When does CDM 2007 apply to a project?
The CDM 2007 Regulations apply to most common building, civil engineering and engineering construction work. You must notify HSE of the site if the construction work is expected to either:
- last longer than 30 days; or
- involve more than 500 person days of construction work;
I'm a designer working for a domestic client, so CDM won't apply, right?
Wrong! You still need to comply with the regulations and take steps to reduce risks at source and complete your design risk assessment (CDM Parts 1 & 2). As a point of best practice just work as if the project is notifiable and put in place all of the documentation and precautions as you would on a commercial project - these measures are there for good reason and they are a simple and well understood means for managing and controlling risk in construction. To see case law on this please follow this link; Landlord prosecuted under CDM Regulations for failing to ensure competency of contractors.
Contractors on domestic projects aren't affected by CDM are they?
Wrong! The still need to comply with Parts 1, 2 and 4 of the CDM regulations in order to discharge their duties. That means assessing risks and managing them.
My project would come under CDM but its for a domestic client, should I still notify HSE?
As a client, what should I do to discharge my own duties under CDM?
Private landlord prosecuted under CDM
The common view of the CDM Regulations is that they only apply to commercial work and that it must be either demolition or dismantling or come under the 30 day / 500 person day rule. This is NOT the case.
Reference to the regulations show that the requirements above relate strictly to the requirement to report the work to HSE and to then appoint a competent and adequately resourced CDM Coordinator and Principal Contractor.
In the case below we can see that the accused was in fact a domestic landlord who let one of his properties through an agent. In this case CDM would not apply in the sense of it being reportable nor would a CDM Coordinator need to be appointed but the duty of care remain in place as does the need to manage the project properly under the CDM Regulations themselves as they will, in fact, still apply.
In November 2009 Jagdev Singh Bal (JSB) was contacted by his letting agent who informed him that there was a problem at one of his properties of which JSB was the landlord.
The bathroom ceiling had become damaged by ingress and on investigation it was concluded that the roof needed to be replaced. JSB contacted Sarabjit Singh Sanghera (SSS), a self-employed builder and he together with his brother and two labourers commenced repairs to the property.
However, as the small team were finishing their repairs and clearing the site, SSS was found unconscious at the bottom of a ladder. He had sustained serious head and neck injuries and died later in hospital as a result of his injuries.
Inspectors discovered that the work had been carried out wholly from ladders despite the height and complexity of the task. Clearly a scaffold should have been used as work at height is the most common cause of death within the UK.
It was also apparent that at least three of the four workers had received no training in roof work or construction health and safety. JSB was charged with breaching Regulation 9(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM). They require clients to take reasonable steps to check that the management arrangements for the work are suitable so that the job can be completed safely. He pleaded guilty and was fined £4,000 plus costs of £4,129.
CDM still applies
Property developers have been an HSE target for at least the past 3 years and will continue to be targeted. This is a rare example of an individual residential landlord being charged with a health and safety offence but this case does underline the point that whilst there are exemptions under CDM for domestic premises, it’s the status of the client rather than the property which triggers the exclusion; domestic clients are “People who have work done on their own home or the home of a family member, that does not relate to a trade or business, whether for profit or not.”
If you own property which isn’t home to one of your family members, then any work which is considered to be “construction” comes within all the requirements of CDM meaning you must;
- check the competence of any tradespeople you appoint, e.g. are registered with a trade body and have relevant construction training and experience;
- ensure that there are suitable arrangements to do the work safely. This doesn’t mean you need to check every detail or supervise the work, but look for broad signals that it will be completed correctly.