The evolution of the CDM Regulations

Welcome to our first of a series of posts to offer information on our business and our specialist health, safety and environmental services.

This post will focus on the requirements of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 and how we can support all duty holders.

Where did all begin?

Both John and I were working for the Health and Safety Executive in 1997 soon after the original CDM Regulations were implemented in 1994, coming into force in the March of 1995. These original regulations were adopted to ensure the UK conformed to a European Directive - the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive (1992), which will now probably be a thing of the past!

CDM94 was implemented to place more responsibility on newly formed duty holders to plan, manage and monitor more effectively, construction works. The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations followed soon after in 1996 which implemented very specific requirements for activities such as excavations, demolition and dismantling, traffic routes and emergency procedures to mention a few.

Although these regulations were primarily required to implement EU Directives, they were also desperately needed to reduce the accidents and fatalities the industry was experiencing and had been so for so long.

As you can see from the graph below, the regulations in combination with a cultural safety shift within the construction sector, have helped to reduce fatalities.

Since 1994, the regulations have evolved to a point in 2015 when the most recent regulations were implemented. Follow this link for a useful timeline of how CDM has evolved over the last 25 years.

Where are we now?

So the CDM Regulations have seen many changes since 1994, a major overhaul in 2007 and again in 2015 with now another major review by the industry due next year.

Are the current CDM Regulations fit for purpose? Why are we having to review them again?

I feel there is a need for review for a number of reasons. All important H&S laws require a natural review every 5 years, granted, but is CDM 2015 fit for purpose? Do they need to be simplified, and the duty holders reminded of their duties - I think yes.

I don't believe there is universal understanding of the requirements, particularly around the Client's duties and that of the Principal Designer.

The final report from Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review into Building Regulations and fire safety, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, should be welcomed by construction health and safety professionals.

The Hackitt review flags up the need for a set of “rigorous and demanding” duty holder roles and responsibilities to ensure a stronger focus on building safety, broadly aligned with those set out in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, fire safety legislation and Building Regulations.

Based on recent experience, the CDM 2015 regulations have been compromised by confusion over technology, lack of knowledge of the regulations in the construction industry and, most importantly, an ignorance of those regulations by stakeholders.

We are currently participating in the consultation process through various agencies including my membership of the Association of Project Safety (APS) and others.

We will update you when we know more about how CDM may evolve again and share our advice on how best to comply.

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