The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) were highlighted for review in November 2011 in Professor Löfsted’s independent report on health and safety laws. Since then, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been committed to an evaluation of the regulations, with the intention of introducing an updated version in 2014. The latest development in this process sees the publication of specifi c HSE research on the implementation of the CDM Regulations in the London 2012 Olympic build.
The HSE and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) funded the research, which was commissioned by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) (‘the client’ under the CDM Regulations). Dutyholders from the ODA were interviewed and took part in workshops to ascertain how the CDM Regulations were implemented in practice. In addition, interviews took place with contractors, designers, CDM coordinators, project managers and HSE inspectors. The outcomes of the research point to successful and effective implementation of the regulations and highlight lessons that can be learnt going forward.
One of the main features behind the success was the strong client leadership and early strategic planning demonstrated by the ODA. In addition, the involvement and engagement of contractors and the collaboration that took place between them was a positive contributing factor. Principal contractors, who would otherwise have been competitors outside of the project, were involved in information and knowledge sharing about problems and near-miss incidents to allow a wider benefi t and the joint identifi cation of solutions. In addition, workforce involvement was seen to be a crucial factor in terms of CDM success. The culture created on the project meant that engagement was from the bottom level up, and workers at all levels felt they could halt any work they deemed to be unsafe.
For the London 2012 project more than 30 CDM coordinators were appointed at an early stage to monitor construction plans and report key information on a continuing basis. This combination of early and on-going planning was seen as crucial to the overall success. The research also noted that it was this practice and culture, rather than the need to make signifi cant expenditure, which was the key to effective CDM implementation.
The researchers have stressed that the lessons to be learnt from this project are not exclusively applicable to large-scale developments. Matters such as client leadership, workforce engagement, dutyholder involvement, planning and coordination, and early CDM appointments are matters that apply across a broad range of construction projects and should be considered generally across the sector.
The outcomes of the research will be taken into consideration by the HSE as part of the wider CDM review. It will be used in conjunction with detailed research undertaken by the HSE on the 2007 Regulations published earlier this year. This report highlighted that while the 2007 Regulations had largely strengthened safety coordination in comparison to the previous legislation, there were still concerns to be addressed. Central to this were issues of administrative bureaucracy and a lack of clarity over some matters in the Regulations and the related Approved Code of Practice. Many of these concerns echoed those highlighted in the Löfstedt report.
It is interesting, however, that in the practical assessment of CDM on the Olympic development many of these issues were not raised as problematic by the interviewees on the project.
The CDM London 2012 research report can be viewed at www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr941.pdf