Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

Lukewarm response to HSE's CDM-C rethink

The chief executive of the body representing CDM coordinators has warned that any move to combine the role with that of a project designer or other member of the project team would be a retrograde step for construction safety.

Brian Law, chief executive of the Association for Project Safety (APS), issued the warning in the wake of HSE construction chief Philip White’s interview with CM last month. In the interview White called for an overhaul of the role of the CDM coordinator and for a reduction in the number of competence cards in the industry.

Law said: “There is absolutely nothing in the current CDM regulations that prevents designers or project managers filling the role of CDM coordinator on schemes. But the reality is that neither the design fraternity nor the contracting fraternity have shown a widespread interest in taking on the role. That’s why it is simpler and more effective to have a duty holder in the role. It clarifies responsibility within the project and removes ambiguity about who is responsible within the project team.”

The HSE is to issue a consultation document this spring on revising the CDM Regulations and the Approved Code of Practice, with implementation due in April 2014. One idea the HSE is believed to be considering is splitting the CDM-C role, so that separate CDM-Cs would be appointed for the pre-construction and construction phases, ensuring safety coordination is embedded in design and procurement.

Law said that the UK regulations should be amended to stipulate that the CDM coordinator must be appointed at the beginning of a project. A recent APS survey of 2,926 projects revealed that just 17% of schemes had appointed a CDM coordinator prior to the design stage and only 38% of projects had appointed one during the design stage.

Law added: “In Ireland the regulations state quite clearly that the CDM coordinator must be appointed at the outset of a project and I don’t see why that isn’t the case here.”

On White’s call for a cut in the number of health and safety qualifications and “competence” cards, Law said: “The principle of card schemes is fine, but I think the industry needs an over-arching authority that basically registers and approves, and streamlines, the courses and qualifications that site workers should complete.”

A spokesperson for the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC), which operates the widely respected Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) Card, said the disparities between various card schemes identified by White were “frankly self-evident”.

But he added: “Much energy and effort has been expended in trying to resolve these disparities by those parties whose interests are represented. I think we need to give these groups time to work through the process.”

Web comments on Philip White interview

From a subbies’ point of view, why are there schemes set up by individual contractors which need to be adhered to before you work on their sites? Why can’t there be one document that everyone adheres to? Bill Price

This might be fantastic news for the industry if Philip White and the HSE really get to grips with the bloated, self-serving training and accreditation schemes that have been pushed and cajoled into being by contractors and government bodies. Liam Power

It’s the HSE that lacks credibility. How many prosecutions have there been for clients failing to perform their duties? What interest do HSE inspectors have in anything other than what happens on site? David Truscott

HSE: Archaeological digs are subject to CDM regulations

A CIOB initiative is helping to clear up uncertainty over whether the CDM regulations apply to pre-construction archeological digs where there is a time lag between archaeological excavations and the arrival of the main contractor.

In 2010, CM reported how CIOB members Andrew Townsend and Howard Prosser had put together a working group to clarify when and how CDM applied to archaeological digs by producing HSE-approved guidance.

That group has since merged with the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME), which was already the main body co-ordinating H&S in the archaeology sector. Townsend joined FAME’s executive board.

The group met senior HSE staff last November, when the HSE indicated that CDM applied on all development-led digs, even when far in advance of the actual construction work.

Adrian Tindall, chief executive of FAME, told CM: “It now seems clear that development-led archaeology does fall under CDM, and will continue to do so under the new [2014] regulations. Contact with the HSE will continue, and we will be pressing for greater clarity in the revised regulations.”

Pre-construction archaeology is a regular feature of schemes in London, as at Stanhope’s 8-10 Moorgate (above) where Museum of London Archaeology recently investigated. Finds suggest the area was home to glass making, pottery production, metal working and leather working in Roman times.

Stanhope’s 8-10 Moorgate, London, where Museum of London Archaeology recently investigated


Is a CDM-C a more effective duty holder and does their role remove ambiguity on responsibility?? My own view is 'not necessarily'. Implementation of CDM processes should be managed by those parties fully responsible for the project. When designers and PMs see the value of adopting this approach first hand then their efforts will be more effective. Adding a layer of 'specialist duty holder' has in some case been detrimental.

  • 12th Feb 2013, at 02:04 PM
  • Henry Curtis

I tend to disagree with Mr Curtis. I am both a Project Manager and a CDM-Co. As a Project Manager you have enough going on at the start of a project, the CDM-Co takes this H&S headache away and allows the project manger to form his team. The CDM-Co if operating correctly adds value to the project team at the start of a project, during and at the end, with client instructions/comments, contractors concerns/comments, designer concerns/comments and the Construction Phase Plan. Once the CDM-Co is nominated any ambiguity is removed from the project of: who does what, and has it been done?

  • 18th Feb 2013, at 10:40 PM
  • Graham Skeer

Leave a comment


27 February 2017 Housing association offers offsite expertise to rest of industry

27 February 2017 Shard developer Irvine Sellar dies

27 February 2017 CIOB mourns passing of 'special' past president Professor Li Shirong

27 February 2017 Balfour exits ME as part of 'simplification' programme

27 February 2017 Southwark pleads guilty over Lakanal House fire

27 February 2017 Lendlease to build Google King's Cross HQ

26 February 2017 London firm fined £450k for work at height incident

26 February 2017 Tradesmen sentenced for £300k tax fraud

26 February 2017 Boardman peddles benefits of collaboration at Trimble event

23 February 2017 Report slams government free schools spending

23 February 2017 T&T appoints Tom Deacon as head of digital

23 February 2017 Talent scale lays bare extent of skills crisis

23 February 2017 Morgan Sindall reports 2016 profit of £44m

23 February 2017 Barratt profits jump on regional strength

23 February 2017 Consultation on future of CITB launched

22 February 2017 Project spotlight: How Reading's Thames Tower was made fit for 21st century

21 February 2017 Galliford Try sets 2% margin in new strategy

21 February 2017 Skanska to trial augmented reality hard hats

21 February 2017 Engineering report reveals 20,000 pa skills shortfall

21 February 2017 EIC calls for new recycling targets post-Brexit