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  • Simon Toseland
  • 1 April 2014
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Simon Toseland responds to the CDM consultation document

After a 15 month delay, the consultation document of the proposed revisions to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 has finally been issued.

The headline changes, which have been hotly anticipated for some time now, include:

  • Removal of the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP), which is to be replaced with more simplified guidance aimed at particular sectors.
  • Changes to the notification threshold.
  • Removal of exemption for domestic clients from client responsibilities.
  • Replacing the role of the CDM Coordinator (CDM-C) to that of a named ‘Principal Designer’.   

Paragraph 40 of the consultation document states that ‘the CDM-C adds costs with little added value due to fact that the appointment is often made late’. 

In my opinion, this seems very harsh on the many CDM dutyholders that have good application and will most definitely disagree with this. After all, isn’t the client required to appoint a CDM-C at initial design stage?

Furthermore, the designer should be informing the client about his duties and should not be going into detailed design without first obtaining the name of the CDM-C. For me personally, these ‘root cause’ inadequacies are fundamentally where the current regime falls short.

Is an uneducated client any more likely to appoint a Principal Designer? The removal of the ACoP with sector specific guidance may go some way to addressing these issues, but I am not convinced that the proposed new ‘Principal Designer’ is a quick fix in solving this ‘coordination crisis’. 

Another interesting proposal that caught my eye is that domestic clients will no longer be exempt from client duties. However, coordination duties are expected to fall to the contractor rather than the ‘client’.

The narrative goes on to say that for a majority of projects there will be no change as to how these projects will be currently managed (paragraph 58). That may sound fine in principle, but you just know that it will be the homeowners that will end up footing the bill for any time that a contractor needs to spend on his ‘coordination’ duties. I’m sure that the Daily Mail will have a field day, especially with a general election proposed for May – just a month before the Regulations are expected to come into force!

I am pleased to see that the HSE is serious about tackling the use of generic health and safety questionnaires, with the removal of Appendix 4. Completing these is both time consuming and costly, particularly for the small / medium sized enterprises (SMES), and has little value if they are already a member of a Safety Scheme in Procurement (SSiP) accreditation.

Recognition of ‘PAS91’, the model template questionnaire for construction related procurement, will undoubtedly raise its profile, but requires a far more detailed response, so let’s hope that it is used proportionately.

The CDM consultation period ends on 6 June 2014, and can be accessed here.

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