The forthcoming revision of the Construction (Design & Management) CDM Regulations will include many smaller operational and maintenance-type projects within its scope for the first time, which will place new obligations on clients and facilities managers throughout the UK.
The up and coming changes, are expected to come into force next month (April 2015), subject to parliamentary approval – whereupon, CDM 2015 makes the client – namely, an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out – accountable for the impact of their decisions on and approach to health, safety and welfare on the project.
The scope of what actually constitutes ‘construction work’ has also been increased and FM works are now very much included. This means it will become mandatory for those who procure such ‘works’ to be familiar with their obligations. These revisions introduce strict liability on the client in a number of areas – in particular, for the performance of their appointed Duty-Holders.
An additional, substantial change (which will particularly affect facilities managers undertaking operational expenditure works within their estates), is the new requirement relating to projects involving more than one contractor. A principal designer and principal contractor must now be appointed by the client, and the client must ensure that the principal contractor prepares a ‘Construction Phase Plan’. This document sets out how the work will be managed safely. On completion, the client will be provided with a Health and Safety File, which provides safety information for future works.
But who pays for all of this? Property owners carrying out maintenance work across their portfolios may incur additional costs from designers and contractors for the added work that they now have to undertake. They then have to face new compliance risks as a result the introduction of new duties and the strict liabilities for the performance of these duty-holders.
Before these new regulations come into force, it is imperative that client organisations – and their facilities managers, in particular – understand completely the implications to their businesses of the changes.
Mark O’Mahony, Director at Derisk (Part of The DE Group) commented:
“The 2007 CDM regulations have certainly been a positive influence on construction sites and they could have been even more effective. Across the industry, the appointment of CDM coordinators was often made too late and appointees were not fully embedded into the pre-construction project team. Moving the responsibility onto the role of the Principal Designer is hoping to tackle this issue. The logic behind this, is based on the premise that architects and designers are an integral part of the project from day one; and will therefore introduce health and safety and design risk management at project inception.
However, one issue with this proposal is that many architects and designers may not want the role or are not skilled/equipped to take on this added responsibility. They may not even be covered for this role in terms of their Professional Indemnity insurance. We are therefore likely to see ‘ex’ CDM-C’s being appointed to discharge this duty.”
“In addition the term ‘Principal Designer’ is in itself misleading in respect to who it refers to. A common issue may arise where no one steps forward to take responsibility for the role. Here the responsibility will fall on the client, who will ultimately be responsible for making the appointment and discharging these duties.
While there are a number of new additional duties for clients, the biggest proposed change will be the duty to ‘police’ the construction phase, ensuring that duty holders fully discharging their duties. This will mean additional responsibility and a new role for clients who may never have undertaken this role previously or may have limited capacity within their own organisations to do so. This could leave clients at risk, with wellbeing and safety being compromised.”
“Some clients with little knowledge of the construction industry may take the changes to CDM literally and approach a design team to act as Principle Designer. The intent is to keep the appointment of Principal Designer, in house, with the design team. This makes complete sense to us here at Derisk.
Where this may ‘stumble’ is when the works involve major refurbishment or demolition. In cases like this, appointing an organisation such as the DE Group to take on the Principal Designer role and specifically Derisk to coordinate the PCI, monitor safety standards (Client duties) should be the way forward. This will offer real efficiency to clients in both cost and work effort and provide real value for money.”
If you need any advice on the forthcoming CDM 2015 changes to the regulations, please get in touch.
Source Designing Buildings Wiki
- Draft Guidance on The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
- HSE, consultation for the proposed revision.