The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) provide a system for managing projects to ensure key people are in place and take responsibility for safety at the right time. However, given the variety of construction projects, many of them “non-standard”, the CDM can be difficult to navigate.

The Health and Safety Executive’s Construction Industry Advisory Council (CONIAC) was established to help focus the industry on safety improvements. CONIAC’s Keeping Pace With Change working group has been collaborating across the industry on safety issues. Its first report, "The Keeping Pace with Change report – CDM2015 – from Compliance to Consultation and Collaboration" (April 2019), demonstrated how members of professional institutions could develop the skills, knowledge and experience to discharge their legal duties effectively.

The second, "CDM 20-20 Vision – changing the culture" (April 2021) recognises the “widespread lack of knowledge, misunderstanding and misinterpretation across the industry” and seeks to clarify those aspects of the CDM regarded as challenging. It explains how the CDM should be addressed on projects of varying types, size and complexity with a mix of “model” case studies and commonly asked questions. It summarises key changes effected by the CDM, such as the creation of the Principal Designer function. The case studies are based on “real project scenarios” and split into building and infrastructure categories with works stages simplified as follows: project definition and strategy; design development; detailed design and construction; and commissioning and operation. Clear timelines show the extent of duties for each role to help increase understanding of the CDM and ensure compliance. The result is a welcome and practical approach from which many will benefit.

This article was first published in Construction Law on 1 June 2021.