CDM stands for the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations - a set of health and safety regulations that apply to every construction project in Great Britain. The purpose of the CDM regulations is to improve health and safety in construction work, both during the project, and for any future work, use and maintenance of the building or structure. Consequently the CDM regulations place several key duties on virtually everyone involved in construction work, particularly on key members of the project team such as the client, designers and contractors.
The client ensures that the construction project is set up so that it is carried
out from start to finish in a way that adequately controls the risks to the health
and safety of those who may be affected. However as a domestic client you are not required to carry out the duties placed on commercial clients, these will transfer to the contractor.
The project client must ensure:
The role of principal contractor is not a new one, but their responsibilities have changed slightly from the 2007 regulations. Under the 2015 CDM Regulations a contractor must possess the skills, knowledge, and experience, and (if an organisation) the organisational capability necessary to carry out their role effectively given the scale and complexity of the project and the nature of the health and safety risks involved.
The role of principal contractor involves:
Designer duties remain similar to those in CDM 2007 although they are required to reduce or control risks through the design process and provide risk information with design drawings, refer risks that cannot be reduced or controlled through design to the PD and set a clear hierarchy for design risk management. Many duties will take place before work starts on site like estimating, planning and designing. However, the principal designer duties don't stop when construction work starts, their responsibilities carry on through to project completion.
The role of principal designer involves:
However, on projects with only one contractor, there are a few changes to the CDM duties that apply to the project. For a project to fall under the single contractor definition it will only involve one contractor, from start to finish. If the contractor appointed to do the work uses subcontractors, or the client brings in additional contractors at any stage, then the project is not a single contractor project.
Some roles have additional duties, and some have reduced duties. Some roles, like the principal designer and principal contractor, are removed altogether, with many of their duties passed to other members of the project team.
The client no longer needs to appoint a principal contractor. As there is only one contractor, that contractor is automatically in control. There is also no legal requirement to appoint a principal designer on projects with only one contractor. Where a principal designer isn’t appointed the client has to provide the pre-construction information without the help and support of a principal designer. In practice, as it is a contractors duty to ensure that the client is aware of their own CDM duties, and the contractor will need this information to plan the work safely, this will often require the contractor to provide extra assistance to the client during the pre-construction phase.
As there is no principal contractor to take charge of the construction phase, this responsibility falls to the single contractor involved in the project. In theory, the coordination and cooperation on site should be more straightforward with only one contractor, working with their own team. Single contractor duties include the provision of site inductions, securing the site, providing welfare facilities, estimating timescales and planning stages of work.
Designers’ duties don't change too much on projects with only one contractor but it can mean more work when it comes to completing their CDM responsibilities e.g designers need to make sure the client is aware of client duties. Where there is no principal designer on single contractor projects, designers need to ensure arrangements are in place to manage communication and sharing of information between themselves and the client and contractor.
In summary the requirements of the CDM don't just fall on one person to take care of. Each of the duty holders needs to work together to make sure that the project can be carried out without risk to health and safety. This means planning the work and completing the work safely on site. It also means making sure that future use, cleaning and maintenance can be carried out safely.