CDM Changes

On 6 April 2015, new CDM Regulations will come into force which will replace the 2007 Regulations. For the first time, the CDM regulations will apply to all projects including domestic jobs. Small and medium size construction projects will now have to provide a written construction phase plan and manage health and safety.
The new regulations will also provide greater clarity, so that all parties involved in a project will have a better understanding of their roles in ensuring a safe construction site.
Principle Designer
The CDM co-ordinator role in the previous CDM Regs 2007 has now been replaced with a new role of principal designer. This means that a member of the design team will be responsible for coordinating the pre-construction phase.
Where more than one contractor is involved on a project, a principal designer and a principal contractor will need to be appointed.  While the 2007 regs saw the CDM coordinator role as primarily a pre-construction role, the new regulations will ensure the principal designer and contractor work together during the design phase and throughout the build to completion. This will provide more consistency and continuity, essential to the management of any successful construction project.
The client is considered to have the most influence and responsibility as the head of the supply. The client is responsible for budget setting, providing a skilled team as well as ensuring good standards of health and safety throughout the construction project. The new Regulations recognise this and the client’s duties are now described as ‘must do’.

The client, principal designer and contractor and any other duty holders must ensure that all persons they appoint have the right skills, knowledge, training and experience to fulfil their functions.
For clarity and ease of assessment this will be divided into the categories of skills, knowledge, training and experience and organisational capability (if applicable).

Health and safety
The client must make sure that a good level of health and safety is in place at the start and maintained throughout the project. The HSE has produced draft legal series guidance (L153) on the legal requirements for CDM 2015. These aim to reduce the number of accidents on construction sites particularly on smaller projects where there is greater cause for concern.

Inspection Service Plans

On 6 April 2013 the way in which Building Control worked with builders and home owners changed.

Instead of carrying out site inspections at fixed stages, the Local Authority were given the option of providing the builder/applicant with an Inspection Service Plan before commencement of works.

This plan will identify the stages of work where Building Control perform their inspections. The number and type of inspections will depend on the scope and complexity of the works, the construction methods used and the ground conditions, as well as the builder’s experience and competence.

This, in turn, is likely to be reflected in the fee that Building Control charges.

(‘…likely to…’, because these changes are yet to be implemented by some authorities.)

These inspections are expected to include the following stages:

  • When you start work
  • Foundation excavations – to assess ground conditions, required depths, the thickness of your concrete.
  • Damp proof course/Damp proof membrane – this includes any brickwork below ground level, floor insulation and preparation for your ground floor.
  • Drains – before drains are covered over.
  • External wall – to ensure proper construction and placing of insulation.
  • Completed roof structure, before removal of scaffolding and placing of insulation.
  • Before plastering
  • At completion.

Previously, for domestic work, Building Control would need to have been notified two days before commencement of the work and not more than five days after work had been completed, but now you must also notify building control at each stage outlined in your Inspection Service Plan in order for them to carry out site visits at those particular stages.

It is important to be aware that if the builder or owner fails to notify Building Control of the stages set out in the plan, they may not be issued a completion certificate.

The idea behind the changes is that service plans will provide flexibility to the site inspection process and allow Building Control to risk-assess builders in order to ascertain whether fewer visit could be carried out on particular jobs.

In theory this should lead to reduction in fees on jobs where Building Control play a smaller role and could potentially entice developers back from Approved Inspectors.

On the other hand more visits may be required for more complex jobs or where the builder is deemed less experienced (or even less trustworthy). Building Control are now able to charge more for these projects, hopefully leading to increased compliance of the building regulations overall.