Construction (Design & Management) (CDM) Regulations 2015 for Builders
What Does CDM 2015 Mean For Builders?
The Principal Contractor
Since 6th April 2015, every job, including domestic work, requires a Principal Contractor who will take overall control for the day to day running of the project. This is the same whether you are a building company with in-house tradesmen or a one man band who brings in trades as needed. Someone will have to be appointed by the Client as Principal Contractor.
If you are working for a domestic client and they appoint various contractors themselves, as often happens, the contractor with the most amount of work to do will be assumed to have accepted the role of Principal Contractor by default. The same will follow for the role of Principal Designer on a domestic project; if the householder fails to appoint either the Architect or the Principal Contractor as Principal Designer, the Principal Contractor will normally assume that role and the responsibilities that go with it.
The builder – now called the Principal Contractor has a range of duties to fulfil on all projects, large or small:
• You must prepare a Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan. You do not have to do this yourself if you have no experience in this; you can arrange for a competent person to do it for you. You may find it useful to approach a former CDM Coordinator to carry out this work for you.
• You must ensure that there are suitable welfare facilities on site, including toilets and somewhere for the workers to have their breaks. Welfare facilities must be provided from the very first day, and must remain on site until all works have finished.
• You must make sure the site/ works area is secured when unattended, and that no one is placed at risk during the works. The may include erecting barriers to make sure that no one can get close to any open pits or trenches, blocking off scaffolds to prevent unauthorised people climbing it, or making sure that excessive dust or noise is contained.
• You must make sure that everyone who comes onto the site has a suitable site induction, and this needs to be recorded.
• You need to be certain that the contractors you engage are competent, not only to do their job, but from a health and safety perspective as well. Price is always an important factor, but as Principal Contractor you will need to be happy that your chosen subbie is able to carry out his works safely without making shortcuts. Accepting the cheapest price and ignoring health and safety requirements may well cost you dearly. As Principal Contractor you are responsible for what happens on site.
• As Principal Contractor you will need to make sure that you have someone responsible on site at all times. This does not need to be one of your own people, it can be a trusted sub-contractor foreman. No matter who you leave in charge – as Principal Contractor you are responsible if they allow shortcuts to be taken or the agreed procedures to be bypassed.