The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has published the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 ("CDM 2016").

CDM 2016 will replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007, which is a key part of the health and safety legislation affecting all construction and engineering projects and property development in Northern Ireland. One of the keys intentions behind the replacement is to simplify the Regulations and reduce ‘red tape’.

What's new?

The role of the CDM Co-ordinator, established under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007, was frequently contracted out to third party consultants who were not necessarily otherwise involved in the design and construction process. In a move designed to reduce costs and administrative burdens, the key change brought about by CDM 2016 is the abolition of the role of the CDM Co-ordinator, and the introduction of the new role of Principal Designer.

The Principal Designer is a not a straight-swap replacement for the CDM Co-ordinator. It is a new role, with fewer and different duties than a CDM Co-ordinator. Some CDM Co-ordinator duties have also been assigned to the Client and Principal Contractor. For example, the Client will be responsible for notifying the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland of a project.

Who does CDM affect?

Both domestic and commercial projects will be subject to CDM 2016. 

A project will be notifiable to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland if the construction work on site will:

  1. last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  2. exceed 500 person days. 

When does CDM 2016 come into force?

CDM 2016 comes into force on 1 August 2016. The legislation includes transitional provisions, so that, where a project has already started by 1 August 2016, the Client must appoint a Principal Designer before 1 August 2017 (unless the project ends before that date). In the meantime, the existing CDM Co-ordinator must comply with the duties of a Principal Designer.

Where I can find out more?

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland has not announced the publication of any CDM 2016 guidance documents. However, contractors, consultants and others that work in Great Britain will already be familiar with the changes brought about by CDM 2016, as CDM 2016 closely mirrors legislation that came into force in Great Britain in April 2015. The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance that supports the Great British legislation, and explains it in more detail.

The Construction Industry Training Board has also produced guidance which sets out, in practical terms, what actions are required to deliver building and construction projects in a way that prevents injury and ill health.