The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 or CDM for short, sets out the legal requirements for managing construction sites in the UK. As the HSE says on their website, whatever your role in construction, CDM aims to improve health and safety in the industry by helping you to:

  • sensibly plan the work so the risks involved are managed from start to finish
  • have the right people for the right job at the right time
  • cooperate and coordinate your work with others
  • have the right information about the risks and how they are being managed
  • communicate this information effectively to those who need to know
  • consult and engage with workers about the risks and how they are being managed

To make sure you comply with the regulations, we’re looking at 5 top tips to help you with managing your project.

1. Client Appointment of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor

Clients can be Commercial or Domestic. Commercial Clients have responsibilities under CDM to make suitable arrangements for managing a project to include making sure that the construction work can be carried out  so far as is reasonably practicable, without risks to the health or safety of any person affected by the project. They also have duties to ensure welfare facilities are in place during the construction phase and provide pre-construction information such as service drawings and surveys (where available) are passed on to the designers and contractors.

One of the most important Client duties for projects involving more than 1 contractor, is to appoint “In Writing” a Principal Designer (PD) and Principal Contractor (PC). It is recommended that the Client makes an effort to ensure that the appointed PD & PC have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to fulfil the role that they are appointed to undertake, in a manner that secures the health and safety of any persons affected by the project. This can be done by asking for membership certificates, SSIP certificates (CHAS etc) and details of previous similar work with references.

The appointed PD & PC must also be satisfied that they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to fulfil the project appointed.

You have got to ask yourself, would you appoint a business with 2 employees that has only built single floor domestic extensions in the past to build you a £5,000,000 new headquarters?

Domestic Client duties are passed on to the Contractor appointed, therefore it is the duty of the contractor to ensure that they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to fulfil the project appointed.

2. Designers follow the “General Principles of Prevention”

Designers can be architects, consulting engineers, interior designers, temporary work engineers, surveyors, technicians, specifiers, principal contractors & specialist contractors.

You could also be carrying out design even if you would normally not identify yourself as a designer. An example would be if you are a client or contractor specifying a particular roof system, deciding what size joists to use or selecting a type of window.

The CDM Regulations require that any designer appointed to a project follow the “General Principles of Prevention”. Applying the General Principles of Prevention is also a requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 an provides a framework to identify and implement practical and procedural measures to protect the safety and health of workers, and those who may be adversely affected by work activities. The 9 areas where you could make a difference with designs are:

  • Avoiding risks;
  • Evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided;
  • Combating the risks at source;
  • Adapting the work to the individual, especially as regards the design of workplaces, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work-rate and to reducing their effect on health;
  • Adapting to technical progress;
  • Replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous;
  • Developing a coherent overall prevention policy which covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment;
  • Giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures; and
  • Giving appropriate instructions to employees.

We have developed a Pre-Design Information Pack to aid designers in applying the General Principles of Prevention and includes best practice examples and RAG lists as practical aids for Designers on what to eliminate, avoid and encourage.

3. Create a Construction Phase Plan

Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) a construction phase plan is required for EVERY construction project, no matter if it’s for a Commercial or Domestic Client, or a £50 job to a £50m project.

If you are working for a domestic client, you will be in control of the project if you are the only contractor or the principal contractor. You will be responsible for

a) preparing a plan;
b) organising the work; and
c) working together with others to ensure health and safety.

You could be a builder, plumber or other tradesman, doing small-scale routine work such as:

  • Installing a kitchen or bathroom;
  • Structural alterations, e.g. chimney breast removal;
  • Roofing work, including dormer windows;
  • Extension or loft conversion.

The plan does not need to be complicated for smaller projects.

The construction phase plan (CPP) details the site specific arrangements for managing the health and safety risks associated with the construction phase of the project, and is there to communicate the arrangements to those involved in the construction phase. The CPP outlines the health & safety arrangements and site rules taking into account the existing site risks, and risks to neighbouring properties, and, where applicable, must include specific measures concerning any work involving the particular risks listed in Schedule 3 of the regulations.

Our Construction Phase Plan will create you a bespoke document for your project taking into account the significant risks you have identified or identified in the Pre-Construction Information (PCI) received. Just fill in the details online and a bespoke plan will be created from the information.

4. Carry Out Site Specific Inductions

Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) the appointed Single Contractor or Principal Contractor has a duty to ensure that a suitable site induction is provided for construction workers and visitors, and typically includes the site rules along with the significant health and safety risks for the project.

Site induction is the process of ensuring workers on construction sites and visitors are fully informed about the organisation and operation of the site and of their own responsibilities to follow the rules and procedures.

The site induction can be in a variety of formats and length, but should be proportionate to the work carried out by the individuals.

The site induction is of paramount importance and should not be just a box ticking exercise. The person carrying out the induction must be familiar with the site, the rules and the significant risks associated with the site.

A record of the site induction should be kept with ideally a declaration to ensure the induction attendees have fully understood the details in the induction.

We have templates available on our website for a site specific induction formats.

5. The Health & Safety File (projects with more than 1 contractor)

Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and starting at the Pre-Construction Phase, the appointed Principal Designer must prepare a health and safety file appropriate to the characteristics of the project which must contain information relating to the project which is likely to be needed during any subsequent, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition to ensure the health and safety of the persons or organisations carrying out these activities.

The principal designer must ensure that the health and safety file is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised from time to time to take account of the work and any changes that have occurred.

Of great importance is that during the project, the principal contractor MUST provide the principal designer with any information in the principal contractor’s possession relevant to the health and safety file, for inclusion in the health and safety file. This can include the following:

  • A brief description of the work carried out;
  • Any hazards that have not been eliminated through the design and construction processes, and how they have been addressed (e.g. surveys or other information concerning asbestos or contaminated land);
  • Key structural principles (e.g. bracing, sources of substantial stored energy – including pre or post-tensioned members) and safe working loads for floors and roofs;
  • Hazardous materials used (e.g, lead paints and special coatings);
  • Information regarding the removal or dismantling of installed plant and equipment (e.g. any special arrangements for lifting such equipment);
  • Health and safety information about equipment provided for cleaning or maintaining the structure;
  • The nature, location and markings of significant services, including underground cables; gas supply equipment; fire-fighting services, etc;
  • Information and as-built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment (e.g. the means of safe access to and from service voids and fire doors).

The Health & Safety File will be handed over to the building owner at the completion of the project and it will be up to them to manage and update it accordingly.

We hope these top tips help you to improve your CDM Compliance. If you need any further information about us or our products, please do not hesitate to contact us.