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New CDM Regulations 2015

Summary of Main Changes

A summary of the main changes which relate to CDM 2015 are listed below.

Principal Designer

One area of particular concern is the new Principal Designer (PD) role which will replace the existing CDM Coordinator position. The PD is expected to be a client appointment from within the design team, for example the Architect, Structural Engineer or Services Engineer.

The PD will be responsible for:
• Eliminating or controlling risk throughout the design phase
• Ensuring that the Principal Contractor (PC) is kept updated
• Ensuring that a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) is prepared
• Assisting the client with the preparation of the CPP
• Make certain that designers comply with their duties
• Preparing the Health and Safety file

Removal of the Domestic Client Exemption

Domestic clients have no responsibilities currently under CDM 2007. The HSE is proposing to remove the exemption as it breaks the EU Directive. This has led to concerns over small contractors, who only carry domestic works, being subject to new complex regulations which they will have to get to grips with in a short space of time.

Recognising that this change needs to be proportionate, the HSE has recommended that duties placed on domestic clients are taken on by the contractor (or Principal Contractor).

Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP)

Following the consultation which took place on August 13th 2014, the HSE is planning a partial reversal of its plan to abandon the Approved Code of Practice when it implements the CDM Regulations 2015, and now intends to publish a slim line version to accompany the new regulations at a later date.

The HSE had planned to remove the ACOP, which gives practical advice on implementing CDM 2007, in favour of industry-written guidance. This plan was included in the consultation documents published on 1 April 2014. But an HSE board paper addressing the outcomes of that consultation, makes it clear that the HSE is now proposing to produce a short "signposting" version of the ACOP.

The switch seems to be partly in response to support for the ACOP in the consultation, and partly out of acknowledgment of industry fears that the interlinked pieces of guidance might not be written in time.

Structural Simplification of the Regulations

The HSE proposes to simplify the structure of the Regulations to make them clearer and easier to understand. This is largely aimed at small to medium projects which tend to use SME companies. It is claimed that SME companies generally find the current Regulations difficult to understand and follow.

Raising The Threshold For Notification of Projects.

The requirement to notify the HSE about projects expected to last more than 30 days or involve more than 500 person-days of labour will be replaced by a requirement to notify projects involving "more than 30 working days and more than 20 workers simultaneously". However this will not be the trigger for the appointment of a PC or PD which has been the case to date. Instead, a project with more than one contractor will initiate the allocation of a PC or PD.

Managing the Transition

Many of you will be pleased to hear that the HSE is now proposing a 'crossover' period of six months for projects under construction when the revised Regulations come into effect. For a substantial majority of projects it will subsequently be possible to continue with a CDM coordinator until their co-ordination function is no longer required, subject to a six month limit. This will significantly reduce transitional costs for these projects.

Managing the transition from CDM 2007 to 2015 is still however expected to present a number challenges for construction companies, who will need to ensure that the new regulations are enforced to guarantee compliance.

CONIAC Update

The update below follows the meeting held by the HSE's Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) which took place on November 19th 2014. The main significant development from what was discussed at the CSS seminar relates to the transitional provisions as we cross over from CDM 2007 regulations to CDM 2015. The proposed changes include:

• Greater flexibility proposed for the transitional provisions in order to allow a 'crossover' period of six months for projects under construction when the revised Regulations come into effect. For a substantial majority of projects it will therefore be possible to continue with a CDM coordinator until their co-ordination function is no longer required, subject to a six month limit. This should reduce transitional costs for such projects.

• Provisions relating to domestic clients have been redrafted to improve clarity and further simplify the mechanism by which domestic client duties are assumed by other parties.

• HSE has revisited the approach to 'general duties' which will replace the detailed competence requirements in CDM 2007. In addition to using terminology which better reflects industry practices, the provision has been amended in order to clarify the responsibilities between the parties appointing designers and contractors and those appointed. The amended provision also introduces the concept of 'organisational capability' where appropriate.

• Other presentational changes to improve clarity and readability of the draft regulations have been made. Principally these relate to the relationship between the principal designer and principal contractor in relation to the flow of information between them, through which their respective duties with regard to the construction phase plan and the health and safety file have been made clearer. These changes do not substantively alter the requirements of the Regulations.

• The impact assessment has been amended, in resulting downward adjustment for expected cost savings. The impact assessment has now been subject to its 'final stage' post-consultation government scrutiny. The outcome of this scrutiny was successful, and the formal opinion is expected to be published in the near future.

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