01 Why bother?
Approximately 50% of all prosecutions under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) are against the client. For “notifiable” projects it is all too often for the same reasons — failure to ensure that any appointed persons are competent, allowing work to start without first assessing the adequacy of the construction phase plan, and failure to make relevant health and safety information available to those who need it. The CDM coordinator will be able to assist and advise on all of these issues, helping the client achieve compliance.
02 Appoint early
Designers are required to eliminate and, where this is not possible, reduce health and safety risks associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and eventual demolition of the structure. The CDM coordinator can help in ensuring designers realise this, but can only add real value if appointed at an early stage. Their contribution can play a major part in projects completing on time, within budget and without major incidents.
03 Competence is the key
Clients should only appoint competent dutyholders and the CDM coordinator is no exception. Appendix 4 of the CDM Approved Code of Practice — “Managing Health and Safety in Construction” — provides clear standards on what to look for when assessing competency. Using a CDM coordinator registered with the Association for Project Safety is a good start, but check that they have experience of working on projects of a similar size and complexity.
04 Developing partnerships
There are benefits to be had in building a partnership with a reliable practice of CDM co-ordinators. Once they have worked with you on a building they will have an appreciation of the building’s history, usage and limitations. This can prevent repetition of work — meaning reduced fees and a consistent level of service.
05 Added value
Look for value rather than the cheapest price. The CDM coordinator should be a focal point of the project team. Setting key performance indicators and project deliverables with the coordinator from the start can help ensure that everyone’s expectations are met.
By Simon Toseland, head of health and safety at Workplace Law and a registered CDM coordinator with the Association for Project Safety