The role of CDM co-ordinator is to provide the client with a key project advisor in respect of construction health and safety risk management matters. They assist and advise the client on the appointment of competent designers and contractors and the adequacy of management arrangements. They ensure proper co-ordination of the health and safety aspects of the design process. They facilitate good communication and cooperation between project team members and co-ordinate the preparation of the health and safety file.
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The early appointment of the CDM co-ordinator is crucial for effective planning and establishing management arrangements from the start. The regulations require the appointment to take place as soon as is practicable after initial design work or other preparation for construction work has begun. This will allow the client to appraise their project needs and objectives, including the business case and any possible constraints on development to enable them to decide whether or not to proceed with the project before appointing the CDM co-ordinator.
The CDM co-ordinator needs to be in a position to be able to co-ordinate the design work and advise on the suitability of the designs, and therefore they should be appointed before significant detailed design work begins. Significant detailed design work includes preparation of the initial concept design and implementation of any strategic brief. As a scheme moves into the detailed design stage, it becomes more difficult to make fundamental changes that eliminate hazards and reduce risks associated with early design decisions.
Proper consideration of the health and safety implications of the design for those who build and maintain the structure will make a significant contribution to reducing its whole life cost, and will make delivery to time, cost and quality more likely.
An independent CDM Coordinator Role is more effective.
It is crucial that the CDM co-ordinator has sufficient independence to carry out the tasks effectively. Ideally the CDM Co-ordinator should not be a division of the architect, the structural engineer, the mechanical engineer, the electrical engineer or the quantity surveyor.
What are the CDM Co-ordinator’s duties under the CDM Regulations?
CDM Co-ordinators must:
- Give suitable and sufficient advice and assistance to clients in order to help them to comply with their duties, in particular the duty to appoint competent designers and contractors; and the duty to ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for managing the project;
- notify HSE about the project;
- co-ordinate design work, planning and other preparation for construction where relevant to health and safety;
- identify and collect the pre-construction information and advise the client if surveys need to be commissioned to fill significant gaps;
- promptly provide in a convenient form to those involved with the design of the structure; and to every contractor (including the principal contractor) who may be or has been appointed by the client, such parts of the pre-construction information which are relevant to each;
- manage the flow of health and safety information between clients, designers and contractors;
- advise the client on the suitability of the initial construction phase plan and the arrangements made to ensure that welfare facilities are on site from the start;
- co-ordinate the production or updating of a relevant, user friendly, health and safety file suitable for future use at the end of the construction phase.
Clients are responsible for appointing competent and adequately resourced designers and contractors (including Principal Contractors). Most clients, particularly those whose involvement with construction work is limited or non-existent, will not have the expertise necessary to assess the competency and resources of designers and contractors. A competent CDM co-ordinator will have this knowledge and expertise, and they should assist clients with these assessments.
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