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CDM 2015 two years on - IIRSM/RIBA events to tackle teething issues

CDM 2015 two years on - IIRSM/RIBA events to tackle teething issues

After two years since the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced CDM 2015 some issues remain for architects taking on the role of Principal Designer, in particular the matter of charging proper fees for the service.

CDM does not have to compromise design. Brunelleschi designed his celebrated dome for Florence Cathedral with the safety of workers in mind 600 years ago. Image © RIBA Collections.

A series of one day events hosted by the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) in partnership with the RIBA will focus on these practical concerns and provide advice and resources for delivering the Principal Designer role.

Paul Bussey, who leads on CDM at AHMM as Senior Technical Consultant is curating the events and hopes they will serve to challenge some of the myths and misunderstandings that continue to dog the new CDM regime.

A fundamental change in the regulations replaced the CDM co-ordinator, a member of the Client Team, with the Principal Designer as a member, and likely lead, of the Design Team.

Bussey emphasises that the Principal Designer is intended to be a corporate function, carried out by the Lead Designer, facilitating appropriate CDM discussions and agreements with supply team members that can integrate with the design process. This also has a positive impact on design outcomes, he argues, by avoiding an approach to CDM as an exercise that diminishes design down to the easiest solution.

These positive changes are welcome, yet certain teething issues require looking at, in particular around compensation for the service.

On domestic projects, for example, architects can have difficulty explaining to clients the need to properly resource the Principal Designer role. Some are being expected to provide the service, which is the accepted default position, inclusive of the design fee.

Where the client might have previous experience as a builder or developer, Bussey recounts anecdotal evidence of architects walking away from projects in the face of an impasse over proper CDM resourcing and fees.

Bussey reports a tendency for clients to request the inclusion of the Principal Designer services in the architectural fee proposal also on larger projects, or to base expectations on the old CDM Co-ordinator system, which does not reflect the need to resource the Principal Designer role right through the project and co-ordinate other team members’ input.

‘It was never intended that these services should be thrown in for free, they need to be itemised and properly resourced,’ says Bussey, who recommends identifying CDM as a separate cost centre until the regime matures and clients have come to accept properly-resourced CDM costs.

Another issue arising from the CDM transition is that multiple organisations are working independently to set out the Skills, Knowledge and Experience needed by Principal Designers. Under CDM 2015, the professional institutions, including the RIBA, have been tasked by the HSE to establish their own professional standards.

The HSE recognises that while the new regulations continue to bed in, designers may still appoint sub-consultants to assist with, or carry out, the Principal Designer role. By the end of the decade the HSE expects to see Lead Designers automatically taking on the role without any support.

Three IIRSM/RIBA events are scheduled for Birmingham, Leeds and London in June 2017. RIBA members can use the code RIBACDM to get a £40 discount (excluding VAT).

Paul Bussey’s book, CDM 2015: A Practical Guide for Architects and Designers, offers a guide to CDM 2015 regulations, particularly the central role played by the Principal Designer, and demonstrations of how to deliver CDM in the real world. Available from RIBA Bookshops.

Thanks to Paul Bussey, Senior Technical Consultant, AHMM.

by Neal Morris. This is a ‘Practice News’ post edited by the RIBA Practice team. The team would like to hear your feedback and ideas for Practice News: practice@riba.org

Published on 11 May 2017.

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