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    CDM 2015 PUTS DESIGNERS AT HEART OF PROJECT SAFETY

    HSE original CDM Coordination intentions may now come to fruition 

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is proposing that current CDM 2007 Coordinator duties will become the responsibility of architect practices or other designers appointed to the statutory role of ‘Principal Designer’. The proposed change reflects original HSE intentions when the CDM Regulations were first placed on the stature book in 1994.

    At that time the HSE Construction Sector hoped the regulations would not give rise to a new ‘discipline’ and that the Planning Supervisor/CDM Coordinator function would be undertaken by existing project team members e.g. architects and other designers.

    The HSE hopes did not come to fruition and the function primarily became the preserve of dedicated Planning Supervisors and CDM Coordinators. However, if the current HSE proposals become law the design community will be placed at the heart of project safety.

    The changes will become effective from April 2015 presenting both risks and opportunities for all architects and other designers.

    Key changes affecting architects and others

    The CDM Regulations 2015 are planned to require (inter alia) that:

    • Appointed Principal Designer – a PD must be appointed on ALL construction projects (both ‘business’ AND ‘domestic’) where there is more than one contractor. 
    • Deemed Principle Designers – where a domestic client does not appoint a PD the first designer appointed during the pre-construction phase will be ‘deemed’ to be appointed. 

    The project architect is most likely to be the ‘Appointed’ or ‘Deemed’ PD.

    HSE estimated that 1 million additional small projects will require the appointment of a PD each year. See our concise Summary of what is proposed.

    Principal designer responsibilities

    The PD is required to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the project pre-construction phase to ensure:

    • the project is carried out without risks to health or safety;
    • pre-construction information preparation and provision;
    • identification, elimination, or control of foreseeable risks;
    • cooperation of all persons working on the project;
    • compliance of all designers with their duties;
    • preparation and revision of a health safety file; and
    • liaison with principal contractor e.g. information for construction phase plan

    The draft Regulations are based on a the PD duty to “plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the pre-construction phase” of a project. This wide-ranging  responsibility appears to include both ‘design’ and other ‘preparatory’ work embracing a ‘management’ role beyond the current CDMC function.

    Architects and other designers taking on the PD role will need to review their preparedness for the new duties.

     

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