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New CDM regulations guidance published by Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive has published its draft guidance on the new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, set to come into force on 6 April.

The main changes include the replacement of the CDM co-ordinator role with that of the principal designer, meaning responsibility for the pre-construction phase will rest with an existing member of the design team.

The draft guidance regulations also introduce a new requirement to have a principal contractor and a principal designer, where there is more than one contractor on a site, regardless of the size of the job.

Electrical Contractors’ Association head of business services Paul Reeve told Construction News that the new regulations would bring “extra duties” for many types and sizes of contractor.

He said larger contractors would not “notice an awful lot of difference” beyond the new principal designer role, and that “the bulk of [the new regulations] is about what’s happening at the smaller end of business”.

However, he said “very big clients that take on occasional contractors for occasional work” would be affected.

“[Clients] really do need to be very clear that all of this applies to them. A lot of duties will come in as soon as a second contractor steps through the door,” he said.

The new regulations recognise the importance of the client as head of the supply chain and that they are best-placed to set health and safety standards throughout a project.

They also remove the explicit requirement for “competence”, and replace this with the need for workers to have the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.

Where smaller businesses are concerned, CDM 2015 applies to all projects, regardless of their size, and projects no longer have to be “notifiable” to the HSE before contractors need to comply.

The new regulations also introduce legal duties on domestic customers, which the HSE said should fall automatically on the main contractor.

Mr Reeve added: “This has been a tough consultative exercise for the HSE, but they are on track for new regulations in April 2015. Although HSE has worked hard to curtail regulatory burdens on small businesses, it’s clear that many small businesses will pick up extra duties in future.”

The new regulations have yet to receive parliamentary approval, but it is intended that they will come into force on 6 April 2015.

For projects in existence before 6 April, there will be a transitional period of six months to 6 October 2015, by which time all ongoing projects will have to comply with CDM 2015.

The CITB has developed industry guidance for clients, contractors, designers, principal contractors, principal designers and workers to inform each group of the actions needed to comply with the new regulations.

CITB health and safety strategy lead Kevin Fear said the guidance is “specifically targeted to help small businesses understand what they need to do to create a safe workplace for construction workers”.

“The guidance will help ensure that all construction workers have the right skills, knowledge, training and experience in health and safety.  The expected reduction in bureaucracy will allow managers to spend more time managing risk on site, rather than managing paperwork,” he added.

 The UKCG welcomed the new regulations and guidance from the HSE and said its members would be “keen to investigate how any new bureaucracies can be avoided, how the changing of relationships and responsibilities will be worked out, and how the transitional arrangements will work”.

ICE health and safety panel chair Margaret Sackey said: “This package represents the third attempt to ensure that health and safety risk management is well embedded in a project throughout the design and construction process, and it is essential that it is fit for purpose in all regards.

“We will now review the draft package closely and respond accordingly with the aim of ensuring the final regulations and guidance are as effective and workable as possible, reflecting the concerns of the industry.”

HSE’s targeting and enforcement policy, and technical standards, will not change from those in the guidance related to CDM 2007.

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