The Construction (Design and Management) – or CDM – Regulations are designed to make it easier for those involved in construction projects to manage health, safety and welfare. In what has been reported as the biggest change to construction health and safety legislation in eight years, a new version of the CDM Regulations has been drafted and affects domestic projects and SMEs for the first time.
Previously, the CDM Regulations created health and safety obligations for notifiable construction projects lasting more than 30 days or involving 500 days of manpower on site. Domestic clients – people having work done to their own property or self-builders – were always exempt from these obligations, whatever the size of the project. However, the 2015 regulations apply to domestic clients for the first time, covering all building projects regardless of the size, duration or nature of the work.
This is particularly significant as many contractors and installers won’t have had to comply with the legal requirements in the past but now all new build, demolition, refurbishment, extension and repair and maintenance work is included. This means that even a small roof repair project now needs to comply with the CDM Regulations 2015.
These changes are very important for all roofing contractors to be aware of but, from a legal point of view, those working on smaller self-build, repair or refurbishment projects will be particularly affected.
A more joined up approach
The amendments to the CDM Regulations are a direct response to the EU’s Directive 92/57/EEC, established in the early 1990s, which sought to place a greater emphasis on safety co-ordination throughout all the relevant parties in a construction projects and create a more ?joined-up approach’.
In the past, a CDM co-ordinator had to be appointed on applicable projects to advise the client on health and safety from both a design and construction point of view. Under the CDM Regulations 2015, these duties are now shared out among a principal designer, principal contractor, all contractors on site and the client.
The principal designer (i.e. the architect for larger projects) has to ensure that their design accommodates factors that minimise health and safety issues in construction and subsequent use. The principal contractor (usually the main contractor or house-builder) must then prepare a safety plan and is under a specific duty to plan and manage the construction work, managing health and safety issues, co-ordinating contractors and providing site inductions. All sub-contractors working on site are required to plan and manage their work so as to avoid risks, to comply with directions given by the principal contractor and employ competent, trained workers.
This is probably not dissimilar to what most contractors and installers working on site already have to do from a health and safety point of view, but it does mean they need to review their processes and make sure they have the necessary documentation in place.
The biggest impact is for contractors working on smaller projects, such as roof refurbishments, where they are the only contractor on site. In these cases, they have to fulfil the role of principal designer and principal contractor, meaning they need to consider health and safety in the design and also produce a safety plan for the site. The new regulations state this plan must be developed as soon as practical before setting up the site and starting work.
Facilities & site induc