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No Hiding Place with Revised CDM

From the beginning of next month the revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) come into force and Cristina Vanella, Senior Consultant, Turner & Townsend, explains the radical changes they bring to the ‘domestic’ sector

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations – CDM for short – apply to all commercial or domestic construction works.

However, until now, the CDM Regs gave specific duties to commercial clients only. From April, the new Regulations will apply to ‘domestic clients’ as well. But exactly who is a domestic client? Essentially, it is any householder planning to do building or construction work on their properties.

The CDM Regulations are UK legislation derived from a European Directive governing construction and building work sites. Whether a person is planning to do a loft conversion, or build an extension, thanks to the European Union (EU), he or she will now be a ‘CDM Domestic Client’, and have specific legal duties throughout the building work and have to pay for this obligation.

DELEGATING THE WORK

As the building work is carried out on the resident’s behalf, that person will have to make suitable arrangements for managing the project. The householder will be able to delegate ‘how’ this duty will be satisfied, but the legal requirement is still with the client and this, no doubt, will add to the cost from both the architect and the tradespeople who undertake the work.

In a nutshell, the ‘transferred duties’ on to a contractor or designer will involve:

    • Notifying the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) about the works.
    • Ensuring that the contractor writes a suitable and sufficient construction phase plan (along with risk assessment/method statement) before setting up site within the property, and that it is reviewed periodically to ensure works are carried out safely.
    • Ensuring that contractors have adequate welfare facilities proportional to the number of people on site, as dictated by law.
    • That any information in possession is passed on to the designer and contractors clearly, before they tender and plan the works.
    • That any information generated by the works, e.g. drawings and user manuals are passed on to the householder/client.

Under CDM 2015, clients cannot perform domestic client duties themselves. So, they should want to ‘ensure’ that the selected contractor, or designer, carry out the transferred client duties diligently, and also their own duties.

As they have to carry out and ensure client duties, doubtless, there will be an additional CDM fee on designer and builder quotes. This could easily add 5% plus VAT, if not more, to the cost of the project.

CONCLUSION

How the application and enforcement of the CDM Regs on domestic clients will practically come about is difficult to assess. How they will be enforced by HSE is also unclear, but the likely outcome is that householders will be paying extra for a service that is of minimal, if any value and make no difference to the outcome of their works

Having no precedent for this in the domestic market, clients will be open to both statutory risk and profiteering, without the professional support that commercial clients enjoy.

For further information, contact Cristina Vanella, e-mail: cristina.vanella@turntown.co.uk or tel: 07908 414290.

Caption            From April, as building work will be carried out on the resident’s behalf, that person will have to make suitable arrangements for managing the project.

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