The new CDM Regulations, which aim to simplify and bring together the CDM Regulations 1994 and Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 are expected to come into force on 6 April 2007. They were approved by the Health and Safety Commission in October 2006. A supporting Approved Code of Practice (AcoP) and industry approved guidance is expected to be released this month in order to provide some familiarisation before the new regulations come into force.

The new regulations aim to simplify the law for the construction industry which has in the past been criticised for being too complex. It also aims to raise health and safety standards by improving the running and planning of construction projects. It places duties on all people involved in a project from start to finish, including provisions applicable to those involved in maintaining the building after completion.

The major changes in the new regulations are as follows:

· The role of the client has been redefined and the role of the client’s agent has been abolished. The client is now more accountable and has more duties than before. The ACoP provides direction for clients on how to fulfil these duties and recognises that many clients will not be very familiar with the construction process and therefore they are only generally required to ensure that various things are done, as opposed to taking an active role to do them themselves. The AcoP also summarises what clients are not expected to do.

· For notifiable projects (projects which have a construction phase longer than 30 days or involve more than 500 person days of building work) the client must appoint a CDM co-ordinator (replacing the planning supervisor under the 1994 regulations) and principal contractor. If the client does not appoint these positions he will have to undertake the roles himself. The co-ordinator is required to support and advise him in carrying out his duties. The principle contractors duties are set out in regulation 22 of the new regulations. His primary role is the planning, management and monitoring of the construction phase.

· For non-notifiable projects neither a CDM co-ordinator nor a principle contractor needs to be appointed and a written health and safety plan is not required; although written arrangements are still required for high-risk work