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February 9, 2015

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CDM 2015: implications of the new regulations

Graham TaylorBy Graham Taylor

The revision of the Construction (Design & Management) regulations, and forthcoming enactment of CDM 2015 this year, will bring many of the smaller operational and maintenance-type projects within its scope for the first time, and place new obligations on clients and facilities managers throughout the UK.

The scope of what constitutes ‘construction work’ has also been increased and FM works are now clearly included. It will be incumbent on those who procure such ‘works’ to be familiar with their obligations.

Graham will be speaking about the latest changes in CDM at Safety & Health Expo, June 16-18th.  Register your place here

With the planned changes coming into force in April this year, subject to parliamentary approval, CDM 2015 makes the client – namely, an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out – accountable for the impact of their decisions on and approach to health, safety and welfare on the project.

Crucially, it introduces strict liability on the client in a number of areas – in particular, for the performance of their appointed duty-holders. Strict liability is a legal term that relates to the ‘ensure’ obligations set out in the regulations. No doubt the legal profession is delighted with the additional work that could flow! Could this also lead to clients being investigated by HSE where ‘Fee for Intervention’ has been raised against a contractor? Only time will tell.

A further substantial change, which will particularly affect facilities managers undertaking OPEX works within their estates, is the new requirement relating to projects involving more than one contractor.

A principal designer and principal contractor must now be appointed by the client, and the client must ensure – a new strict liability – that the principal contractor prepares a Construction Phase Plan. This document sets out how the work will be managed safely. On completion, the client will be provided with a Health and Safety Plan, giving safety information on managing the work.

These responsibilities impose additional work on both designers and contractors who will, no doubt, add the costs on and increase tender prices.

For a small project under the current 30-day threshold, this could add 10-20 per cent to a project’s cost.

So, it is evident that property owners carrying out maintenance work on their properties will face additional costs from designers and contractors for the added work that they now have to undertake, as well as new compliance risks as a result the introduction of new duties and the strict liabilities for the performance of these duty-holders.

These risks will need to be managed by client organisations, in the same way as other business risks, by the organisation’s board. This will entail a review and revision of the organisation’s management procedures, including; works and consultant procurement, operational management and supervision, health and safety risk management, and internal assurance and audit processes.

Now, before these new regulations come into force, it is crucial that client organisations – and their facilities managers, in particular – understand completely the implications to their businesses of the changes.

Overall, it is hard to see how the new regulations will achieve HSE’s stated aim of increased efficiency and reduced costs, bearing in mind the broadening of application of CDM 2015 to include FM/OPEX and minor works simply because they are undertaken by more than one contractor.

Graham Taylor is director at Turner&Townsend. He will be speaking at Safety & Health Expo in June

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Andy Collier
There are certainly some valid considerations from this comment but I don’t necessarily agree that it is any more onerous for smaller projects. I certainly don’t concur with the upper estimate of cost implication. CDM or H&S regulations apply to all project regardless of whether they are notifiable or not, I don’t see the appointment of duty holders incurring disproportionate cost, if the compliance was previously in place those unamed persons woulld have still undertaken a safety function. I do believe the new criteria has added confusion from a very clear position. More than one Contractor? More than 30 days… Read more »
Ray Rapp

The new notification threshold does mean that fewer projects will be notified. The clue is in the ‘and’…more than 20 persons on site at any one time… Indeed the HSE estimate about 50 percent fewer notifications. Bearing in mind this provision will affect many smaller projects where safety precautions are notoriously poorly managed. Moreover, many of these projects will be domestic projects where safety is often non-existant. Hardly improving safety is it?

Jay Joshi

It is stated in the article that, “The scope of what constitutes ‘construction work’ has also been increased ” I am not sure that is the case as the legal interpretation of “Construction Work” is identical in CDM 2015 as it was in CDM 2007. Yes, the threshold for the client to formally appoint duty-holders is significantly changed and that is the key impact that will bring most FM works into the scope.

Peter Lavin

Graham says “….Overall, it is hard to see how the new regulations will achieve HSE’s stated aim of increased efficiency
and reduced costs, bearing in mind the broadening of application of CDM 2015 to include FM/OPEXand minor works simply
because they are undertaken by more than one contractor..”
He fails to talk of the significant savings by the Client and the Industry as a whole, whereby they will not be burdened by having to
appoint, and pay for, or work within the preferential bureaucratic, straight- jacket of the CDM-C.

Phil Rae
Working in the events industry, which isn’t mentioned in the article, I concur that the scope has been increased greatly in this latest version of CDM. Historically the HSE took the view that they would not enforce CDM for the events industry but all that is about to change. I believe the HSE interpretation that they have no option but to take the enforcement role is being challenged by TV producers. We are getting very close to the new regulations coming into force and there is still a lack of sector specific guidance for the diverse events industry. The Joint… Read more »

On completion, the client will be provided with a Health and Safety Plan.

Shouldn’t this be a health & safety file or has the terminology changed so much from when I was a Principal Contractor for CDM Regs 1994?


Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues.

It was truly informative. Your site is useful.
Thank you for sharing!