What are CDM Regulations?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.

CDM Regulations or ‘CDM 2015’ as they are often referred to came into force on 6 April 2015 and replaced Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.

How does CDM 2015 affect the construction industry?

CDM 2015 introduces strict liability for the client; particularly for the performance of the ‘duty-holders’ appointed by the client to carry out the work. The implications for the contractors themselves are also significant. Responsibility for health and safety management in construction lies with business owners and can result in legal action.

CDM regulations 2015 state that “A contractor must not employ or appoint a person to work on a construction site unless that person has, or is in the process of obtaining, the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to carry out the tasks allocated to that person in a manner that secures the health and safety of any person working on the construction site.

How can individuals demonstrate CDM compliance?

Individuals can demonstrate compliance to CDM Regulations and also increase their own work opportunities by gaining the relevant NVQ appropriate to their occupational role and gain the CSCS card that accurately represents the true level of their skills, knowledge and experience. Individuals with access to higher level NVQs also have access to chartered status with institutions such as CIOB, RICS, ICCWI and CABE which are all considered to be benchmarks of competence.

CSCS Black, CSCS Gold, CPCS Blue Cards

How do Principal Designers play a key role in CDM 2015?

The Principal Designer can be an organisation or an individual that is appointed by the client to take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety during the pre-construction phase. They work alongside the client and the principal contractor and are responsible for planning, managing and co-ordinating health and safety at design stage to identify, eliminate and control any potential risks.

The Principal Designer is key to CDM because the role is very much focused on prevention and seeks to reduce, control and eliminate any possible health and safety risks before the construction project has even started.

For small-scale domestic development projects a Principal Designer’s role may be carried out by either the Principal Contractor or the designer responsible for the pre-construction phase. On larger projects, a PD can appoint a Health and Safety specialist to assist them in performing their duties.

How can employers demonstrate CDM compliance?

Employers can demonstrate compliance to CDM 2015 by ensuring that everyone working on the project has the correct level of skills, knowledge, experience and training to carry out their role effectively and safely. NVQs are the perfect vehicle to do just that because they provide proof that an individual has both the knowledge and technical ability to carry out a job role in the work place to a recognised industry standard. Achievement of an NVQ in construction provides access to CSCS and CPCS Cards that demonstrate this.

The role of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor

The importance of the role of the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor cannot be underestimated and should never be omitted from a development project. Like all aspects of health and safety legislation, it is intended to ensure that everyone involved in construction stays safe during the course of their work.

Principal Designer’s responsibilities extend beyond the design phase. They need to consider the safety of those people who maintain, clean, repair and eventually demolish their structures.

How do Principal Contractors play a key role in CDM 2015?

The Principal Contractor is the contractor in overall control of the construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. They are appointed by the client and there should only be one principal contractor for a project at any one time. For example a roofing contractor would be the principal contractor on a project if they employed other contractors, such as a contractor to provide scaffolding. A contractor can be an individual as well as a business (for example, a self-employed electrician).

The Principal Contractor is key to CDM because they are responsible for the delivery and implementation of health and safety on site once the construction project has began. The Principal Contractor is responsible for things like access and egress, ensuring that there is sufficient induction on site, ensuring that there are good safety systems and supervision in place, ensuring adequate waste management systems are in place.

Which NVQs are appropriate to the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor?

CADUK have identified the following NVQs as suitable to develop the desired characteristics for the role of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor, as specified by HSE:

Where can I find more information on CDM?

The HSE is a good source of information and guidance. It has produced the key publication Managing health and safety in construction – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 – (L153) on the legal requirements for CDM 2015.

On the HSE website there are also some very useful Frequently Asked Questions pages. These are not formal HSE guidance and are not intended to cover every aspect of the topic or be a ‘one size fits all’ answer, but provide consistent and helpful answers to some of the most common questions which have arisen about CDM 2015.

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