The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 are the latest 'CDM' regs you might hear mentioned as being needed for construction works. They originate from back in the early nineties and EU directives, with a re-vamp in the 2007 version of these, and then again in the 2015 ones.
In short, they encourage construction and building works to be safe, and reduce the accidents and deaths caused from these works. The emphasis is on all those involved, from the client right down to the actual contractor, to make sure things are done correctly and safely.
It's part of the whole 'health and safety' compliance side of things, and one of many specific pieces of ‘H&S’ legislation and angles that need to be considered. Whatever procedures and systems are used then these may also satisfy this and other requirements, whereas there will be other unique ones needed just for this specific obligation.
All Made Simple By Traffic Lights
There's already a host of technical information available for these CDM regs either free or through appointed specialists, although this is aimed at those involved in the nitty-gritty of the construction process like contractors and architects. For those lay-people involved in property, whether a landlord or owner, or even a property manager primarily needs to know the basic principles of many things and involve other specialists where needed.
So let's keep it that simple here, and the overall gist. And practically, let's look at this through simple stages like the lights of a traffic light, beginning with the red, to the orange, and then green.
1. The 'Red' Principles & People
So begin with knowing whether CDM applies, and who to. Fortunately for safety purposes, but unfortunately for work load purposes, this now applies to basically all kinds of building and construction works after the 2015 changes, from full blown new building jobs, fit outs, or alterations - to simple maintenance, and even cleaning and from specialist areas like mechanical and engineering, to specific tasks like demolition. All works are automatically included.
To make matters worse, the 'client' has the ultimate responsibility. So even a landlord of a straightforward property needing maintenance has the duty to comply with this now, and can't simply pass the buck. Before 2015 there was a CDM Coordinator who helped take the responsibility, but now the end liability is directing with the client who is instructing whatever works.
However, one exception is with domestic property when it's your own home or connected with your family, as opposed to business purposes which will fall in with these obligations. In this home situation, the 'client' automatically does pass the buck to the contractor or designer they instruct, unless they specifically stated otherwise; with this ultimate liability, the client can formally pass the responsibility to both a Contractor and/or Designer, and if there are multiple ones involved with bigger projects (including sub-contractors) then there will need to be a Principle Contractor and Principle Designer to take overall co-ordination.
2. The 'Orange' Notification to HSE
In some cases the Health & Safety Executive need to formally have notice of what works you're doing, who may then decide to look further into and make sure things are being run nice and safely.
The good news is that this is only for bigger jobs, technically if over 30 working days and over 20 workers simultaneously are involved, or over 500 person days.
This became a higher threshold after 2015 in order to reduce the involvement of HSE, although the above obligation for the client to ultimately be liable under CDM for law construction jobs also then become apparent.
3. The 'Green' Documentation & Procedures
Once you know who has to be involved, and whether HSE need formal notification, you then need to simply comply with these regulations. This boils down to everyone having a good procedure to make sure the job runs safety and smoothly.
This all needs to happen as a team effort, although with certain duty holders spear-heading certain things, the whole final job must mean everyone works together for the overall objective. So lots of buzz words like co-operation, co-ordination, and communication are involved - amongst duty holders who are knowledgeable, skilled, capable, and experienced to not only do the job at hand but do it safely in accordance with CDM.
In terms of what issues these procedures and documentation need to cover, it's not only the typical one you'll see in a Risk Assessment or Method Statement, but taking into account the detail of that particular property, job, and other people involved, in addition to practical provisions like welfare facilities on site.
When it comes down to paperwork, then the Pre Construction Information and then Construction Phase Plan are key to summarise the bottom-line information needed both before you begin any works as you plan, and then as you actually carry them out. You'll need to check documents from other people, existing building info like Health & Safety files and surveys, and any general site rules and procedures.
Right at the end of the project, a final Health & Safety file can then be handed back to the client as record of everything.
Don't Forget the CDM Basics
In the busyness of any maintenance or construction job, don't get baffled by CDM and just assume that someone else will do this, or that other obligations like Risk Assessments will automatically comply with it.
In reality all works will now by default have this CDM obligation. The whole notification to HSE is a separate issue for bigger jobs and does not get you out of still complying with CDM for smaller ones.
Bottom out who the parties are, with the client then formally delegating out. Clarify this in writing with any instructions, and make sure the right documentation is then completed to not only tick boxes but reflect the reality of everyone working together safely.
After all, this is all meant to genuinely help people work safe and reduce the likelihood of accidents.