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Last edited 11 Jan 2022
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/51/contents/made) are intended to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development so that the risk of harm to those who have to build, use and maintain structures is reduced.
They were introduced in 1994 following publication of European Directive 92/57/EEC on minimum safety and health standards for temporary or mobile construction sites. The CDM Regulations were revised in 2007, and the latest revision came into force on 6 April 2015.
The latest revision resulted from:
- The perception that the regulations had been over-interpreted.
- A belief that the coordination function in the pre-construction phase was often a bureaucratic add-on that was not always embedded in the project, resulting in additional costs with little additional value.
- The persistence of unacceptable standards, particularly on smaller sites.
The regulations therefore made the following changes:
- Structural simplification of the regulations to make them easier to understand.
- The replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) with more targeted guidance.
- Replacement of the role of CDM coordinator with a new role of ‘principal designer’.
- Splitting competence assessment into its component parts of skills, knowledge, training and experience, and, if it relates to an organisation, organisational capability.
- Removing the exemption for domestic clients, but passing their CDM duties to the contractor.
- Changing the threshold for appointment of coordinators (principal contractors and principal designers), to require coordinators where there is more than one contractor. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggest that this will capture close to an additional 1 million projects a year, but that the requirements will be proportionate and little more work will be necessary. Some concern has been expressed about what constitutes more than one contractor, and how it is possible to know how many contractors may be needed.
These changes separate the threshold for coordination from that of notifying the HSE about the works. The HSE must be notified where the construction work is likely to last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point, or exceed 500 person days.
In terms of the organisation of projects, the most significant of these changes is the replacement of the role of CDM coordinator with a new role of ‘principal designer’ (PD). The reason for the change is to give responsibility for CDM during the design phase to an individual that has the ability to influence the design. The role of principal designer is analogous to that of the principal contractor during the construction phase and includes:
- Planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase.
- Ensuring risks are eliminated or controlled through design work.
- Passing information on to the principal contractor.
- Ensuring cooperation and coordination.
- Ensuring designers comply with their duties.
- Assisting the client in preparing pre-construction information.
- Preparing the health and safety file.
This change required the amendment of appointment documents and contracts.
Other duty holders under the regulations are:
- Clients. (see CDM 2015 client duties)
- Designers. (see CDM 2015 designer duties)
- Principal contractors. (see CDM 2015 principal contractor duties)
- Contractors. (see CDM 2015 contractor duties)
- Workers. (see CDM 2015 worker duties)
A survey looking into the impact of CDM 2015 published by Construction Manager and Health and Safety at Work in May 2017 suggested that the principles of CDM 2015 were struggling to take root and that:
- A workable system had been made less workable.
- Fees and costs had increased without any increase in safety.
- The goal of bringing smaller projects and domestic clients into scope had proved ineffectual.
Ref Construction Manager 18 May 2017.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings
- 2007 CDM regulations.
- Construction fire safety responsibility and competence matrix.
- Construction phase plan.
- CDM 2015 draft guidance.
- CDM 2015 client duties.
- CDM 2015 contractor duties.
- CDM 2015 designer duties.
- CDM 2015 legal considerations.
- CDM 2015 principal contractor duties.
- CDM 2015 principal designer duties.
- CDM 2015 worker duties.
- CDM 20-20 vision - changing the culture.
- CDM co-ordinator.
- CDM for self-builders and domestic clients.
- CDM Principles of prevention.
- Deleterious materials.
- Design risk management (DRM)
- Domestic client.
- Fall prevention systems.
- Hazardous substances.
- Health and safety file.
- Health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences definitive guideline.
- Health and safety policy.
- HSG 168 Fire safety in construction.
- Joined-up thinking is key to building safely.
- Non-freezing cold injury NFCI.
- Occupational health.
- Pre-construction information.
- Safety briefing.
- Safety management.
- Safety systems for working at heights.
- Self build insurance.
- Site preparation.
- Toolbox talk.
- What approvals are needed before construction begins.
- What now for CDM 2015?
 External references
- Construction Manager: Muddied waters, CDM 2015 divides the industry. 1 May 2014.
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