations in full, therefore notification no longer affects whether or not the client should be making additional appointments. Whenever there is more than one contractor a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor must be appointed.

What about the Construction Phase Plan?

This is now required for all projects, regardless of size, duration or the number of contractors. When there is more than one contractor it will be produced by the Principal Contractor, otherwise by the single contractor appointed. The plan should reflect the risks and the complexity of a project.

What about maintenance work?

There are five paragraphs of ‘construction’ definitions in the regulations. This includes words like ‘upkeep’, ‘maintenance’, and ‘repair’. The regulations state that a construction phase plan is required for all projects, therefore if you are undertaking repair/upkeep then make sure that there is something in place for this. Beware if you are carrying out repair works with your own employees. For the purposes of the regulations, companies using their own staff to carry out ‘construction’ work are considered contractors. This means that if you employ a single external contractor who works in conjunction with your staff there are two contractors…so a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor has to be appointed.

So who can provide the Principal Contractor service?

The PD must be a designer on the project. However, the term designer is very wide ranging under the regulations. As well as the Architect, this could include the client, PM, Employer’s Agent, Contract Administrator or even QS. The important thing is that they must have adequate skills, knowledge and experience to co-ordinate health and safety matters. Ridge offers the PD service for all projects for which we are appointed as designer, but we appreciate that not all design practices have the health and safety expertise that we do, and not all practices want to take on this role. If you need to undertake the Principal Designer role but would like to talk to someone about assisting you with this, or sub-consulting the role out entirely then we would be happy to speak to you. Our Principal Designer services include:

 Principal Designer under the regulations.
 Principal Designer sub-consultant to design practices.
 Principal Designer consultancy for design and build contracts.

I am a Client and I don’t have any CDM expertise to call on

The 2007 approved code of practice described the CDM-C as the Client’s advisor on health and safety matters in construction. This advisor role has effectively vanished under the new regulations, even though the duties of the Client are now more onerous! The Client has to make sure that the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor are complying with their duties, as well as making sure that there are arrangements in place that ensure the works are carried out without risks to health and safety – all without the assistance of the CDM-C! Our Client services we offer include:

 Principal Designer and Principal Contractor oversight.
 Regular construction site visits and reports.
 Advice on the skills, knowledge and experience of appointees.
 General health and safety advice, particularly how a project might affect your business.

For full details of the services that we offer please contact:
Martin Emery
01993 815000


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