The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) were highlighted for review in November 2011 in Professor Löfsted’s independent report on health and safety laws. Since then, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been committed to an evaluation of the regulations, with the intention of introducing an updated version in 2014. The latest development in this process sees the publication of specific HSE research on the implementation of the CDM Regulations in the London 2012 Olympic build.

The HSE and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) funded the research, which was commissioned by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) (‘the client’ under the CDM Regulations). Dutyholders from the ODA were interviewed and took part in workshops to ascertain how the CDM Regulations were implemented in practice. In addition, interviews took place with contractors, designers, CDM coordinators, project managers and HSE inspectors. The outcomes of the research point to successful and effective implementation of the regulations and highlight lessons that can be learnt going forward.

One of the main features behind the success was the strong client leadership and early strategic planning demonstrated by the ODA. In addition, the involvement and engagement of contractors and the collaboration that took place between them was a positive contributing factor. Principal contractors, who would otherwise have been competitors outside of the project, were involved in information and knowledge sharing about problems and near-miss incidents to allow a wider benefit and the joint identification of solutions. In addition, workforce involvement was seen to be a crucial factor in terms of CDM success. The culture created on the project meant that engagement was from the bottom level up, and workers at all levels felt they could halt any work they deemed to be unsafe.

For the London 2012 project more than 30 CDM coordinators were appointed at an early stage to monitor construction plans and report key information on a continuing basis. This combination of early and on-going planning was seen as crucial to the overall success. The research also noted that it was this practice and culture, rather than the need to make significant expenditure, which was the key to effective CDM implementation.

The outcomes of the research will be taken into consideration by the HSE as part of the wider CDM review.  The research can be found here.