Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (often known as CDM 2015) have an important impact on businesses considering commissioning construction work. Ken MacKay, Managing Director at Axis Solutions shares his knowledge and expertise on how to ensure that you understand the regulations and the responsibilities that come with them.
If you are considering commissioning construction work then it makes sense to have a good grasp of the issues connected with CDM 2015 and the obligations on you as the business commissioning the work.
You may be planning to commission the storage equipment or office fit-out services that Axis Solutions provides or you may be involved in more general construction work. Either way it is useful to understand how CDM 2015 affects you as the client commissioning work and what steps you can take to ensure that you comply with the regulations.
Whatever the project, a key piece of advice would always be to appoint contractors with the relevant skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to deliver the project. At Axis Solutions we take this very seriously and ensure that we offer our clients the very best advice and support when it comes to planning a project.
There are potential costs and consequences of failing to discharge obligations under the CDM Regulations and we wanted to lay these out to help our clients understand what’s involved.
A bit of background
Here are some of the key things that it is useful to understand about CDM:
- CDM Regulations 2015 were introduced in April 2015
- They apply to all UK construction projects, irrespective of size
- The regulations define roles and responsibilities of parties involved in the project, including the client, contractors and designers.
- Oversight of CDM 2015 is the responsibility of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) who have the power to investigate potential breaches of responsibility, impose charges for investigating (Fees for Intervention – FFI) and in case of serious breaches they can bring criminal prosecutions.
Your responsibilities as the client
If you are the client commissioning construction work then it is your responsibility to:
- Appoint other parties (dutyholders) who will be involved in the project. In general this will involve at least one contractor and one designer, who may be the same person.
- Ensure that all contractors and designers have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to identify, reduce and manage the health and safety risks.
- If more than one contractor is involved the client must appoint in writing a Principal Contractor and Principal Designer. Failure to do so will mean that the client will assume these roles and associated responsibilities.
- Ensure sufficient time and resources are allocated to the project and that welfare facilities are provided.
If something goes wrong with your project from a health and safety point of view this may result in an investigation by HSE. They will consider who the duty holders are under CDM 2015 and assess whether each party has met their obligations. Potential consequences where there has been a material breach are:
- Serious disruption to the client’s business during an HSE investigation
- The construction project may be stopped
- A Fee for Intervention may be payable to HSE. This is currently an hourly charge of £129.
- The most serious cases of breach can lead to a criminal prosecution.
Overall, my recommendation is always to ensure that the contractors and designers you appoint have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to deliver the project safely. You should consider professional qualifications, membership of trade associations, and quality and health & safety accreditations.
Also, if there is more than one contractor involved make sure that you appoint a Principal Contractor and a Principal Designer in writing. Otherwise these responsibilities will be retained by you, the client.
While there may be additional costs of complying with CDM 2015, my view is that these are greatly outweighed by the potential costs to your business if you fail to comply and things go wrong.