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CLIENT COMMISSIONED RESEARCH USED TO SAVAGE CDM 2007

Report alleges CDM Regulations increase costs with no impact on safety

A Report by industry groups has highlighted “severe flaws in legislation intended to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of those working in construction”.

The report by researchers Pye Tait was commissioned by the British Property Federation (BPF) and the Construction Clients’ Group (CCG), who represent larger construction clients.

Key findings reported are:

  • two-thirds of companies have no knowledge of the legislation whatsoever with scant knowledge among those clients that do not have a regular involvement in construction;
  • the regulations have increased costs for the construction industry without improving safety standards;
  • managers of businesses unrelated to construction have to become experts in the rules as they themselves would be responsible for any accidents that happen on their grounds;
  • for developers etc the study found no substantial reduction in health and safety risks in construction, while costs and the level of administration required for compliance have risen.
Overhaul and increased understanding needed

The Industry groups call on government to “overhaul the regulations and engage more widely with business to ensure that anyone likely to commission construction work understands their responsibilities and knows where to get help”.

James Preston-Hood, CCG board director and chair of the Construction Clients Group said:

‘The report bears out our own experiences; the regulations have not led to a substantial increase in site safety, while the costs and administration associated with complying have risen.’

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation said:

‘Health and safety is something which organisations should manage as carefully as their balance sheets. It is clear from the research that this message is not permeating outside of the regular client community and at a time where the construction industry is suffering under huge cuts, it is vital we do not up the burden further.”

Jon de Souza, chief executive of the Construction Clients’ Group said:

‘The findings of the report confirm that changes are needed to the legislation to deliver their intent. We would like to see the Health and Safety Executive commit to a root and branch review of the regulations and also refresh their communication strategy with the general business community.’

Comment

This report and representations will no doubt be considered as part of the wider and more detailed review of CDM 2007 being undertaken by HSE.

From the comments above client groups seems to be calling for both root and branch reform to reduce client duties and greater client engagement by HSE. Some clients may see the latter call as a bit like turkeys voting Christmas! Clients who take a positive and proactive approach to safety with good results may find the report rather depressing. 

The rate of fatal injuries in the construction sector is now the lowest on record and has reduced most dramatically on major projects. Greater focus on smaller clients and contractors may be the most cost effective way forward rather that changing the legislative structure yet again.

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