It is over a year since the CDM changes were brought in, but there still seems to be some confusion as to how the regulations have panned out and what the implications are for builders, especially those working on smaller projects.
Here’s a quick re-cap:
Changes to the regulations and the roles of the duty holders
Whilst the technical standards set out in Part 4 of the current regulations have essentially remained unchanged, the key differences lie in the removal of the CDM Coordinator role and the re-allocation of their duties, plus the introduction of a new duty holder; the Principal Designer.
With the CDM Co-ordinator removed, many of the duties previously placed upon them now have to be performed by either the sole ‘Designer’ or the ‘Principal Designer’. This means that the responsibility for the coordination of construction health and safety information during the pre-construction phase falls to them and includes identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks, as well as ensuring that relevant information is passed to other duty holders. They are also responsible for ensuring that the Health and Safety File is prepared and passed onto the client at the end of the project.
The final key change is that only those projects lasting longer than 30 days and which involve more than 20 persons, or those involving more than 500 person days will need to be notified by the client to the HSE.
Changes for homeowners
The second key change has been that the new regulations place duties upon ‘domestic clients’ (i.e. home owners). When working on a project for a domestic client the role of Designers, Principal Designers, Principal Contractors and Contractors is generally no different to their role when working for a commercial client, however, under the new regulations the domestic client normally transfers their duties to the Contractor/ Principal Contractor or the Principal Designer.
From a design perspective, it is also important to note that design teams have to be more risk aware when considering schemes; not only for those risks arising from what they propose to construct, but also from the existing building or site’s current conditions, as they are responsible for ensuring that this information is passed to the construction team.
So what does this mean for the average builder?
The new regulations have introduced a requirement for a construction phase plan (CPP) to be produced for all construction projects – whether that is re-tiling a bathroom, adding an extension or building the tallest skyscraper. In the new guidance HSE state that the size and content of these needs to be determined by the levels of risk.
All of this may be somewhat daunting for those builders used only to working on domestic projects, particularly as there is currently no legal requirement for a written health and safety policy or record of risk assessments for companies with less than five employees. Under CDM2015 however, there are no exemptions and a construction phase plan must be in place for all projects.
Clearly this can lead to an increase in the amount of paperwork that needs to be produced, especially when working on domestic projects, and is likely to incur additional costs which may need be incorporated into the project budget.
As with all regulation changes it is important to be fully aware of your responsibilities so you can ensure you are compliant and your business remains safe.
To help clear up the confusion THSP has created two in-house CDM training courses:
For more information on these training courses or how we can help with our CDM advisor services call us on 03456 122144.