Six-month grace period for CDM 2015 revealed

The HSE told participants at an open meeting of the Construction Industry Advisory Committee on 19 November that there would be a six-month “grace period” between April and October 2015.

This would mean that any project underway on the implementation date of 6 April would have six months to achieve compliance with the new regulations, including the critical appointment of a Principal Designer.

Chris Chapman, head of CDM at safety consultancy the Building Safety Group, advised Construction Manager that the new rule would prevent unnecessary re-work in projects that only had a few months to run, but that clients for all other projects would have to get to grips with the substantially-changed regulations.

Under the new regime, there will be no longer be an official role of CDM Coordinator. Instead, their duties will fall to the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor.

“If a CDMC is appointed now on a project that’s going on site in May for an 18-month build, they should be aware that the regulations are about to change and so should advise the client to appoint a Principal Designer, and to start putting the management systems in place.”  - Chris Chapman, Building Safety Group

Chapman told CM: “If a project has started when the regulations change, you will have six months to appoint a Principal Designer. The main thrust of their role is in pre-construction coordination, but they also have a duty to liaise with the Principal Contractor and make sure the Construction Phase plan is implemented and updated, and that the Principal Contractor is complying with the rules on site.

“If a CDMC is appointed now on a project that’s going on site in May for an 18-month build, they should be aware that the regulations are about to change and so should advise the client to appoint a Principal Designer, and to start putting the management systems in place.”

However, one likely stumbling block is that some architects and design firms will not have the health and safety or buildability experience to take on the Principal Designer role.

Chapman said: “The role could be outsourced to someone else, but then that person is taking on design responsibility to a greater extent than a CDMC is. If they weren’t involved in the drawings [as a designer], then they would still have to be familiar with them and ensure they are up to date.

“An architect could keep a separate Principal Designer in the loop from Day 1, or they might need to have an in-house health and safety team [to allow them to take on the PD role]. Or, we [at Building Safety Group] can act as Principal Design consultants, and help to ensure the designers or clients remain compliant, as long as they take our advice. But we can't be Principal Designers because we don’t hold design qualifications.”

Asked what would happen in that situation in the event of an accident, Chapman said that it would be the Principal Designer rather than the PD Consultant that would be prosecuted, but that the PD might then counter claim for any losses against the PD consultant’s professional indemnity insurance, on the grounds that they had taken advice from a competent person.

Chapman said that the new regime was causing confusion among BSG’s clients and contacts, and that more publicity on the implications was needed. 

At the open meeting of the Construction Industry Advisory Committee on 19 November, it was also revealed that the new, shortened Approved Code of Practice for CDM 2015 would not be ready for publication until October 2015.

But five “targeted guidance” documents, aimed at Designers, Principal Designers, Clients, Contractors and Principal Contractors, would be published on 6 April 2015.

Source: Construction Manager

To read our article on what CDM 2015 could mean to your business click here.

Post date: 05 Dec 2014

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