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CDM 2007 FAQs: General Questions about CDM 2007 for Clients and Other Duty Holders

What are these Regulations about?

The CDM 2007 Regulations are about focusing attention on effective planning and management of construction projects, from design concept onwards. The aim is for health and safety considerations to be treated as a normal part of a project's development, not an afterthought or bolt on extra. The object of the CDM 2007 Regulations is to reduce the risk of harm to those that have to build use and maintain structures.

Do the CDM 2007 Regulations apply to all construction projects?

CDM 2007 applies to all construction projects where people are at work.

When is a construction project "notifiable"?

A project is notifiable to the HSE if the construction phase will be longer than 30 days or 500 person days of construction work. (Projects for operational railways will be notifiable to the Office of Rail Regulation). An F10 form for doing this is available on the HSE web site.

Does the 30 days include weekends, bank holidays etc?

Any day on which construction work takes place is counted. What matters is how many days of construction work the project entails, not when these days occur.

What actually comprises a construction project?

The definition of a construction project includes not only the construction work itself, but also all planning, design, and management or other work carried out before and during the project until the end of the construction phase.

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Can a person or organisation discharge more than a one CDM 2007 duty?

Yes, an individual or company can discharge more than one CDM 2007 function provided they have the appropriate level of competence. It is not necessary for individuals or companies with CDM 2007 duties to be independent of one another. For example, clients may decide to discharge the co-ordination duties themselves or they may appoint the lead designer as the Co-ordinator. It is possible for all the duties to be discharged by the same company. However a formal appointment of a Co-ordinator and principal contractor for notifiable jobs must be made.

Do the new CDM 2007 Regulations apply to property developers?

Yes. Property developers are carrying out work in the furtherance of a business, and therefore they are 'clients' under the Regulations.

Would a property developer building or converting one house be considered a domestic client?

No, this is work in furtherance of a business and CDM 2007applies to developers constructing a new dwelling or converting an existing dwelling, and such projects are notifiable if the construction phase will be longer than 30 days or 500 person days of construction work. A CDM Co-ordinator and Principal Contractor must be appointed.

What about self build houses?

If the project is intended to be occupied by the client / self build contractor and they are not a business, then the construction project would be considered domestic.

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What about demolition?

A plan detailing the arrangements for how demolition work will be carried out must be prepared before demolition or dismantling work begins. This applies to all demolition work regardless of size, duration or whether the job is notifiable. Demolition means the deliberate pulling down, destruction or taking apart of a structure, or a substantial part of a structure. Similarly, dismantling will be considered to be the taking down or taking apart of all, or a substantial part of a structure.

Construction operations such as the making of openings for doors, windows, services or removing non structural elements such as, stripping cladding, removing roof tiles and similar operations is not considered to be demolition or dismantling in themselves. Where these operations are combined with other operations they may together form demolition and dismantling projects.

The erection and taking down of a scaffold used for the purposes of construction is construction work. The striking of a scaffold will not be considered to be the demolition or dismantling of a structure.

What is the difference between a construction phase plan and a health and safety file?

The construction phase plan is prepared by the principal contractor for notifiable projects, to outline the arrangements for managing health and safety on site during construction work.

The health and safety file is prepared or revised by the CDM Co-ordinator for notifiable projects. It will require the CDM Co-ordinator to liaise with the client, designers, principal contractor and contractors. The file will contain information necessary for future construction, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition to be carried out safely, and is retained by the client or any future owner of the property. (Where a client gets non-notifiable work done, and a health and safety file already exists for the premises, it should be updated if necessary). The file should be a usual and valuable document for the client.

I have heard that competence is now a key issue in new CDM 2007 Regulations. Why is this?

CDM 2007 competence is about being able to perform your health and safety requirements and avoiding contravening health and safety law. The duties in the CDM 2007 Regulations work in two ways. Persons making appointments have to take reasonable steps to ensure that those who are appointed are competent for what they are expected to do. Likewise, those accepting such appointments should only do so if they are competent to undertake the activity.

The CDM 2007 ACOP Appendix 4 provides practical guidance to assist people in assessing competence. The advice given in the ACOP will make the assessment of corporate and individual competence easier. The CDM 2007 ACOP Appendix 5 sets out further requirements for more complex projects.

Note of caution: The ACoP cannot specify levels or degrees of competence for persons acting as a duty holder. The ACoP specifies a range of circumstances and levels of attainment that would provide a guide to competence but this cannot be, in itself, considered definitive. ICS accredits its members such that any member is deemed competent to perform the duties of CDM-C. The Client has a duty to carry out a further assessment of competence of the CDM-C relative to their project.

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Pre Construction Information - as a client, do I have to provide information about asbestos which may be present in the structure?

Yes. You must provide this information so that those planning or bidding for the work can allocate resources for the control of asbestos. You should already hold information about the presence or otherwise of asbestos, but if you have no information, then you should arrange for a comprehensive asbestos survey to be carried out by a competent person/s. This is particularly important where the project involves demolition.

It is not acceptable, for example, to inform others that 'there may be asbestos present on the site'. You must carry out a survey that identifies whether asbestos is present, and if so, where it is situated and what type it is.

Site Health and Safety - what about Part 4 of CDM 2007?

Part 4 of the Regulations contains the duties to control specific work / site risks which were formerly contained as provisions in the Construction Health Safety and Welfare Regulations 1996. For example, requirements on safe working near excavations, during demolition and dismantling, while working with explosives and maintaining safe access to and from places of work are contained here.

Part 4 applies to all construction work and places duties on any person carrying out construction work, or any person under the control of a person carrying out construction work.

Reg 13(6) requires contractors to prevent unauthorised access to sites, and Reg 27(2) requires sites to be identified with signs and/or fenced off. Isn't this the same thing?

No. Reg 13(6) requires the contractor to take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site. This could be access by members of the public, site workers, visitors, or delivery drivers. For instance, the contractor may wish to control access to the site, and limit it to those who have received a site induction.

Reg 27(2) deals with circumstances where there are risks to health and safety on the site, and it is necessary to use signage around the perimeter, or fence it off completely if the risks warrant this. For instance, painting work in an occupied office block may just be taped off with a warning sign. Pavement works in the street might have temporary barriers in place, but a larger construction site with greater hazards may require a hoarding or secure fencing.

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