Previously the CDM coordinator acted as the ‘key project advisor’ to the Client in respect of construction health and safety, however under CDM2015, several of the previous functions of the CDM coordinator are now to be carried out by the Client directly, and the wording for these duties is more onerous. Clients that need help with their duties are advised in the HSE Guidance Document to seek competent specialist advice.
If Clients need help in making these arrangements, they could draw on the competent advice they are required to have under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR99), Regulation 7. Although not required by CDM2015, many clients are appointing a ‘Client Advisor’ to advise them on their client duties under the Regulations.
CDM2015 reinforces the impact Clients can have on a project. Regulations 4 and 5 set out the Client’s duty to make suitable arrangements for managing a project and maintaining and reviewing them for its duration so that it is carried out in a way that manages the health and safety risks involved.
Under CDM2015, the client is exposed to a greater burden of having to check and review health and safety arrangements throughout the life of a project. Put simply, a Client can no longer appoint a CDM Co-ordinator (as it was under CDM2007) and a Principal Contractor, and assume they are performing their duties adequately.
CDM2015 places absolute obligations on the Client to:
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor comply with their relevant duties (reg 4(6));
- Appoint (where there is more than one contractor) a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor in writing. The appointments must be made as soon as is practicable, and in any event, before the construction phase begins (reg 5);
If the Client fails to appoint a Principal Designer, the Client must fulfil the duties of the Principal Designer in regulations 11 and 12. If the Client fails to appoint a Principal Contractor, the Client must fulfil the duties of the Principal Contractor in regulations 12 to 14.
- Ensure a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) is drawn up before the construction phase begins (reg 4(5)(a)); and
Ensure the Principal Designer (where there is more than one contractor) prepares the health and safety file for the project (reg 4(5)(b)).
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