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CDM 2015 3-years on

14 April 2020

3-years on from the introduction of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015, ICE publishes its own review of how effectively industry has understood and implemented the requirements

CDM 2015 3-years on
After several iterations of the CDM regulations, the view from industry is that there has been enough change and it needs some stability.

After some 20+ years and 3 iterations, doubts had persisted about certain aspects of the Construction Design & Management (CDM) regulations, which were causing inefficiencies and a general lack of Health & Safety enhancement.

The CDM 2015 Regulations were introduced with the purpose of improving worker health and safety by helping you to:

  • sensibly plan the work so the risks involved are managed from start to finish
  • have the right people for the right job at the right time
  • cooperate and coordinate your work with others
  • have the right information about the risks and how they are being managed
  • communicate this information effectively to those who need to know
  • consult and engage with workers about the risks and how they are being managed.

Despite these aims however, there appeared to be a mixed approach to how much of the 2015 Regulations were being implemented.

What the ICE review told us

The study, published first in Summer 2019 and updated for 2020, reports on the current practical acceptance and effectiveness of the regulations. It highlights areas of continuing concern and generally reflect how industry is coping and working with the revised Regulations.

The main conclusions of this study were that:

  • the construction industry has generally accepted CDM2015 and has adapted / is adapting to implementing them;
  • the domestic client market is one area where compliance is far from universal with, at the lower end of the market, little or no compliance;
  • the Principal Designer role is becoming accepted and more architects and engineers are becoming willing to take on the role;
  • there is still a wish from some clients for an ‘independent safety expert’ and appointments of Principal Designers who are not the Lead Designer currently shows little sign of reducing, or alternatively, clients are appointing a safety professional to carry out what is generally called the Client CDM Advisor role. This role is not recognised by CDM2015 but is becoming common, particularly on large schemes, where an oversight role often including site inspections;
  • there is little evidence of a reduction in paperwork, with designers and contractors appearing to be being led by their legal departments;
  • 3-years on and there is still a learning curve within the industry with nuances of the wordings of CDM2015 becoming understood or questioned.

What our evaluation told us, was that industry believes that the CDM Regulations weren’t broken and were not in need of fixing. Enough changes, we need some stability!

However, the industry will always adapt to embrace new Regulations, but this costs money and time.

There was also a fondness for the independence of the old CDM-Coordinator role that was being mimicked by the appointment of independent Principal Designers. Time will tell whether that persists.

Legislators need to take heed of these opinions and give the industry time to adapt to allow the regulations to be fully embedded.

CDM 2015 3-years on

Content type: Best practice

Last updated: 05/07/2022

Author: mike battman

  • Mike Battman, fellow & reviewer at ICE