Regulations governing the management of health, safety and welfare during construction projects are about to change - and FMs must understand their important new welfare obligations, says Katherine Brydon.
15 March 2015 | By Katherine Brydon
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM2015) apply from 6 April.
The broad definition of 'construction work' from CDM2007 is unchanged. Such work includes a variety of repair and maintenance activities that do not, at a glance, look like construction work. It includes projects such as recabling an office for a computer upgrade. FMs may take on the duties associated with several different roles under CDM including:l Advising the client who owns the building on its CDM responsibilities;
- Carrying out construction work, either as a contractor or principal contractor; or
- Getting involved in the design of construction work.
The key changes relevant to FMs include:
- The threshold for reporting construction work to the HSE will change resulting in fewer cases being notified.
- The role of CDM co-ordinator is replaced by a 'principal designer' who will be responsible for the planning, management and co-ordination of a project's pre-construction phase where more than one contractor is involved.
- Removal of the requirement for individual and corporate competence and replacement with a general requirement for those appointing others to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the appointee has the skill, knowledge, experience and the organisational capability necessary to fulfil the role.
Notification to HSE
Under CDM 2015, a project is notifiable, and the client must give notice in writing of it to HSE as soon as possible before work starts, where the project is either:
- Scheduled to last longer than 30 working days and involves 20 or more workers at a time; or
- Scheduled to exceed 500 person days.
Almost all of the requirements of CDM2015 will now apply to all construction work regardless of whether the project is notifiable. There are additional requirements where there is more than one contractor involved in the work (see below). This is a significant change and will put a number of additional requirements on duty holders. A construction phase health and safety plan is a requirement for all works.
Duties of contractors and designers
The client's duty to appoint a principal designer and a principal contractor is triggered where there is - or is likely to be - more than one contractor, and not where the project is notifiable. If the required appointments are not made the client must fulfil the duties of the principal designer/contractor himself. The principal contractor must plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate the construction phase of a project. This includes:
- Liaising with the client and principal designer;
- Preparing the construction phase plan; and
- Organising co-operation between contractors and co-ordinating their work.
- l Suitable site inductions are provided;
- Reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access;
- Workers are consulted and engaged in securing their health and safety; and
- Welfare facilities are provided.
For projects involving more than one contractor, all contractors must co-ordinate their activities with others in the project team - in particular, comply with directions given to them by the principal designer or principal contractor.
For single-contractor projects, a contractor must plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety, and prepare a construction phase plan and provide appropriate welfare facilities.
The principal designer must plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety in the preconstruction phase of a project. This includes:
- Identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks;
- Ensuring that designers carry out their duties;
- Prepare and provide relevant data to other duty holders; and
- Liaise with the principal contractor to help to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the construction plan.
All designers must eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction, maintenance or use of the building and provide information about residual risks to the rest of the project team.
Transitional arrangements will apply to projects begun before the start date so that where a CDM coordinator is in place the client will have until 6 October to appoint a principal designer. Before 6 April, we suggest that FMs should:
- Familiarise themselves with CDM2015 and the associated draft guidance produced by HSE and by industry bodies, particularly CONIAC;
- Check when work on any projects they have planned is likely to begin in case transitional arrangements under CDM2015 apply;
- Ensure that they are able to show the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to carry out the work in a way that secures health and safety - especially if it is intended that they are to take on the role of both principal contractor and principal designer.
Under CDM2015 the health and safety file is mainly the responsibility of the principal designer. But if the client intends that the principal designer appointment is to end at the start of the construction phase or any time after, duties in relation to the health and safety file transfer to the principal contractor. There are chances here to use BIM for a smooth transfer of responsibility of the health and safety file for future use by FMs.
Katherine Brydon is a senior associate in the regulatory team at Pinsent Masons LLP