There are six proposed changes to the current CDM regulations:
1. Structural simplification of the Regulations.
2. Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) with guidance.
3. Replacement of the CDMC role with a new role, called Principal Designer.
4. Removal of explicit competence requirements and replacement with a requirement for appropriate skills.
5. Removal of the current exemption enjoyed by domestic clients.
6. Amending the trigger threshold for appointment of Principal Designer & Principal Contractor.
The Proposed Changes
Each of the six main proposed changes is outlined below.
1. Structural Simplification of the Regulations
The HSE proposes to simplify the structure of the Regulations to make them clearer and easier to understand. This is largely aimed at small to medium projects which tend to use SME companies. It is claimed that SME companies generally find the current Regulations difficult to understand and follow.
2. Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) with guidance
The HSE believes that the current ACOP is too long and too difficult to understand. It proposes to replace the ACOP with ‘tailored guidance’, which will be specifically aimed at SME businesses. The guidance will be in simple English and will offer template documents for use in typical high risk, small value projects (such as roof replacements or loft conversions). The HSE expects industry to prepare much, if not all, of this guidance.
3. Replacement of the CDMC role with the Principal Designer
This is probably the single biggest proposed change, and perhaps the most contentious. The HSE proposes to abolish the CDMC role. It believes many CDMCs add little value and are appointed too late in a project. The duties of the CDMC however remain, and will be transferred to a new role, the Principal Designer.
The Principal Designer will be responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase of a project, and in particular will be responsible for:
The Principal Designer is likely to be the architect or lead designer and it appears that the Principal Designer will simply inherit the majority of the legal duties currently discharged by the CDMC. It is not currently clear how the Principal Designer is expected to undertake these additional duties; whether by up-skilling existing staff or by employing or sub-contracting to a specialist.
4. Removal of the Explicit Requirement for Competence
The HSE believes that the current CDM regime is too bureaucratic when it comes to competence. The HSE states however that promoting competence within construction remains a key priority. The HSE wishes to remove the legal requirement for competence and instead encourage competence through cultural change and leadership within the industry. The HSE believes that competence is best overseen by professional bodies and institutions alongside PAS 91, and not the HSE. That said the HSE recognises that this change will present difficulties to the industry.
5. Domestic Clients
Currently, domestic clients (i.e. homeowners having construction work done to their homes) are largely exempt from CDM. This breaches the EU Directive and hence the HSE is proposing to remove the domestic client exemption. The HSE recognises that this change needs to be proportionate, and it is therefore proposing that duties on domestic clients are actually picked up by the contractor (or Principal Contractor). There will be an option for a domestic client to appoint a Principal Designer as well.
6. Threshold for Appointment of Coordinators (Principal Designer & Principal Contractor)
The current trigger for appointment of a Principal Contractor is for a project over 30 days on site, the same as the F10 notification. The proposed change is that a client will have to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor when there is, or will be, more than one contractor on site. This will inevitably lead to many more small projects being subjected to this threshold. The requirement to issue the F10 notification will also be slightly amended to include a 20 person threshold.