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Important Facts about the Proposed CDM Regulations
Posted by David Cant on April 25, 2014

There’s an emerging Role of the Principal Designer

Before we get down to the ongoing CDM consultation, it is important we retrace the steps the CDM regulations have taken to be what they are today.

A Brief History about the CDM Regulations

Danger construction site signThe building and construction industry has for along time experienced high levels of ill-health, major and life-changing injuries, and fatalities. It was therefore agreed upon that there was a huge need to reduce risk by having better management, co-operation, and co-ordination between all involved parties.

This therefore led to the drafting of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDM94). As time went by, concerns were raised within the Health and Safety Executive and the construction industry that the CDM94 was not living up to the expectations that were set. Later in 2007, the construction industry would see the introduction of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007).

The CDM 2007 came into effect in April 2007 and it was a revised piece of legislation that merged the Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 and the CDM94. The CDM 2007 were introduced to safeguard the lives, safety, and health of all those involved in building and construction, right from the beginning of the project all the way to the completion and beyond. The CDM 2007 regulations have been useful but it seems the regulations are set to see yet another facelift.

Are we about to see new CDM Regulations?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently announced a 10 week consultation with the aim of discussing the regulations that have been proposed to replace the CDM 2007. The HSE says that the new proposed regulations are tailored to address even smaller construction sites where it is reported that almost two thirds of fatalities now occur. The consultation that started on 31st March ends on 6th June 2014. The new regulations are to come into force in April of 2015. There are a number of proposed changes in the proposal document but some of the main changes include:

  • Making the regulations easier to read and understand by using a simplified structure with 35 regulations and 3 schedules. This will make the document to be 25% smaller than the CDM 2007
  • Replacement of the ACOP with targeted guidance
  • Replacing the role of the CDM co-ordinator with that of the principal designer role within the project team
  • Removal of domestic client exemption and the duties to be transferred to the designer/contractor
  • Removal of explicit competence requirements
  • Introduction of a duty on instruction, information, supervision, and training. This should help replace the duty to assess competence
  • Withdrawal of the Approved Code of Practice in favour of practical guidance on compliance

Looking at some of the proposed changes it is clear that the HSE places a lot of importance on prevention of health and safety risks. This is clearly seen in the introduction of the principal designer role to replace the role of the CDM co-ordinator. It is also clear that one of the main aims of the proposed regulations is to do away with bureaucracy. To learn more on the proposed changes, please visit the HSE.

Thoughts from the HSE Insiders

Heather Bryant, a construction chief inspector with the HSE said that despite the recent improvements in the construction industry, construction still remains dangerous and the CDM regulations are always there to guide and to help improve safety. He also added that the proposed changes are aimed at ensuring the laws are simpler to understand, especially for small businesses. Bryant was also quick to add that it is important for all involved in the construction industry to participate in the ongoing consultation as it will help in coming up with comprehensive regulations that will significantly improve health and safety in the workplace.

What are your thoughts on the Proposed CDM Regulations?

Many businesses have lost their licenses and large amounts of money (on fines) for the simple reason – they broke, ignored or failed to understand the CDM rules. We’d love to hear your opinions on the proposed regulations. Also, if you are having problems understanding the proposed changes, send us your query or comment below and we will try to help the best way we can.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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