New guidance puts added emphasis on ‘significant risk’ information
The CDM Regulations 2015 made few changes to the substantive legal requirements placed on design organisations. When preparing or modifying designs the designer must eliminate, reduce and make risks easier to control.
The regulations and guidance are ‘light’ on what designers should record concerning these actions. There is no requirement in the regulations for a “design risk assessment” or “design risk register” although relevant information for inclusion in the pre-construction information or health and safety file must be passed to others.
Previous designer guidance remains relevant
The CDM 2007 ACOP contained some helpful words for designers considering what to record, namely:
“Designers are not legally required to keep records of the process through which they achieve a safe design, but it can be useful to record why certain key decisions were made. Brief records of the points considered, the conclusions reached, and the basis for those conclusions, can be very helpful when designs are passed from one designer to another. This will reduce the likelihood of important decisions being reversed by those who may not fully understand the implications of doing so”
The CDM 2007 ACOP went on to warn designers that:
“Too much paperwork is as bad as too little, because the useless hides the necessary. Large volumes of paperwork listing generic hazards and risks, most of which are well known to contractors and others who use the design are positively harmful, and suggest a lack of competence on the part of the designer.”
Until recently HSE also published Frequently Asked Questions for CDM Designers on the HSE Website. There is no reason why these FAQs should not be used to guide designers under CDM 2015.
Current guidance for designers
The HSE CDM 2015 Legal Guidance is less helpful on what to record and focuses more on what information should be provided to others.
The guidance states that designers must provide information to the Principal Designer and other dutyholders using or implementing the design about ‘significant risks’ associated with the design that cannot be eliminated. This information will form part of the pre-construction information.
Significant risks are defined as:
“not necessarily those that involve the greatest risks, but those (including health risks) that are not likely to be obvious, are unusual, or likely to be difficult to manage effectively”
Designers are advised to agree with the PD the arrangements for sharing information to avoid omissions or duplicated effort. Those who need the information should be given it at the right time. The CDM 2015 guidance goes on to add:
“Depending on the nature and extent of design work, there may be a need to carry out design reviews. Reviews enable the project team to focus on health and safety matters alongside other key aspects of the project.
This can be done as part of the normal design process. The need for such reviews is likely to continue throughout the project although their frequency and the level of detail covered should remain proportionate to the scale and complexity of the design work.”
CDM 2015 Information and Templates
See CDM 2015 Survey Results for the findings of our CDM 2015 Five Minute Online Survey.
We have published a great deal of further information and templates designed to support Clients, Designers, Principal Designers/Contractors and Contractors in meeting their duties under CDM Regulations 2015.