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17th March 2015

CDM 2015 changes - their impact to private sector housebuilders

What are the key changes to CDM 2015 and how will this impact private sector housebuilders?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) will be replacing the 2007 Regulations (CDM 2007) from 6th April 2015. Law firm Hewitsons looks at the key changes that will be introduced by CDM 2015 and how this is likely to impact private sector housebuilders.

CDM 2015 shall apply to domestic clients

CDM 2015 shall apply to both business and private clients although in the case of private residential clients most of the client duties are passed onto the contractor.

Changes to notification threshold

Under the CDM 2015, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to be notified about projects that last more than 30 days and have more than 20 workers simultaneously or exceed 500 person-days of labour. This is expected to reduce the number of notifiable projects.

In addition, the ‘notifiability’ of a project shall no longer trigger additional duties. Instead, additional duties will be triggered depending on the number of contractors involved/expected to be involved in a project.

Replacement of the CDM Coordinator role with the Principal Designer role

The CDM Coordinator role will be abolished and replaced with a new Principal Designer role. The Principal Designer will be a member of the design team (most likely the architect) with control over the pre-construction phase of the project and will be responsible for overseeing health & safety and maintaining the health and safety file akin to the CDM Coordinator. It remains unclear whether the Principal Designer’s appointment can be novated to the Contractor, which typically happens to consultants in a traditional design & build situation. It is hoped that the final guidance from the HSE will clarify this.

Requirement to appoint Principal Designer and Principal Contractor

Clients will be under a duty to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor on projects where there is more than one contractor or if it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project at any time. Where private clients do not appoint parties to these roles then the designer in control of the pre-construction phase will be deemed to be the Principal Designer and the contractor in control of the construction phase will be deemed to be the Principal Contractor. Business clients that fail to appoint a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor shall be deemed to assume the duties of these roles.

Transitional arrangements

Further to the two points above, CDM 2015 sets out transitional arrangements for projects that started before 6 April 2015. For projects involving more than one contractor which has not appointed a CDM Coordinator by 6 April 2015 if the construction phase has not started then organisations must appoint a Principal Designer as soon as practicable. However, if the construction phase has started then the client may opt to appoint a Principal Designer but if they choose not to then the Principal Contractor must take on this responsibility.

If for CDM Coordinators on an existing project the client must appoint a Principal Designer by 6th October 2015. CDM 2015 outlines the duties which a CDM Coordinator must comply with during this transitional period until the Principal Designer is appointed.

An extract of this article was published in the latest issue of Housebuilder magazine (March 2015) which features comments from legal professionals about the changes in CDM regs (page 38). To view the full article, click here.

For further information, please contact Lorna Carter on 01223 532729 or click here to email Lorna.

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