CDM – Have Your Say

Whether at home or abroad, the Construction industry is still one of the most risk-inherent sectors in which to work with serious incidents and fatalities on sites from Brazil to London having recently been reported in the media.

As we emerge from recession and construction carries on apace, we are witnessing an increasing trend of employing casual and inexperienced workers to cope with the pace of development – a ‘ticking time-bomb’ according to a recent article in the Observer and high time for change.

CDM Gets an Overhaul

As referenced in our previous post, on the 31st March the HSE opened a 10-week consultation on proposals to replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007).

CDM regulations are set to undergo a shake-up in 2014.
CDM regulations are set to undergo a shake-up in 2014.

This Consultation Document seeks views on HSE’s proposal to replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) and withdraw the Approved Code of Practice. The proposed Regulations implement in Great Britain the requirements of Directive 92/57/EEC on the implementation of minimum safety and health requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites, apart from certain requirements which are implemented by the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The proposals support the strategic objectives of improved co-ordination, better value for money, improved efficiency and use of technological changes in Construction 2025, the Government’s industrial strategy for construction.

We asked our in-house expert, Dave Bryan to take a look at the draft CDM 2014 regulations and offer his advice related to the significant changes afoot amongst the revised client duties.

Project Management

Clients will be expected to ‘make’ arrangements for managing their construction projects, whereas currently, CDM 2007 Regulation 9 (1) requires Clients to take ‘reasonable’ steps to ensure that ‘arrangements made’ for managing the project … are suitable.

Given that the term ‘project’ means a project which includes or is intended to include construction work and includes all planning, design, management and other work involved in a project until the end of the construction phase, it would appear that Clients will need to be actively involved in all aspects of their projects, and may not be able to rely on the services of others to discharge their duties, including the requirement to notify the Executive as appropriate.

It is worth mentioning that EU Directive 92/57/EEC (24 June 1992) provides that member states may bring into force legislation to enable Clients to engage a Project Supervisor to act on their behalf, presumably to enable those Clients who may not possess the necessary construction project management competencies to achieve a successful project.  It appears that this regulatory option has been discounted in the draft, and notably, the protection offered by CDM 2007 to Clients in discharging their project management duties, which is explicit in the requirement to take ‘reasonable’ steps, is also conspicuously absent.

Documented Plans

Other items of note at this early stage in the consultation process are the requirement for all projects to have a documented construction phase plan, which is contrary to the practical guidance given in the current Approved Code of Practice L144 (paragraph 21), and for all projects that involve more than one contractor, a health and safety file is to be prepared or revised as appropriate.

As ever, the devil is in the detail and we will be keeping you up-to-date with developments as they arise.

Have Your Say

Read the consultation document and add your comments on the process at the HSE website by the 6th June.

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