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The CDM Regulations consultation needs you!

29 April 2014

The Health and Safety Executive (the HSE) has opened a consultation on the replacement of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (the CDM Regulations).

Despite significant improvement over recent years, the construction industry remains one of the highest risk industry sectors in which to work.

This consultation sets out the HSE's proposals to replace the CDM Regulations to improve worker protection, simplify the regulatory package, improve health and safety on small construction sites, implement the EU 'Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive' (the TMCSD), discourage bureaucracy and meet better regulation principles.

What has been proposed?

  • Structural simplification of the CDM Regulations so that it follows the process of a project.
  • Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice with a number of shorter, more specific guidance documents intended to be more accessible and relevant and which can be updated more regularly. 
  • Removal of the CDM co-ordinator role, to be replaced with a 'principal designer' who will be responsible for the pre-construction phase of a project in the same way the principal contractor is responsible for the construction phase.  The consultation envisages that the 'principal designer' can be a member of the existing project team (rather than a separate appointment).  The consultation acknowledges that there is a widely held view that the current approach in this regard is often bureaucratic and adds costs with little added value, as appointments are often made too late with those involved in fulfilling the role often not well embedded into the pre-construction project team.
  • Replacing explicit competence requirements with a general requirement to ensure that those appointed receive appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision.  This is to address the perceived bureaucracy of the industry's response to the current Regulations.
  • Removing the domestic client exemption (as required by the TMCSD) but creating a default position whereby duties that would fall on a domestic client instead fall to the principal contractor.
  • Changing the threshold for appointment of the principal designer and principal contractor so that they must also be appointed whenever there is more than one contractor on a project (as required by the TMCSD).

If approved, it is proposed that the revised CDM Regulations would come into force in April 2015.

How can I respond?

Reponses to the consultation are required no later than 6 June 2014 and should be sent to cdm2015@hse.gsi.gov.uk.  The full consultation and response form can be found here.

Duncan Salmon, Partner in our Construction, Engineering & Projects team, commented:

"The importance of health and safety on construction sites cannot be overstated. However, simply having a set of regulations does not guarantee that proper health and safety procedures will be followed on site. The regulations need to be practical, enforceable and fit for purpose rather than simply creating an additional layer of  bureaucracy. 

"This consultation gives the construction industry the opportunity to influence the outcome and shape the inevitable changes to the regulations - anyone who would be affected by a change to the CDM Regulations should take the time to consider and respond to the questions asked." 

This article was written by James Worthington.

For more information please contact James on +44 (0)20 7427 1070 or james.worthington@crsblaw.com.