CDM Regulations 2015: Goodbye CDM Co-ordinators - Hello Principal Designers - DAC Beachcroft

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CDM Regulations 2015: Goodbye CDM Co-ordinators - Hello Principal Designers

Published 15 March 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/51) (CDM 2015) come into force on 6 April 2015. CDM 2015 replaces the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and significantly changes the old regime.

What Are The Changes?

The CDM Regulations 2015 introduce important changes including:

  • Abolishing the role of CDM Co-ordinator;
  • For projects where there is or it is reasonably foreseeable that there will be more than one "contractor" working on a project at any time, a "principal designer" must be appointed;
  • Increasing health and safety responsibility for clients;
  • Applying the rules to domestic clients as well as commercial clients;
  • Simplifying how parties assess competence, including organisational competence.

Replacement of the CDM Co-ordinator Role

The CDM Co-ordinator role is to be replaced by a new role of 'Principal Designer' which will include an element of influence over design. It is intended that the Principal Designer sits within the project team rather than being outsourced to an external consultant. Don't be surprised if a Principal Designer seeks higher fees than you are used to paying a CDM Co-ordinator, because of the changed role and also concern about how the HSE will interpret the role.

Increased Health and Safety Responsibilities for Clients

The removal of the role of the CDM Co-ordinator will have an impact on the client who is losing his key advisor. Clients will be responsible for:

  • Producing a client brief outlining their requirements and expectations;
  • Notifying the HSE of the project particulars and confirming that they are aware of their duties (or appoint someone else to do so). An important change to note is that more projects will need to be notified to the HSE (from lasting longer than (a) 30 days or (b) more than 500 personal days of labour to lasting longer than (a) 30 days or (b) more than 20 workers simultaneously);
  • Appointing the Principal Designer and principal contractor;
  • Ensuring duty holders comply with their duties;
  • Providing the pre-construction information and ensuring it is passed to those who might need it;
  • Ensuring that the minimum health and safety standards are maintained on site, and that health and safety arrangements on site are working successfully throughout the construction period;
  • Ensuring that the construction phase plan is drawn up by the principal contractor and suitable welfare provisions are provided before commencement of construction;
  • Making sure that there are suitable arrangements to ensure that the project is properly managed;
  • Ensuring that a health and safety file is provided on completion of the project.

Transitional Arrangements

The following transitional arrangements have been put in place to run for six months from 6 April 2015 to 6 October 2015:

  • On projects commenced before 6 April 2015, where the construction phase has not yet started and the client has not yet appointed a CDM-co-ordinator, the client must appoint a Principal Designer as soon as it is practicable;
  • If the CDM Co-ordinator has already been appointed, a Principal Designer must be appointed to replace the CDM Co-ordinator by 6 October 2015, unless the project comes to an end before that date;
  • In the period it takes to appoint the Principal Designer, the appointed CDM Co-ordinator should comply with the duties contained in Schedule 4 to the new CDM 2015 Regulations.

Immediate considerations

Where you have any design, construction or building works starting before 6 April 2015 you should consider the following:

  • For any new project where a CDM Co-ordinator is appointed you should retain that person on terms where you can terminate the appointment when the law changes;
  • Where the project is an on-going project you should review the CDM Co-ordinator's appointment to see how easy it will be to terminate. (Note the HSE has proposed that the CDM Co-ordinator's role will continue until the earlier of 6 months from the coming into force of the CDM Regulations 2015 or the end of the project whichever is earlier);
  • Consider who will be your Principal Designer. Will they be able to discharge the pre-construction co-ordination role themselves or will they need to appoint a third party? Further, can they carry out the role without a conflict of interest? If no Principal;
  • Designer is appointed, the client will need to undertake this role;
  • Under the new simplified assessment of competency, the client will need to show that individuals and organisations are capable of delivering work safely. You should consider now whether your team meet these competencies.

The JCT have just issued Amendment 1, which should be incorporated when using their standard 2011 form of building contracts (available at JCT Amendment 1: CDM Regulations).

For further information, we attach the helpful guidance produced by the Construction Industry Training Board called Industry Guidance for Clients. Final guidance from HSE is expected to be made available on 6 April 2015.

Key Contacts

Ben Thornycroft

Ben Thornycroft


+44 (0)117 918 2167

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