If you don’t know already as from 6th April 2015 The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 ("CDM 2007") will be replaced by The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 ("CDM 2015").  These regulations put in place arrangements to manage risks to the health and safety of persons in the carrying out, maintenance, cleaning, use and future alteration of construction works.

Almost everyone having an interest in construction projects needs to have at least a general awareness of CDM 2015 – developers, funders, tenants, employers, contractors, designers and other professional advisers will all be effected in different ways.

The Regulations are freely available from the UK government website, guidance has been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and professional bodies are rolling out training programmes for their members (e.g. the ICE and RIAS).  The CITB has also launched an app designed to help SME builders write construction phase plans (which are now required on all projects).

It is expected that amendments to standard form construction contracts will soon be published e.g. the JCT has indicated its intention to publish amendment sheets.

CDM 2015 will have broad application in terms of (a) the projects effected  - almost all construction projects in Scotland, England and Wales; and (b) the parties effected - similar to CDM 2007, duties will be imposed on a range of project participants.

There is a six month grace period during which transitional arrangements will apply in relation to projects commenced prior to 6th April 2015.

Notable change are:

  • The role of the CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007 is being replaced with the role of principal designer.  A principal designer will need to be appointed on all projects with more than one contractor or where it is reasonably foreseeable there will be more than one contractor working on the project at any time.  As the name suggests the intention is that a designer will be appointed as principal designer to take charge of health and safety matters during the pre–construction phase but it remains to be seen how this new role will be resourced in practice.  For example, it might be carried out in-house by the appointed designer if they have the capability to do so or they may sub-contract it out to those who previously provided CDM Co-ordination and before that planning supervision services.
  • Under CDM 2015 construction phase plans will now be required on every construction project and this will be an additional requirement for contractors on smaller projects where this was not previously needed.
  • The criteria for notifying projects has been adjusted such that a smaller number of projects will qualify for notification to the HSE.  It should be noted that under CDM 2015 notification does not result in the application of additional regulations or duties - the trigger for the appointment of the principal designer and principal contractor is that there is more than one contractor working on the project.
  • The duties of the client are increased (e.g. the client is responsible for making the notification to the HSE where this is required) and it maybe that some clients will obtain external support to discharge their duties.