On the 6th of April 2007 the government introduced The new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations which are designed to improve the general safety of construction sites and cut down on the number of accidents experienced during construction projects.
This new set of regulations will replace two predecessors - The CMD Regulations 1994 and The Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. Any outdated regulations were updated before the two sets were consolidated into a single new set of rules and guidelines.
Despite advances in construction and communication technology construction sites are still considered to be unnecessarily dangerous working environments, with around one third of all workplace fatalities occurring in construction and many thousands of injured occurring during construction projects each year. These injuries and deaths have a wide reaching significant impact with colleagues, family, friends and of course the unfortunate individual, not to mention the possible legal implications for the construction company involved.
The primary aim of the new regulations is to build construction health and safety into every stage of building projects from start to finish. The regulations apply to everyone involved with a construction project and stipulate that each must take account of health and safety. This starts with the Client who commissions the construction works and includes Designers, Principle Contractors, Contractors and Construction Workers.
Another aim of the new regulations is the discouragement and removal of all unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy which are since as a major contributing factor in construction injuries and fatalities. By eliminating hazards at the earliest stages of design and focussing effort where it will be most effective the new regulations should allow for more attention to be paid to important on site issues.
Whilst these benefits of the new CDM regulations clearly apply to construction companies, construction workers and other related professions, many of them also impact directly on clients who either do their own small scale construction and maintenance work or contract it out to others. If a person believes the new regulations do not affect them because they are not involved in the construction industry then they are probably wrong. For example, if the person has responsibility for any property that requires occasional maintenance work then, as the Client, they are required to comply with some very specific duties.
Within the new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations a domestic client is defined as anyone who lives, or will live in the premises where the construction work is carried out. Although a domestic client does not have construction health and safety duties under the CDM Regulations 2007 anyone employed by them on a construction project will.
Other roles also have defined duties under the new CDM regulations, for example:
If a person is in doubt about the specific implications of the new CDM Regulations on their own construction project and require guidance about their own responsibilities, it would be advisable to employ the services of professional construction health and safety consultants.