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    Opinions polarised over new CDM 2015 construction project regulations

    Our CDM 2015 Five Minute Survey was open between 9th and 29th November 2015 and asked three substantive questions:

    1. How does CDM 2015 compare to CDM 2007?
    2. How does the Principal Designer (PD) role compare to the CDM Coordinator?
    3. How is the Principal Designer (PD) role working?

    A total of 258 completed responses were received and the majority of respondents (60%) report that their principal role involved ‘health and safety’. Many respondents also completed the free text fields. Our thanks to everyone who took part in the survey.

    Majority believe Principal Designer role NOT working well

    The Survey Data is published in full so that readers might draw their own conclusions. Meanwhile, we offer the following observations and conclusions based on the replies and free text comment:

    • CDM 2015 v CDM 2007 – respondents are almost equally divided in their assessment of CDM 2015. A significant proportion (39%) report CDM 2015 to be an improvement compared to CDM 2007 whilst a similar proportion (38%) report that CDM 2015 is worse. In addition, no change was reported by 22% of respondents;
    • Principal Designer v CDM Coordinator – a significant proportion (42%) report that the PD role is worse than the CDM-C whilst a similar proportion (37%) report that the PD role is an improvement. In addition, no change was reported by 22% of respondents;
    • Role of Principal Designer – an overall majority (55%) report that the PD role is working poorly or inadequately whilst a significantly smaller proportion (36%) report that the role is working well or adequately. In addition, 11% were unable to say how well the role is working;
    • Reluctance and Confusion – a significant majority (62%) report that design organisations are reluctant to accept PD appointments. In addition, a majority (57%) report confusion over what the PD must do to comply with the regulations, despite only 34% reporting that HSE guidance on the PD function is inadequate;
    • Compliance – poor compliance by principal designers, designers and clients is reported by the greatest proportion of respondents. By contrast, good compliance by principal contractors and contractors is reported by the greatest proportion of respondents. At the ends of the spectrum, poor compliance by PDs is reported by 41% of respondents whilst good compliance by PCs is reported by 56% of respondents;
    • Client Appointments – significant proportions of respondents report that project clients are: failing to appoint a PD (41%); appointing an inappropriate organisation (46%); or failing to properly resource the PD function (46%);
    • Fees and Demands –  it is reported by 27% of respondents that the fees sought by the PD exceed those charged by the CDM-C. Only 14% report increased demands from the PD on designers or others; and
    • Advisers and Consultants – a number of respondents report that they are working as a CDM Advisers or Consultants to project clients and principal designers.
    Immediate Conclusions

    The survey reveals a polarisation of experience between those who view CDM 2015 as an improvement and those who believe the regulations are a change for the worse.

    There is a widespread feeling that the Principal Designer role is not working well with confusion over what actions the PD is required to take.

    The HSE CDM 2015 Guidance is seen as adequate despite reports of “confusion”. However, respondents may welcome further clarification and advice from HSE particularly regarding appointment and delivery of the PD function.

    The results do not indicate widespread and positive endorsement of CDM 2015 although some respondents commented that it may too early to properly assess the change. We will repeat the survey questions in April 2016 to see if the regulations have embedded more effectively one year after coming into operation.

    CDM 2015 Information and Templates

    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.

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