The CDM coordinator role and specific competency requirements in the construction industry could be scrapped under long-awaited proposals designed to deliver “substantially simpler” CDM Regulations.
Businesses, trade unions and other interested parties are being invited to respond to HSE’s 10-week consultation on reforming the 2007 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, which closes on 6 June.
Among the most significant changes is a proposal to scrap the supporting ACOP, replacing it with guidance tailored to specific activities. The new guidance will be designed to be more accessible to small businesses. HSE says small projects are responsible for the majority of deaths in the sector.
The new regulations, based on a copy out of the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive, are scheduled to come into force in April 2015 – the final common commencement date before the 2015 general election.
Under the proposals launched on 31 March the CDM co-ordinator role will be replaced by a “principal designer” role that sits within the project team.
“There is a widely held view, supported by evidence, that the current approach is often bureaucratic and adds costs with little added value,” the consultation document states. “As such it is often ineffective.”
The responsibility for discharging the duties of the principal designer will sit with the individual or business in charge of the pre-construction phase.
CDM 2015, as the regulations will become known should they be accepted by parliament, will remove the requirements to assess competency to tackle what the consultation says is the “excessively bureaucratic response in many parts of the industry”.
Instead, the new regulations will introduce a duty on information, instruction, training and supervision.
The consultation document also sets out proposals to implement client duties on domestic projects. However, rather than the duties being taken on by the householder who commissions the work, the duties will be transferred to the contractor or designer.
The consultation was originally scheduled to be released in summer last year, with the aim of getting the revised regulations on the statute books by October 2014.
HSE commissioned research in 2010, published in April 2012, on the effectiveness of the regulations. The report concluded that “CDM 2007 has gone a long way to meeting its objectives, but there are still some concerns within the construction industry”.
Professor Löfstedt’s review of the health and safety framework recommended HSE complete their evaluation of the CDM regulations “to ensure there is a clearer expression of duties, a reduction of bureaucracy and appropriate guidance for small projects” by April 2012.
“Despite recent improvements, construction can still be a dangerous industry and the CDM Regulations are at the heart of how we are working to improve safety,” said HSE’s chief inspector of construction Heather Bryant.
“The proposed changes are aimed at ensuring more people come home safe and well from their work and making the law simpler and clearer for employers to understand, particularly small businesses.
“The regulations and supporting guidance need to help those working on building sites to get health and safety right. That’s why it is important that we get a good response to the consultation, helping us build on the great support we’ve had from the industry during the development of these proposals.”
David Lambert, the chair of the health and safety expert panel at the Institute of Civil Engineers, said: “The launch of this long awaited consultation, albeit for a shorter duration than we would have liked, is welcome and ICE will be engaging closely with its members and the HSE to ensure its response reflects the concerns of civil engineers and ensure the final regulations are effective and workable.
“The main issues continue to surround the transformation to a principle designer - which has implications for relationships on construction projects - and how competence will be addressed. I encourage members to contribute to the consultation and also share views with ICE to help inform its response.”
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