Revised legislation for construction design and management went live in April this year saw changes introduced to the legal obligations of clients in construction projects.
The changes acknowledge that the client, as the head of the supply chain, is in the best position to affect the attitudes towards health and safety in the project as a whole.
Many large clients have taken this on board and made changes, now working more smartly and helping to address potential health and safety issues much earlier on in the process, at the design stage.
But, how do these changes affect smaller client organisations, particularly those who do not commonly have anything to do with construction? For example a business looking to build an extension or alter their own premises in some way.
Well, truth be told many will not be aware of the changes, but unfortunately this is not a valid reason for not complying with the legislation.
How to understand the new obligations
So if you are about to embark on a construction project, whether it be a “grand design” or something on a smaller scale you need to be aware of the new construction design and management regulations.
As early on in the project as you can and before you start to think about the possibility of engaging third parties to assist you, we would highly recommend a read a guidance document here.This will help you to understand your obligations under the Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulations 2015.
These are the key things that you will need to ensure:
You only use competent individuals to assist you
Find out as much as you can about them and ask for evidence to back up their claims. References from previous clients are also a good starting point.
There is also a publicly available “portal” where you can check if an assessment has been done on a company regarding their capability to undertake particular CDM roles, for example “Principal Contractor”.
You instruct individuals or organisations in writing
Where you wish them to act as the “Principal Designer” or “Principal Contractor”. Otherwise, without this, in the case of a dispute the client will be deemed to have retained these roles (and the responsibilities that go with them).
You provide those you will be working with, with as much information as you can
To help them assist you. You will hear the term “Pre-construction Information”. Your Principal Designer will assist you in preparing this, so if you have existing surveys or information pass this on to them.
Be clear on whether your project will be notifiable
This will depend on the duration of the project and the number of contractors involved.
It is the client’s responsibility to notify if the project does fall into the notifiable category. A definition of what counts as notifiable and how to do this is contained in the guidance referenced above.
The next steps
By surrounding yourself with a team to assist you in the delivery of your project who are experienced and have the right skills and knowledge to advise you, your project is well placed to run smoothly (be prepared for the odd hiccup, though – construction doesn’t always go as planned even with the best team in place!).
When you have a shortlist of individuals or organisations you would like to consider for the work you can put them through a questionnaire/ assessment to get answers to your questions and get copies of things like certificates (qualifications, insurance etc.).
Altius provide assessment services to lots of high street names but also provide software to allow smaller companies to do this. Please get in touch, we can help to inform you so you get a good fit of people working on your project, who are competent to undertake the relevant roles.
Photo credit: Alexanderplatz construction