The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), define legal duties for the safe operation of construction sites in the UK. These regulations apply to the whole of the construction project, from its inception to the final result. Duties are placed on clients, designers and contractors. The CDM regulations help to improve health and safety in the industry, ensure that the correct personnel are on site to manage risk and that focus is put on effective planning to manage those risks. Construction is one of the UK’s biggest industries and most dangerous. According to HSE, between 2010 and 2011, the number of workers killed from construction was 50, which was an increase from the year before. Worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at least 60,000 people are killed every year on construction sites. This worldwide death toll is around the same number as the amount of soldiers and civilians killed through state based armed conflict each year. People may also suffer from ill health and serious injuries as a result of falls, being crushed, inhalation, noise pollution and being electrocuted.
The HSE is currently planning to redraft the CDM 2007 for re-issue in 2014 as there are certain parts of the current legislation that could be improved (according to report below) to make the construction industry less of a hazard. The HSE carried out an evaluation of the current CDM 2007 in 2010. The aim of the evaluation was to avoid a reduction in standards and to retain those aspects that added value or enhance them.
The outcomes from the report included the findings that some small project owners assumed that CDM did not apply to them. Also, that some clients ‘take on’ coordinator duties by not appointing a coordinator at the appropriate time. All those on a construction project that have legal duties are known as ‘duty holders’. Duty holders need to be appointed early in order to gain advice from coordinators and contractors. Sometimes they are not appointed early enough and this can lead to problems. Other findings included some organizations overstepping their role and providing ‘design’ duties even though they weren’t qualified to do so. Where there are projects with multiple contractors, there were reports of confusion over who was the principal contractor. Also, one of the key concerns with CDM 1994 was to reduce the amount of paperwork – this hasn’t happened with CDM 2007. Some designers were reported to be focused on construction risk but not on ‘whole life’ issues, such as operation, maintenance and demolition. Other findings from the report was that some designers did not have a sufficient understanding of the construction processes. These are some of the issues produced from the report.
Looking to 2014, it is believed that some of the proposed changes the HSE is considering are:
- Duties for domestic premises
- Applying the CDM requirements to all projects where there is more than one contractor
- Replacing the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) with a series of guidance notes
- Replacing the design phase duties of the current CDM Coordinator with a new “Project Preparation Manager”
CDM – A look at safe roof design best practice