The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM Regulations) apply to all construction work carried out in the UK and areas to which the 1974 Act extends, such as offshore wind farms in the Renewable Energy Zones. Because of its broad applicability, it impacts a wide range of projects, from small-scale building extensions to huge capital projects, such as the London Olympics.  

The CDM regulations have been criticised by some on the basis that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is inadequate. The pressure has been such that the government committed to review the regulations in 2010. To that end, the HSE commissioned an external consultancy in 2010 to carry out an initial impact evaluation of the CDM regulations and on 4 April 2011, published a 158 page report on its findings. The rationale of the CDM regulations was, amongst other things, to introduce simplicity, shift the focus away from plans towards planning and management and strengthen the co-operation and co-ordination between designers and contractors.  

The 4 April report suggests that the CDM regulations are largely meeting their intended objectives. However, nearly half of respondents complained that the CDM regulations did not minimise bureaucracy, as intended. Similarly, the report suggests that opinion is divided as to whether the regime has introduced greater integration between designers and contractors. A cost-benefit analysis by respondents indicated that on average the benefits of the regulations were moderate and the costs were viewed as moderate or lower.  

The pilot study does not identify any serious failings with the CDM regulations. However, it does indicate areas where the regulations do not currently meet their intended objective. Those areas are likely to be the focus of any future review.  

To view the HSE’s Pilot Study, please go to: www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr845.pdf