The existing Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 have now been updated and replaced in Parliament with the new CDM 2015 regulations. The new changes, which will become law on 6 April, 2015, will have big implications over designer's duties and who assumes responsibility for designs.
The principal changes are as follows:
- Strengthening of Client duties
- Introduction of Domestic Clients
- Replacement of CDM Coordinator by a Principal Designer for the planning, managing, monitoring and coordination of pre-construction phase health and safety
- Principal Designer and Principal Contractor will be required on all projects where there will be more than one contractor working on the project
- Replacement of explicit requirement for duty holder competence with need for appropriate Skills, Knowledge and Experience
- Change to the HSE's Notification level - F10 is now only required for projects lasting more than 500 person days, or lasting more than 30 days with more than 20 workers simultaneously.
How do these changes affect Opus 4 in our service levels to clients moving forward under the new Regulations and what are we doing to assist our clients in ensuring compliance?
The definition of ‘Designer’ is very wide and the HSE Legal Guide states:
“Designers include architects, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors, interior designers, temporary work engineers, chartered surveyors, technicians or anyone who specifies or alters a design. They can include others if they carry out design work such as principal contractors, and specialist contractors e.g. an engineering contractor providing design, procurement and construction management services. Where commercial clients become actively involved in designing in relation to their project, they may also be considered to be designers.”
At Opus 4 we commit to assisting the client through the design stages to ensure our qualified Designers identify the correct route to providing your design taking on board your comments, aspirations, needs and preferences as a client and the ultimate end-user to ensure they meet with the Regulations.
What are the Designer duties?
Designers will face the following duties:
Check awareness of clients
The first duty is to be satisfied that the client is aware of the duties owed by the client under CDM 2015.
At Opus 4 our Design Team has the support and assistance of Trojan Workplace Solutions Ltd to assist them in ensuring the client is aware of their duties and liabilities under the new Regulations to make the design process a simple solution to maximise space and achieve the goals of the project
Eliminate foreseeable risk
CDM2015 demands the primary duty is that when preparing or modifying a design the designer must take into account the general duties of prevention and any pre-construction information to eliminate foreseeable risks to the health or safety of any person carrying out or liable to be affected by construction work.
In addition, those maintaining or cleaning a structure or using a structure designed as a workplace must also be considered alongside the duties required under the Workplace Regulations.
Finally, the designer must provide information about the above risks to the CDM Principal Designer and ensure appropriate information is included in the health and safety file.
Designers must also take all reasonable steps to provide, with the design, sufficient information about the design, construction or maintenance of the structure, to adequately assist the client, other designers and contractors to comply with their duties under CDM 2015.
Our design team assess each of the elements and where there are potential risks to or unusual construction techniques employed or products used, these are noted on the final as-built drawings which are transmitted to the Principal Designer for inclusion in the Health & Safety File.
So… what is new under CDM 2015?
The primary responsibility of designers under CDM 2007 is to seek to avoid foreseeable risk during design.
This current duty is heavily qualified and can be “performed so far as is reasonably practicable, taking due account of other relevant design considerations.”
Under CDM 2015 the qualification “taking due account of other relevant design considerations” has been removed which has the effect of making the designer duty far more absolute and onerous.
It will be much easier for the regulator to allege a ‘material breach’ of statute thereby triggering a Prosecution or a Fee for Intervention invoice in respect of the Designer.
What should Designers do to comply?
All CDM 2015 Designers should take positive steps to:
- Review the way they identify and eliminate hazards during design
- Consider how the process and outcomes might be improved
- Check on the adequacy of information provided with designs
- Be prepared to justify the above to the CDM 2015 project Principal Designer.
At Opus 4 our commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) for our design team as well as our contracting team, means we are currently undergoing a review of our procedures and activities to ensure we can best advise our clients how they are able to comply with the new regulations and how we will use our expertise to deliver your project having the new regulations firmly at the forefront of our design process.
To find out more about CDM 2015, click on the following link:
Opus 4 acknowledge the assistance of Trojan Workplace Solutions Ltd for their assistance in the preparation of this information. Trojan offers a bespoke service to clients and contractors in the delivery of practical CDM advice as members of the Association for Project Safety (APS). Over the course of the next couple of months leading up to the changes on 6th April we plan to provide additional material to assist clients and contractors through the proposed changes.