What is CDM?

ADM (construction Design and Management) Regulations are a set of rules implemented by the United Kingdom concerning the Health and Safety of operations with regards to construction. The current regulations (CDM 2015) were established on April 6, 2015 superseding the prior regulations in force since 2007 (CDM 2007). The regulations relate mostly to certain duties a client is required to perform in compliance with HSE(health and safety executive) regulations, and certain roles such as a "principal designer" and "principal contractors."

CDM 2015 vs. CDM 2007

It is important that all contractors, clients, and various construction personnel be familiar with the key changes between the 2007 regulations and the 2015 update. The changes are of enough importance, that any breach, accidental or not, could result in very serious consequences.

1. Under the 2007 regulations, domestic construction projects were not required be reported to hse, and were exempt from certain duties, however, under the 2015 standards no project can consider itself exempt from certain rules. In fact, any project scheduled to last longer than thirty days and employing twenty or more individuals at the same time is required to report to the hse.

2. What was once the CDM Coordinator under the duty holders section has now become the "Principal Designer."

3. A health and safety file was only required for "notifiable" projects under the 2007 law, and compiled by the CDM Coordinator. Now that all construction projects with more than one contractor require said file and it is compiled by the Principal Designer.

4. On a project with more than one Contractor, a Principal Contractor must be appointed by the client.

5. All projects must now create a Construction Phase Plan (drawn up by the principal contractor), which basically outlines the work that the project will require and the contingences that the team has set in place, in case of an emergency. Tis is also for the benefits of the HSE.

If these and other changes are not complied with, the result could be a criminal indictment.

The Duty Holders and Their Appointments

Under the new regulations there are three main duty holders who bear the weight of the CDM 2015 regulations. These three positions consist of: the Client, the Principal Designer, and the Principal Contractor.

The Client

Under CDM 2007 the client had far fewer responsibilities than he does now under the 2015 update. Firstly a definition of the client is in order. HSE divides clients into two categories: Commercial and Domestic.

Commercial clients are defined as: "Organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is implemented as part of a business(hse.gov.uk)."

Domestic clients are defined as: "People who have construction work implemented on their own home (or the home of a family member) that is not performed as part of a business(hse.gov.uk)."

In other words, if a project is being completed for you as part of your business endeavors, you are a commercial client, if said construction project has nothing to do with business, you're a domestic client. The distinction is important, as, understandably, more is required from commercial clients than those under the domestic category.

So, if you are commercial client, here's the basic rundown. You are in charge of appointing the other duty holders; a.k.a. the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. You orchestrate the time-tables for the project, which means estimating exactly how much time all aspects of the project will take to complete and preparing for this. You see to it that the other duty holders are carrying out their respective responsibilities, take care of welfare needs and manage the management. In short, you, as the commercial client are in charge of making sure that everything happens exactly the way it's supposed to and everybody does precisely what he ought. Also, as mentioned above, if you are a commercial client with a project lasting more than thirty days, and simultaneously employing twenty or more workers, you are required to notify hse in writing with regards to the project details.

Now, what if you're working on remodeling your home or building a new shed for your family member? That's different, you fall under the category of a Domestic Client. As such, all client duties are still required, however, you do not have to be the one in charge of them. In such cases, your duties will be passed to the Contractor, if there's only one contractor on the project, and, if more than one, it is the Principal Contractor to whom you will pass all these responsibilities. If you have hired some other designer for a project requiring more than one contractor, you can also pass your duties off to him. Provided, of course, you have a written statement that he has agreed to take on your client responsibilities. If not, your duties automatically pass to to the Principal Contractor.

The Principal Designer

The Principal Designer can be an organization, or individual designer appointed by the client to carry out the specific requirements of the role. A designer, quite simply designs, and can range from interior to architectural design and must be sure that when preparing designs all due safety measures must be taken, and he must work to eliminate all potential risks arising both during construction and maintenance once the project is complete.

The Principal designer acts somewhat in the role of an advisor. He brings together information from the pre-construction phase to help facilitate the others to carry out their duties. He also takes charge of environmental risks and safety issues and sees to it that these are either eliminated or reduced as much as possible.

The Principal Contractor

The final piece of the puzzle is the Principal Contractor. The Principal Contractor is appointed by the client if there is more than one Contractor on the scene. Otherwise the duties of the Principal Contractor automatically fall to the one Contractor present. Contractors are the individuals who execute the actual construction work.

The principle contractor acts rather like the logistics manager. The Principal Contractor is in charge of preparing the Construction Phase Plan, preventing all unauthorized access to the site, ensuring appointees have the necessary skill and knowledge to complete the required tasks, as well as acting liaison between the Client and Principal Designer to make sure that as many risks as possible are either neutralized or minimized.

Construction Phase Plan (CPP) Requirements

The Construction Phase Plan, shortened to CPP outlines those measures taken to provide maximum safety and risk prevention for those working on the project and maintenance thereafter. HSE requires that said plan must be drawn up by the Principal Contractor, anyone appointed to fill this capacity, or someone hired to do this by said individual before the project is begun. This plan includes a rundown of any health and safety risks involved in the actual construction process, and what the Principal Contractor intends to do to either prevent or mitigate them.

Health and Safety File Requirements

This file, is different from the CPP in that is deals solely with the safety and risk reduction aspect of the project and has nothing to do with the construction aspect. The purpose of this file is for anyone who will carry our maintenance, and/or make changes to the building in future to have all the information he needs to carry out these procedures with minimal risk. For example if there were certain risks with regards to the project that could not be completely eliminated and remain hazardous, these must be included in the file for all who follow after. Other things that must be included in the file consist of and are not limited to the location of pipes, gas lines, and underground cables, a summary of the work conducted, instructions for cleaning and maintaining the building specifically with regards to health and safety, a list of any dangerous materials used such as lead paint or coal-tar creosote, and details of any key structural principles.