Regulations Forget the dreary paperwork of old. The new CDM regulations are bigger, better and far more practical.
The new CDM regulations come into force tomorrow. The new rules are the culmination of three years’ work and it is hoped they will be a big improvement. The previous regulations resulted in excessive and irrelevant paperwork. Because of this, buy-in from the industry was poor and the exercise was often treated with cynicism.
Following an industry-wide consultation, there is a chance for the new regulations to make a real difference. The irrelevant paperwork has been binned and there is a focus on improving health and safety standards by keeping the regulations proportionate to the task and by focusing on outcomes rather than process.
The code of practice and accompanying guidance is more detailed than before, but it is hoped this will make the regulations clearer, and leave less room for ambiguity.
The main changes
All projects will now be subject to CDM except domestic works. Any projects involving more than 500 person days of construction work or lasting longer than 30 days need to be notified to the Health and Safety Executive using the F10 notification form.
A construction phase health and safety plan must be drawn up and the planning supervisor has been replaced by the CDM co-ordinator. Also, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 are now part of CDM. In addition, there is new guidance on applying CDM to projects procured using the PFI, which places different demands on teams.
The duty holders – client, designer, contractor and co-ordinator – now have their respective competencies set out carefully.
Clients have to ensure that they take up their responsibilities early in the project. Indeed, CDM duties apply for competition entries, concept designs, and bids for grants. A planning co-ordinator must be appointed from the initial design, otherwise this role defaults to the client. Initial design is defined simply as any actions that cannot be changed later, but it is expected that measures are in place at feasibility stage. Clients must also appoint competent team members. The guidance gives details on how to ensure these duty holders are competent to take on the role. Additionally, clients must also ensure construction does not start until the health and safety plan is in place and appropriate welfare provisions are available.
Designers are not just the consultants but anyone that influences the design. Competence is related to qualification and experience and guidance on assessment is given. Designers should involve all members of the team to ensure all points of view are understood and should see highlighting hazards as a continual part of their duties. Design risk assessments have been shown to achieve little, so designers should focus on occasionally recording the actions taken to ensure there is a record and check progress. If any health and safety issues are unresolved before work starts on site, these must be identified and passed to the site team.
As before, designers must make sure the client is aware of its responsibilities at the earliest opportunity. Remember, the designer needs to ensure that if the project includes workspaces that they are designed in accordance with the workplace regulations.
The CDM co-ordinator replaces the planning supervisor. It is not just a new name, but a new role that can be undertaken by anyone with the correct competence. The role is central to ensure that all the duty holders do the right thing and achieve an appropriate and focused outcome. There is an emphasis on adopting a positive approach combined with brevity and clarity.
The CDM co-ordinator must either generate or ensure the generation of the heath and safety file. This data is the core of the CDM paperwork that will be passed on and allow the contractor to produce the health and safety plan.
As well as developing the health and safety construction plan, the contractor must:
- Take control of the site and site operations
- Ensure co-operation between the contractors and consultants
- Ensure that welfare provisions for the project comply with the regulations. As the workplace regulations are now part of CDM, the client has to ensure that the contractor provides site facilities where necessary.
Peter Caplehorn is technical director at Scott Brownrigg
Find out more about the new CDM on PP56-57