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The implications of the new CDM Regulations 2015 for Commercial Clients, Designers and Contractors

Following the publication of draft guidance ahead of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, we consider how the Regulations may affect Commercial Clients (organisations for whom a construction project is carried out in connection with a business) and what preparations need to be made.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM Regulations) apply to all building and construction work, including new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance work.

The reach of the CDM Regulations is wide and, amongst those other duty holders with prescribed responsibilities, extends to commercial clients; organisations for whom a construction project is carried out in connection with a business.

Following last year’s consultation on the proposed reform of the CDM Regulations 2007, one thing was clear; the Regulations were going to change.

In January 2015 however, we received the first indication of how exactly this was to take place when the HSE published its draft guidance on the legal requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Subject to parliamentary approval, it is proposed that the CDM Regulations 2015 will come into force on 6 April 2015. The draft CDM Regulations are based closely on those proposed during last year’s consultation and contain, amongst other revisions, the following key changes:

  • The requirement that an existing member of the design team will take responsibility for co-ordination of the pre-construction phase, replacing the CDM co-ordinator with the principal designer.
  • Assessment of competence will be split into its component parts of skills, knowledge, training, experience and organisational capability. These amendments are designed to assist the industry in demonstrating that construction project teams have the right attributes to deliver a healthy and safe project.
  • Construction phase co-ordination duties to remain with the Principal Contractor, although the proposals do not make any provision for an independent role, as currently provided by the CDM Coordinator, to protect the client.

From the perspective of Commercial Clients there are, in addition to the above, a number of important alterations to the Regulations that place more emphasis on the client, as head of the supply chain, to set standards throughout a project.

With little over three months before the proposed CDM Regulations come into force it is important that all those within the industry, including Commercial Clients, become familiar with these changes.

To assist the process the HSE have produced draft guidance documents for each of the five dutyholders under the CDM Regulations and one for workers. These set out, in practical terms, what actions are required of each dutyholder so as to deliver a safe and healthy construction project.

This guidance, along with the detail of the proposed CDM Regulations 2015, should be carefully considered by all likely to be effected in advance of their implementation later this year.

Should you require any further guidance on how those amendments are likely to affect you and your organisation please do not hesitate to contact Nicholas Barker or Tristan Meears-White.

Please also keep an eye out for further updates on the progress of the CDM Regulations through Parliament and further comment upon those changes and their implications for the industry.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Steffan Groch

Partner and Head of Regulatory - Head of Sectors

I head up DWF's national Regulatory team as well as leading the firm’s ‘go to market’ sector expertise. I am also Chair of the UK Health and Safety Lawyers Association.