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CIVIL ENGINEERS EXPRESS CONCERNS OVER CDM 2007

ICE report on problems with coordinator competence and design uncertainty 

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has released a report examining aspects of the Construction (Design and Management Regulations) 2007 which have given cause for concern. The ICE states that “with the benefit of using CDM, it has become clear that further important improvements are required”.

During the extensive discussions with a wide range of professional bodies, general concerns were expressed by all dutyholders “particularly about good and effective H&S risk management”. The recurring themes included:

  • lack of management and leadership;
  • conflict between contract and statute;
  • levels of enforcement; and
  • lack of understanding by everyone of how the requirement of ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ should be applied to design in a project situation.

ICE states that one of the most encouraging aspects of the study has been the co-operation of key industry bodies in identifying and debating matters of mutual concern and interest.

CDM Coordinator competence and information flows are key

ICE intended to establish a series of small Contact Groups to allow further discussion. A number of bodies have indicated a willingness to join e.g. APS, IOSH, IStructE, RIBA, HSE, and ConstructionSkills. 

Particular areas identified by the Report are:-

1. Competence of the CDM Co-ordinator

The CDM Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) is reported to be considered by many to be weak and confusing in places. CDM-C  Training Courses based on a few days of lectures is evidenced by ICE as demonstrating a lack of understanding of the key role of the CDM-C and the necessary level of competency.

The report provides information designed to help client evaluations of potential CDM-Cs, and benefit the various industry assessment schemes.

2. Pre-construction information

ICE report much uncertainty, confusion and conflict between various guidance documents. The report addresses these issues and produces recommendations on the process and the essential outputs. 

3. Health and safety file

The report highlights what it describes as a fundamental conflict between contract and the legislative requirements for the H&S file. The Report recommends practical ways of dealing with issue until CDM 2007 is updated.

Comment

The ICE concerns are unlikely to be shared by all involved with CDM 2007.

Problems with the CDM-C role do not necessarily stem from lack of competence. The function involves, inter alia: coordination, information gathering, advising the client and oversight of designer compliance on behalf of the client. On many projects the CDM-C is less effective than required because of a lack of client support rather than CDM-C competence.

In addition, the Pre-construction Information requirements are clearly spelt out in the CDM 2007 ACOP Appendix 2 and advice on H&S File contents are contained in the ACOP paras 263 and 264.

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