Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015


Author: Heidi Brennan

The CDM Regulations are the principal regulations for managing health, safety & welfare of construction projects and apply to everyone involved in construction and development projects. The new 2015 regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2015.

The proposed new regulations and supporting guidance have been placed before parliament by the Health & Safety Executive and will replace the 2007 regulations. Due to the significant impact CDM 2015 will have on construction projects, it is important to consider the proposed changes as soon as possible.

The changes will not only have an impact on consultant appointments and building contracts but also the network of other agreements that may sit behind the construction documentation. These include agreements for lease, development agreements and funding agreements and parties need to consider CDM 2015 now to ensure that the obligations in these agreements are deliverable.

The key changes are as follows:

  • Scope - the scope of CDM 2015 will be extended to apply to almost all construction, engineering and development projects. This will include projects carried out by domestic clients and small projects which were previously excluded, or which were not notifiable, under CDM 2007
  • CDM co-ordinator - this role is being abolished and replaced with a new principal designer role. The principal designer will be responsible for co-ordinating, planning and monitoring the pre-construction phase and this continues into the construction phase where design is being carried out. Where appointed, the principal designer is also responsible for preparing the health and safety file
  • Client - the client is to be made more accountable for the actions of all duty holders and will no longer be able to delegate certain tasks, such as notifying the HSE if a project is notifiable. Also failure to appoint a principal contractor or a principal designer, or failure of the appointed party to perform their duties, may result in the performance of those duties falling back onto the client
  • Competence - CDM 2015 seek to simplify how parties assess competence when making appointments by focusing on the appropriate skills, knowledge, training and experience a person or organisation should have to enable them to deliver a healthy and safe project
  • Notification - the threshold for when a project should be notified to the HSE will change and notification is no longer the trigger for the appointment of a principal contractor or principal designer
  • Appointment of a principal designer and principal contractor - both duty holders must be appointed before the construction phase begins where there is more than one contractor on site - which will almost always be the case as the definition of 'contractor' includes sub-contractors and potentially consultants
  • Guidance - the approved code of practice is to be replaced with a targeted suite of guidance.The HSE is likely to have less of an advisory role under the new regulations and become more of an enforcement body. This may lead to an increase in the number of fines that are issued for breaches of the regulations.

When CDM 2015 come into force on 6 April 2015 there will be a transitional period of six months from 6 April 2015 to 6 October 2015 to bring project arrangements in line with the new regulations.

CDM 2007 will still apply to projects that are to be completed before 6 April 2015 and to projects that are started before 6 April 2015 (including the construction phase) and completed before 6 October 2015. However, in the latter circumstances, from 6 April 2015 transitional provisions of CDM 2015 may also apply.

We will provide further guidance over the coming months focusing on the transitional provisions, and highlight points regarding the interpretation of CDM 2015 in relation to specific project scenarios.

At this stage, if you are a client under the regulations, a key question is to consider who is going to carry out the new principal designer role. This may be the architect, structural engineer, your existing CDM co-ordinator, or someone new - but it is essential that the right consultant is appointed because if these duties are not carried out correctly, they may fall back onto the client.

Please contact a member of our team if you are interested in receiving a training session on the proposed changes, would like us to carry out a review of your construction documentation, or wish to receive more general advice on how to formulate a strategy for taking into account the new regulations.