Scott Brownrigg’s Peter Caplehorn answers questions on the CDM regulations arising from Building’s recent online seminar

What paperwork do designers need to produce to show that they have complied with the Regs ?

Designers need confirmation they have informed the client of his duties, confirmation of risk analysis throughout the design process (drawings and notes) and a hazard register to pass on prior to site start.

What makes a project notifiable? I am confused, some say all works are subject to CDM, yet only 500 man hours/ 30 days are notifiable.

All but domestic work is subject to CDM -500 man hours/30 days is the threshold above which you must notify notify.

What is the position where a client buys into an already “in progress” project e.g. social housing under a section 106 planning condition, where the scheme is already largely designed?

Client and design teams should be given CDM details analysis produced so far and must be happy with content to take the scheme forward.

What format should the pre-construction infomation take?Easy to read, clear simple documents and designers should use drawings with mark ups.

We supply and install shopfronts - sometimes in one piece and very heavy, giving rise to hazards. Under CDM who is liable - us or the architect insisting on certain design? Do we have any say in matter?The designer/architect should ensure either hards are designed out or identified so if one heavy component should be flagged up and explained as a hazard, you as the competant specilist should then be able to allow safe methods of installation.

We are a specialist subcontractor designing, making and installing products. How does CDM influence us and what duties do we have?

You should read the industry guide on designers contractors and workers.

Would you expound on the notion of taking CDM on board in competition design, bearing in mind that competition entries very often bank on the use of untested methods and technologies?

CDM analysis should start at least before initial design. That applies to competition entries on the basis that they could be built. However that should not limit design. New and innovative designs must clearly identify the hazards they generate and the designer should be able to explain what they are and in principle how they can be addressed safely.

The new regs appear to require the application of CDM principles to repair & maintenance, though these are not notifiable is this a correct interpretation ?

These need to be considered by the originating designer and include demolition at the end of a building’s life. If it is stand alone work then rules on scope and notification apply.

Surely a competent designer, if they need to be reminded to consider the Workplace (HS&W) Regs under the CDM regs, should perhaps be reminded of the management regs, manual handling and display screen equipment regs?

Agreed. All the relevant regulations should be taken account of by the designer. The welfare regulations are now part of the CDM regs and are therefore worth noting.

Some designers still call the summary of their CDM Reg 11 thinking / actions the “design risk assessment”, some call it a “register”, however the content is fairly similar - what’s in a name?

The name is not really the important issue, making sure you consider issues, recording some notes on your actions and having a method to publish hazards that others needs to be aware of is the point. I prefer the name hazard register.

Is the Diohas website up and running yet?

Not yet but hopefully by the autumn, in the mean time many of the guidance points I have spoken about are included in the RIBA H&S charter practice template.

We have a problem of paper overload, with stuff being included just in case; is it possible to penalise unnecessary, excess paper?

I believe people are automatically penalised by being inefficient and maybe taking their eye off the ball.

What happens on projects that were in progress on the 6th April when CDM2007 was introduced? What is the timeframe / requirements for transferring from the old regs to the new regs bearing in mind that the roles are subtly different and need to be realigned?

The regs changed instantly over night. Contractors and CDM Co-ordinators are expected to behave in particular in the new role. In practical terms everyone is still learning the ropes but should have by now fully embraced the new roles and requirements.

Is appintment of CDM Cordinator essential before the planning application?


Initial Design: Surely any action can be changed later so this isn’t a robust guide for establishing the initial design stage?

That definition is one way of trying to give a simple definition, others exisit that are more complex; you might be able to change things later but would that be practical ?

In the 1994 CDM Regs the designer, presumably the lead/first appointed designer advised the client of their duties. Why not allow them to still do so, with elaboration done by the CDM coordinator? Otherwise, how do clients not familiar with the lead/first appointed designer advise the client of their duties?

That is still the case, in fact it’s a duty.

I have heard a lot about design for construction issues but nothing about designing for ongoing maintenance of the building. How do you see the new CDM regulations improving the safety of maintaining new buildings or refurbishments?

Access cleaning and maintenence are as important. Architects must consider how buildings are accessd and carefully consider materials. See industry guides and Coniac guide on access.

How do designers ensure that preparatory safety works e.g. scaffolding. temporary welfare facilities etc are carried out properly?

Designers as part of the consultant team just have to point out that welfare should be provided. They should not get involved with scaffold design at all, just allow for the principle if it is to be used on not. Other specialists should undertake the design.

Are the CONIAC guides available online?

Yes see the link from the Construction Skillswebsite.

Are designers risk assessments still required and if yes in which format?

No. A summation of the hazards, particularly a drawn one is best but certainly no preformatted hugh tabularised document.