The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), at the North West CDM Support Group meeting on 25th February 2013, presented the likely content of the revisions to the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations, due to go out to public consultation later this year.
Although the exact detail of the new regulatory package will not be known until May 2013 at the earliest when it is presented to the HSE Board, new CDM Regulations would not be the fine-tuning the HSE CDM Review indicated last year. It would appear that the government’s policy on revising regulations demands a complete overhaul based on a copy-out of the Directive, irrespective of the quality of the existing CDM Regulations.
Headline changes would include the removal of both Regulation 4 relating to Competence and the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP); the introduction of CDM duties for all projects where more than one contractor is working on a project and the design phase duties of the current CDM Co-ordinator being placed with a new “Project Preparation Manager”. Designer, Principal Contractor and Contractor duties however appear to be remaining more or less unchanged. It is also expected that the project notification threshold will remain the same as under CDM2007, even though these differ from those in the European Unions’ Temporary & Mobile Construction Sites (TMCS) Directive. One of the most contentious changes is likely to be the introduction of CDM duties for all projects, commercial or domestic, where more than one contractor is working on a project. On these projects, one of the contractors will have to take on the equivalent duties of the CDM Co-ordinator for the construction phase.
The HSE said they would be concentrating on improving the construction industry’s understanding of the TMCS Directive, the reduction of pre-qualification bureaucracy and replacing the Approved Code of Practice with a series of guidance notes.
These proposed changes fly in the face of the HSE’s own CDM Review and the government’s acceptance of the recommendations in Professor Ragnar Löfsted’s Report, published in 2012, both of which suggested the CDM2007 Regulations were working well, were not broken, and only required minor changes in the way they were understood and being implemented.
Whilst there is still quite a way to go with finalising the revised regulations, an industry consultation period still to be had and a likely implementation date not until October 2014, “the wheels could yet come off the trolley” with the government’s approach to Europe uncertain and the TMCS Directive itself due for review by the EU next year.
Health and safety within the construction industry has improved significantly over the past 15 years; helping our industry to become a world leader with an enviable reputation and exporting its skills around the world. Whilst a desire for a reduction in bureaucracy and a drive for simplicity should be applauded, it should greatly concern the government and the general public that these unnecessary drastic changes could seriously undermine and set back the excellent progress made in health and safety risk management by the construction industry.
As always we will try to keep you up to date with the latest news regarding the CDM Regulations.