Construction (Design and Management) Regs

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (known as the CDM regulations) were introduced in 2007, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They are designed to improve the safety record in the construction industry, to create an environment in which the right people for different roles are in place and to re-focus safety management on risk management on the ground, rather than risk management through paperwork. Planning and organisation is a key focus in the regulations and the aim is to ensure that a site (whatever the size) is managed with an emphasis on safety. Anybody who has control and responsibilities on site is responsible for health and safety, under existing legislation, and this can apply to site managers and workers alike. However, the CDM regulations are designed to ensure that sites are intrinsically safe and risk management is at the forefront of any process involved.

Duty Holders

The CDM regulations create a framework of duties for all those involved in every aspect of a construction site and the processes on that site. The regulations identify a series of ‘duty holders’ and clearly delineate the responsibilities of each of the different categories of duty holder. This aspect of the regulations helps to clarify each person’s responsibility and contributes to the smooth, efficient and safe management of a building site. Duty holders that are defined in the regulations are; Clients, CDM co-ordinators, Designers, Principal Contractors, Contractors and Workers. This list effectively includes everybody involved in the process, from the individual or company who are having the work done, right down to labourers on the site. For those working in the industry there are some specific points within the regulations that require them to ensure that each role has been assessed under CDM.

CDM Coordinator

The CDM Coordinator role is a new role that the regulations effectively create. The role is designed to advise the client on matters relating to health and safety. A CDM Coordinator must be in place on builds/sites where the work will last for 30 days or more and/or where 500 person days are involved on the site. The most suitable individual for the role will normally be the main contractor involved with the work and they should plan, manage and ensure that health and safety on the site complies with relevant legislation. A key part of the role is to liaise with the client and to ensure that they are aware of any safety issues and understand any responsibilities that they may have in relation to these.

On-Site Responsibilities and Training

Site management and safety should be built into the site design by designers and architects, ensuring that a construction project can be managed safely and effectively by the main contractor and/or CDM coordinator. In addition, under both the CDM regulations and wider health and safety regulations, all those actually carrying out the work should be aware of health and safety issues. Effective CDM coordinators should establish a culture of safety on any given site, promoting and encouraging safe working practices. This should include appropriate inductions onto the site for visitors, contractors and sub-contractors. It also involves ensuring that workers are suitably qualified for their individual roles. Developing a positive attitude to risk management and encouraging workers to report on hazards (and seek appropriate help in removing these) is also an essential part of the role of the CDM Coordinator. The focus of the CDM regulations is not on increasing red-tape but on reducing the need for it, by creating safe working environments for workers, visitors and clients alike. CDM is covered in the CDM Coordinator training and the SMSTS training course for site managers.