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MANAGING HEALTH & SAFETY AND CDM REGULATION 2015 ON PROPERTY PROJECTS

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MANAGING HEALTH & SAFETY AND CDM REGULATION 2015 ON PROPERTY PROJECTS


I have written this brief article to help shed some light on a commonly misunderstood area of being a landlord or developer, as it is often something that can be completely missed – with potentially serious legal consequences. However, I have not written it to scare anyone! Instead, I hope it will provide a good starting point and knowledge base from which you can find out more information for your future projects.

“you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Why do all investors and developers need to know about the CDM Regulations 2015?

As property investors or developers, we all know there is a lot to think about. Planning and managing our live projects keep’s us busy on a day to day basis. At the same time, we are keeping an eye out for future projects. (See what I am getting at?)

Therefore, it is no surprise that we don’t all have time to sit down and read every regulation, and the changes that may or may not apply to us.

The changes that were brought about to the CDM Regulations in April 2015 had a dramatic impact on landlords or developers, as the new regulations now class us as commercial clients. With this title, we now have many more legal responsibilities to carry out. These “duties” are now non-assignable, whereas previously we would nominate a CDM Co-ordinator to manage the process (this role no longer exists, so if you’re paying someone for it ... STOP! – it still happens). Some of these new duties are outlined here:


 It is the client’s responsibility to appoint the duty holders in writing (Principal Designer and Principal Contractor).

  • To take reasonable steps to ensure that other duty holders are carrying out their duties.
  • To ensure that there are sufficient timescales for projects.
  • To ensure that relevant pre-construction information is prepared and passed to designers and contractors. A simple example would be to notify of site- specific hazards such as known underground services information
  • You must provide adequate welfare facilities for the site to meet a minimum standard; this includes warm water
  • If your interests in the project change (ie, you sell) you must pass on the Health & Safety file.
  • To ensure that any members of your team that you appoint are trained, and have the correct experience and capabilities to carry out the project.

 

When do the CDM Regulations apply?

The CDM Regulations 2015 apply to all construction projects; this includes but is not limited to alterations, repairs, renovation, redecoration, cleaning and even preparation for a site works to start. A question we often get asked is, “if we do not have to submit an F10 form, does it mean that the CDM Regulations do not apply?” The answer to this is NO; no matter the length of your construction project, the CDM Regulations will always apply. An F10 form is only required if your project is expected to last longer than 30 days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point, or exceed 500-person days, ie ten people work 50 days.

 

Who are the main duty holders you need to be aware of?

The CDM Regulations 2015 set out five possible main duty holders that you need to be aware of; two of these duty holder’s other than the commercial client have been briefly outlined here with an overview of their duties. You should be able to demonstrate how you have checked the competencies and that they are carrying out their duties on your project.

A good starting point is to outline what is meant by the word competence. In the context of the CDM Regulations 2015, it is split up into four parts consisting of skills, knowledge, training and experience.


COMPETENCE =
SKILLS +
KNOWLEDGE +
TRAINING +
EXPERIENCE


Each part should be considered when picking members to form part of your project team. It is not necessarily the end of the road if you have a good contractor who you want to work with, but who is unable to fully demonstrate any parts of competency. It may mean that you need to provide extra training or additional consultancy skills or support for this team member to meet your commercial client duties. The cost implication of doing this should be considered, as these services can add up quickly. Furthermore, you will need to check whether the potential team member is happy to receive the additional training or support.

For instance, getting a Health & Safety consultant to guide your Principal Contractor will help him meet the legal requirements; however, if your contractor has a poor attitude towards Health & Safety, they are unlikely to take recommendations seriously, putting themselves and also you as the commercial client at risk should an accident happen. We would always recommend avoiding any contractor with a bad attitude towards Health & Safety, because apart from the commercial and legal implementations, we also have a moral duty to ensure that people on our projects do not get injured, whether they are part of the site team or members of public affected by our works

We have talked about our duties as commercial clients; now we will look at the duties of the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. These descriptions provide a brief overview of their duties and some of the things you should be aware of in order to be able to check they are carrying out those duties.

 

Principal Designer

The Principal Designer (PD) should be appointed in writing by you, the commercial client. Failure to do this will mean that you will default to taking on these responsibilities in the eyes of the law.


The PD is responsible for influencing how the Health & Safety risks are controlled and incorporated into the delivery of the project throughout the design stages. To do this, they must plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate these issues in the pre- construction information, making sure they employ the principles of prevention throughout the design stages. Ideally, the PD should be appointed at the very start of the project; this will allow them to be most effective and carry out the following duties fully.

  • Take account of the principles of prevention.
  • Identify, eliminate or control foreseeable risks to health & safety of any member of the construction, maintenance or cleaning teams.
  • Ensure all designers comply with their duties throughout the project.
  • Complete the Health & Safety file while they are engaged in the project.

 

Principal Contractor

As with the PD, the Principle Contractor (PC) must be appointed in writing by you, the commercial client. Failure to do this will mean that you take on the duties as PC and in our experience, this is something you most certainly do not want unless you are experienced at doing so.

The PC must ensure that all other contractors have the correct skills, knowledge, training and experience. They must also write a Construction Phase Plan to outline how they are going to carry out the site works, and a safe method of doing so. They will need to provide supervision for the site works to ensure that all Health & Safety guidance and legal requirements are followed. Their other duties are summarised here:

  • Estimate the time required to carry out the works.
  • Ensure that the construction phase plan is followed or amended to show the latest method of works.
  • Prevent unauthorised access to the site.
  • Liaise with the PD.
  • Engage and consult with workers.
  • Provide a suitable site induction.


As I am sure you can appreciate, to give a detailed insight into the world of Health & Safety is sadly not possible in this short article. However, I hope this has given you some ideas as to what you need to be looking out for when starting your own projects. In view of this, we would strongly recommend getting someone you can rely on to help you through the process and, importantly, add value from their service.


Please feel free to contact any of us using the details below. If you have questions about any of your own projects that are underway now or coming up and think we may be able to help, please get in touch.

 

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Friday, 22 September 2017

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