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CDMC changes – you could plan ahead if only it were clear what’s happening!

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) are planning a complete overhaul of the CDM Regulations including removal of regulations and the introduction of duties for domestic projects.

It is understood that the revised package will come into force in April 2015. Here are 4 key proposed changes to the current Regulations:

1. Removal of the CDM Coordinator (“CDMC”) role.

This is probably the biggest proposed change. The HSE propose to remove the role of the CDMC and introduce a new role of the Principal Designer. The Principal Designer will have responsibility for the health and safety aspects of the pre-construction phase of the project passing it on to the Principal Contractor during the construction phrase.

Currently, for notifiable projects, the CDMC is employed to oversee and coordinate the health and safety projects but the view of the HSE is that a Principal Designer will have more influence and control over the project design than the CDMC in the current structure.

2. Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (APoC) with targeted guidance.

The current APoC is 107 pages and it is thought to be too long and complex causing it to be overlooked on smaller projects. The HSE propose that it will be replaced with a number of targeted, sector specific guidance documents that will be more user friendly.

3. Amending the threshold for notification.

Under the proposed changes a project will be notifiable if construction work lasts longer than 30 working days AND had more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project or exceeds 500 person days.

It will make it possible to have a project on site for 40 days with a maximum number of 12 persons on site (480 person days) or alternatively 60 days with 8 workers.

The purpose of this change would be that because of the ‘and 20 persons’ element, it is likely that less projects would be notifiable under the proposed changes.

4. Changes to the threshold for the appointment of co-ordinators.

The proposed changes aim to set out sensible and proportionate arrangements for co-ordination for smaller projects which fall within the scope of this requirement. The belief is that there should be more effective co-ordination, particularly of smaller and poorly managed projects that may have significant health and safety risks.

The new proposed change will also get rid of the Domestic Client exemption so general householders will have duties under the new CDM but these can be transferred to the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor.

Timing of the changes

It has not yet been confirm by the HSE what will happen to projects that are already on site when the changes come into force in April 2015. Several CDMC’s are concerned they will find themselves without a job.

Recently an architect expressed his concern to BPE that, overnight, architect and D&B contractors might find themselves becoming the Principal Designer. This may prove to be the biggest challenge of 2015 for design professionals.

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These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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