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The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Date: 06/10/2015 | Construction, Real Estate

From today, 6 October 2015, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 will apply to all building and construction projects in Great Britain. Whilst there are many similarities between the “old” 2007 regulations and the new regulations, there are also some important changes, not least being the abolition of the CDM Co-ordinator role and the introduction of the “Principal Designer”.

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?

  • Abolition of CDM Co-ordinator and birth of the Principal Designer
  • Trigger for appointment of Principal Designer/Principal Contractor is where there is more than one contractor involved in the project, not whether or not a project is notifiable.
  • Principal Designer/Principal Contractor appointments must be made – in writing – as soon as practicable, and in any event before the construction phase begins. 
  • Where the client fails to appoint Principal Designer/Principal Contractor, he must undertake these roles himself. 
  • Written construction phase plans are required for all construction projects.
  • Removal of exemption for “domestic” clients.

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:

  • notify the project to HSE before any construction work can begin, where construction work is likely to last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously, or the project is likely to exceed 500 person days; 
  • provide pre-construction information to designers and contractors;
  • ensure that before any construction work begins a construction phase plan is drawn up by the Principal Contractor; and  
  • ensure that the Principal Designer prepares a health and safety file for the project, which is revised from time to time and kept available for inspection. 

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.

If you have any queries, or would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Simone Young on 0131 625 9191 or by email.

The matter in this publication is based on our current understanding of the law.  The information provides only an overview of the law in force at the date hereof and has been produced for general information purposes only. Professional advice should always be sought before taking any action in reliance of the information. Accordingly, Davidson Chalmers LLP does not take any responsibility for losses incurred by any person through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this publication.

Written by

Simone Young | Davidson Chalmers Stewart
Simone Young

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