Ashleigh Clarke Architects

The EU Directive and Understanding the CDM Regulations


Posted: September, 2020

Author: AC Architects

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Why do we need the CDM Regulations?

It has been 20 years since the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations CDM and since then there has been a second revision to implement the requirements of the European Parliament. The changes made have also improved moral and ethical requirements into the construction industry. If the regulations are not carried out various actions can have serious consequences including injury and even death. The regulations are set out to support the coordinated workforce of client, designer, and contractor to put together plans, select capable people to work together and produce a system of work to deliver unique and successful architecture.

Proposed changes in 2015

There were many improvements made in the construction industry with principles set up at the beginning of projects, such as health and safety policies, pre qualification questionnaires and competence schemes. They were set out to to provide an illusion of safety and burden designers, construction managers and site operatives with increased paperwork to demonstrate compliance. When an accident occurs further paperwork is embarked on to apportion blame, and also additional layers of other paperwork added in an attempt to prevent the accident from happening again. This is a self-perpetuating cycle which seems to have no purpose beyond litigation. However, after the false start in 2007, the HSE has in 2015 finally attempted with government support, help to stop unnecessary bureaucracy and help to promote a ‘proportionate approach’ to design and construction projects. This was found to help assist small and medium enterprises in particular to take appropriate steps to do their job; to deliver beautiful buildings, meet client requirements and earn a living while facilitating the safety of others whom they work with.

However, there has been many concerns in the industry surrounding the proposals made. The HSE now accepts integration off the Regulations over a six month transitional period to ease the process of change and to reduce the amount of paperwork. But also at the same time minimising the risk of litigation and accidents in a proportionate manner. This will require considerable more patience and good practice skills. The whole industry must therefore work together to affect change. It is the designer, institutes of the architects and civil engineers who can set the standards and level of acceptable practice.

Why do we need to acknowledge the EU Directive?

The EU Directive underpins the original introduction of the CDM Regulations in 1994/5 and is still in place today. In spite of this its imminent review, the need to copy out this legislation in CDM 2015 is primary aim of the government and HSE in order to avoid any financial penalties. There is also a requirement to improve safety in design considerations.

In the early design stages it states that; when a project is being carried out, a large number of occupational accidents may be caused by inadequate coordination (the design and construction stages) particularly where various undertakings work simultaneously or in succession at the same temporary or mobile construction site. So it is therefore necessary to improve coordination between various parties concerned at the project preparation stage and also when the work is being carried out. However, construction stage site is now more coordinated and operates now on larger sites, but not on smaller ones. There is also a requirement to improve safety in design considerations. It states that; the council wanted to encourage improvements, especially in the working environment to ensure a better level of protection of the safety and health of workers.

This turned out to be a key part in introducing the original motivation for the CDM Regulations in 1994, and the two later iterations in 2007 and now 2015.

Author: AC Architects

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