Date: 06/10/2015 | Commercial Property, Construction
The new regulations reflect a change of emphasis, the word “shall” largely being replaced by “must”, with criminal sanctions applying to a breach of the regulations.
So, what are the main changes?
The role of the Principal Designer
The Principal Designer does much of what the CDM Co-ordinator did before, having primary responsibility for planning, managing, monitoring and co-ordinating health and safety during the pre-construction phase and liaising closely with the other parties during the construction phase in order to ensure that the project is carried out without health or safety risks. It is the Principal Designer’s responsibility to prepare, review, update, revise and handover the health and safety file.
How the role of the client has changed
The new regulations place much greater responsibility on the client than before, providing that the client must “make suitable arrangements for managing a project” and must “ensure that these arrangements are maintained and reviewed throughout the project”. The client is required to appoint the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor and to take “reasonable steps to ensure” that they both have the skill, knowledge and experience to fulfil the roles required and that they comply with their duties under the regulations throughout the life of the project. This is an ongoing duty, requiring the client to ensure, throughout the duration of the project, that the various parties appointed continue to meet the competence criteria and to comply with the regulations.
The client is also required to:
Ultimate responsibility for a breach of the new regulations will now likely rest with the client, and as criminal liability may attach to a breach the consequences for the client of non-compliance are more serious than previously.
Implications for the “domestic” client
The new regulations apply to all “clients”, there no longer being an exemption for “domestic” clients carrying out works to their homes. This is perhaps not as drastic as it first sounds, as domestic clients are able to delegate the majority of the client’s duties to others, with default provisions providing that should a domestic client fail to make an appointment, the Principal Designer duties will fall on the designer in control of the pre‑construction phase of the project and the Principal Contractor duties on the contractor in control of the construction phase of the project.
Are you ready?
By 6 October all active construction projects that involve more than one contractor must now have a Principal Designer appointed, and where a CDM co-ordinator has previously been appointed his appointment must now be brought to an end.
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