CDM 2015 Regs – Principle Contractor

The Health an Safety Executive have made changes to Construction Design & Management Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) took effect from April 2015 when they became The CDM 2015 Regulations. From that date the Domestic Client exemption from CDM 2007 Regulations ended. Domestic Clients now have to take more responsibility for how the Health & Safety of any workers on their projects is managed.

Where there is only one contractor the Domestic Clients role is deemed to the Contractor who will by law have to carry out the following:

  • Project Management Arrangements – make, maintain and review arrangements, suitable for persons with CDM duties, to ensure that construction work is carried out without risk and compliant with welfare requirements;
  • Pre-construction information (PCI) – provide to each designer involved in the design of a structure and each contractor who is or might be engaged by the client;
  • Construction Phase Plan (CPP) – ensure CPP drawn up before the construction phase begins;
  • Notify HSE – if site construction work scheduled to last >30 working days and have >20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project or exceed 500 person days.
    Notify as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins;
  • Contractor training etc. – ensure the necessary information, instruction and training is received and appropriate supervision to comply; and
  • Cooperation with others – cooperate with any other person at the site or an adjoining site to enable others to perform their duties etc.

Where there is more than one contractor and that means even if you appoint a separate Electrician or Plumbing contractor in addition to a General Builder, the Domestic Client will be required by Law to:

  • Appoint Principal Designer (PD) – to carry out the PD responsibilities. Where no appointment is made the first designer appointed during the pre-construction phase is deemed to be appointed as the principal designer; and
  • Appoint Principal Contractor (PC) – to carry out PC responsibilities as shown above. Where no appointment is made, the first contractor appointed during the construction phase is deemed to be appointed as the principal contractor.

If you don’t comply with this appointment then the PD role will be deemed to be the first Designer (Architect) to be appointed and the PC role will be deemed to be the first contractor who was appointed, regardless of trade or suitability.

If the Domestic Client doesn’t appoint a PD & PC before the project becomes operational they will certainly be requested to do so by either the first Architect or the first contractor, who are obliged by law to make the client aware of their responsibilities and who will be appointed by default under the new Regulations. They will certainly request an increase in fees to cover the additional work involved.

There is no escaping the fact that this will bring additional costs to Domestic Clients and those costs will have to be met if the Regulations are to be complied with. In a Self Build scenario i.e. when the client is doing all or most of the work themselves, these roles will still have to be maintained and all of the regulations must be complied with by all the people on the project.

HSE inspections are carried out by Official Inspectors and if they find any breaches of the law they are empowered to levy charges on the person they feel is responsible for the breaches and that person can also face additional draconian fines and costs. These costs would be far more than the cost of compliance, which is the whole purpose of them. On top of that Inspectors can force a closure of the site until all of their requests for compliance have been met. This can cause huge delays to any project.

Most Jobbing Builders I have met over the last 30 odd years appear to have at best a Cavalier approach to Health & Safety and treat it mostly with derision. I have come across workers who wear macho bravado and stupidity almost as a badge of office when dealing with health and safety. So when a client suggests that maybe some of the safety be curtailed due to cost, these guys are only too happy to oblige… especially if they can make a few bucks more.

This is fine until, notwithstanding a snap inspection… something goes very wrong and an injury or worse, a death occurs. Then HSE will descend on your project like the wrath of the Gods. There will be no mitigation for being a Domestic Client and you will find that HSE inspectors are unbending in their interpretation of the Regulations.

The Regulations are complex to understand and it is only with experience of dealing with them that you can be sure that they are being complied with properly and to the degree that a visit by an HSE inspector would not end up in court along with costs, fines and huge delays. If you or your appointed Building Contractor has not achieved the level of competence required to gain a Construction Site Managers Safety Certificate (CSMS) then it is doubtful whether you have the necessary skills to carry out this function.

A Project Manager as well as all his other skills should be a holder of a CSMS certificate which proves that he has the required competence to carry the role of Principle Contractor. (PC) He would include the role within his normal duties and be mindful of his responsibility to his clients. He would also be the responsible person that HSE would turn to if something did go wrong on site and bear the brunt of any non compliance, including fines and costs.

Project Management

What is this and why should we use it for our building project?
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Feasibility

What should we look for?
Can we afford to do this?
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Budgeting

Finding out what it should all cost.
Keeping those costs under control.
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Programming

How it can really help a project.
How to do it properly.
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Tender Process

Making sure the build team is properly chosen and prepared.
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Procurement

Finding the best value materials.
Making sure they stay that way.
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Site Management

Working with the whole team,
helping everyone to get it right.
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CDM 2015 Regulations

Carrying out the Principle Contractor Role For CDM 2015 Regulations
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