We have, over the last couple of years, written extensively on CDM and the proposed changes.

While there remains no definite timetable for any changes but it now seems far more likely that we will all be getting to grips with a new set of CDM Regulations at some point in 2015.

Although the actual changes themselves are not yet fixed (a consultation will be launched later this year) the following seems likely1:

  1. The CDM-Coordinator role will be replaced by a “Principal Designer”. The PD can be anyone who is a “designer” under the Regs. One of the aims of this change is that clients should not be forced into appointing another 3rd party (such as a CDM-C) when one of its existing team (or indeed itself) can fulfil this role.
  2. The ACoP will undergo major changes and will probably be replaced by Guidance. The HSE’s view appears to be that the current ACoP is over-interpreted and is not, in practice, helpful in managing risk.
  3. The requirement for “Competence” (one of the underlying duties/themes of CDM) is going to be revamped or maybe removed. The detail of its replacement remains to be seen.

In terms of what this actually means, it is likely that most high profile and complex projects will already be co-ordinated in a way that will fit with the new PD role. Given the confusion that can arise in relation to when (or indeed whether) to appoint a CDM-Coordinator, the change to PDs may be a welcome one.

In summary, the detail of the changes remains up in the air, but a consultation will be launched shortly. Areas of debate will be how to “sell” the PD role to the designers who will actually have to fulfil the role, settling what replaces “competence”, drafting the replacement for the ACoP (a potentially huge piece of work in itself) and how the new regulations will be practically delivered, although the latter is most likely to be more of a problem on smaller sites and projects.