Helping you understand CDM regulations and what needs to be done to adhere to its requirements is possibly the least sexy and exciting element of guidance that AMH Projects will provide. However, it is just as important as every other step of the process, and part of our due diligence in delivering the most professional and thorough service as possible.
The reason why you need to comply with the regulations is simply that the project you are undertaking will inherently create risks, and these risks are your responsibility to safely manage. This is the importance of appointing competent and experienced professionals to assist with the management of said risks, namely a principal designer and principal contractor. This will help ensure that no-one is harmed during a project, and that your building is safe to use and maintain, whilst giving you good value for money. Effective planning will also help ensure that your work is well managed with fewer unexpected costs and problems.
Failing to comply to CDM 2015, means that your project could be putting workers and others at risk of harm, and that the finished structure may not achieve good standards and be value for money. If you don’t appoint a principal designer or principal contractor you will be responsible for the things that they should have done. Serious breaches of health and safety legislation on your construction project could result in construction work being stopped by HSE or your local authority and additional work may be needed to put things right. In the most serious circumstances, you could be prosecuted.
Here are 10 steps to follow to ensure your project runs as smoothly as possible:
1. Appoint the right people at the right time
If more than one contractor will be involved, you will need to appoint (in writing) a principal designer and a principal contractor.
A principal designer is required to plan, manage and coordinate the planning and design work. Appoint them as early as possible so they can help you gather information about the project and ensure that the designers have done all they can to check that it can be built safely.
A principal contractor is required to plan, manage and coordinate the construction work. Appoint them as early as possible so they are involved in discussions with the principal designer about the work.
2. Ensure there are arrangements in place for managing and organising the project
The work is more likely to be done without harming anyone, and to be completed on time if it is properly planned and managed. Sometimes the work is complex and uses many different trades. Often it involves high-risk work. The principal designer should understand the types of risks and try to avoid them when designing your project. The principal contractor or builder should manage the risks on site.
3. Allow adequate time
Work that is rushed is likely to be unsafe and of poor quality. Allow enough time for the design, planning and construction work to be undertaken properly.
4. Provide information to your designer and contractor
Putting together a ‘client brief’ at the earliest stages which includes as much information as you have about the project, along with the timescales and budget for the build and how you expect the project to be managed can help you to set the standards for managing health and safety.
5. Communicate with your designer and building contractor
During the design and planning stage, you, your designer and contractor need to discuss issues affecting what will be built, how it will be built, how it will be used and how it will be maintained when finished. This will avoid people being harmed or having unexpected costs because issues were not considered when design changes could still easily be made.
6. Ensure adequate welfare facilities on site
Make sure that your contractor has planned for adequate welfare facilities for their workers before the work starts.
7. Ensure a construction phase plan is in place
The principal contractor has to draw up a plan explaining how health and safety risks will be managed.
8. Keep the health and safety file
At the end of the build the principal designer should give you a health and safety file. It is a record of useful information which will help you manage health and safety risks during any future maintenance, repair, construction work or demolition.
9. Protecting members of the public, including your employees
Discuss with your designer and contractor how the construction work may affect how you run your business, eg you may have to re-route pedestrian access; make sure signs to your entrance are clear; or change the way your deliveries operate.
10. Ensure workplaces are designed correctly
If your project is for a new workplace or alterations to an existing workplace, it must meet the standards set out in the Workplace Regulations 1992.
Please get in touch with our knowledgeable team, with decades of experience in safely designing and managing workspace projects if you have questions, on 0117 231 0077.