Major changes to legislation on health and safety on construction projects

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The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 come into force on 6 April.  This new legislation replaces the 2007 regulations and will have important implications for health and safety requirements on construction projects.

The main changes introduced are that:

  • The CDM co-ordinator role will become obsolete and a 'principal designer' role will be introduced.  The principal designer will have control over the pre-construction phase of the project.
  • A construction phase plan will now need to be produced for all construction work, regardless of the size and nature of the project.  This requirement will no longer be limited to notifiable projects.
  • For the first time, domestic clients will come within the scope of the CDM regulations, although in practice they will be able to delegate most of their duties to the principal designer or principal contractor.

These changes will potentially have a significant impact on the construction industry.  The various parties involved in construction projects will need to re-evaluate their roles in relation to health and safety and it is likely that amendments will need to be made to building contracts and professional appointments.