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CDM - Queries re designers on R&M jobs

MB 12 months ago   Reply
Hi, its the first time that ive posted in this forum, but I have seen a few of the threads with varying opinion, so I was wondering if anyone had knowledge of my current query. I know CDM to a high level, and understand that we need a CPP on any job that isn't DIY, however, I'm trying to create a shorted version of a CPP for repairs & maintenance , to cover the bare minimum, however, I'm just wondering with regard to the principal designer, am I right in thinking, and noting down, that because it is a repair that the client is requesting, that this role sits with the client. just I was thinking I'd need to state the duty holders, and obviously there is no designer, as the job is completed ad hoc, so I was going to put a pre-populated statement that the principal designer role sits with the client as it is a responsive job. Has anyone had a similar experience or done this in a different way ? thanks,
Cameron Miller 12 months ago   Reply

MB in response to your question, if the project involves more than one contractor, then the client must appoint a Principal Designer.  If the client does not appoint, then the client is the Principal Designer.

In repairs and maintenance projects such as you mention, as the appointed Principal Designer, I notify HSE of works to the estate for a year and provide the Principal Contractor with a copy of the F10, which the Principal Contractor includes in their Construction Phase Plan.

The Construction Phase Plan is proportionate to the works involved and includes standard sections for consideration by the person responding to the works instruction.  One section includes the asbestos survey information for the property.  Another is for RAMS, another welfare etc.  Thus, a simple Plan relevant to the work is in place.

I see Frank's point and can understand his approach working.  My approach takes little more effort to create a simple standard document into which point of work risk assessments and where appropriate safe systems of work are inserted to create a CDM compliant method of working.

A kitchen or bathroom replacement may take a week.  If HSE do call in, then we have compliant Plan for inspection.  I fear the response, "I just ignore CDM" may not be well received!

MB 11 months ago   Reply
Thank you Cameron. The problem we have is we do a range of R&M works, across a range of buildings, across electrical, mechanical, lifts, roofing, painting, decorating and flooring, so it would be too hard to gauge the notification of the F10. Also, we probably cover a 70 mile radius, so as none of these are notifiable in there own right, we will now just start compiling a basic 2 page sheet for the CPP - including dynamic risk assessing, and then the confirmation of a job ticket. We do a lot of large construction rebuilds, which are f10 notifiable, but we do these obviously as we go.
Marcus M 11 months ago   Reply

Hi Frank,

Have you successfully defended your method in  court and are trying to share? 

Are you deliberately playing devils advocate to help develop the conversation?

You may be trying to balance legality and enforcement however in this case you would need to be fairly confident of your risk/reward assessment and are up the proverbial open sewer with no means of propulsion if things go wrong.

In these or any other case it would be interesting to hear your motives for advocating methodical legal transgressions.

Frank 11 months ago   Reply

Hi Marcus 

From the off I did say it was controversial !!

When acting as the contractor our guys always have generic risk assessments backed up with mandatory point of work assessments before work starts, these have questions to be answered with text not ticks such as WAH, confined space, electric, asbestos manual handling etc we demand they be completed with a thought process that states the controls that are either required or in place. There are times when we need bespoke site specific assessments and again its mandatory to complete the point of work assessment every day. When contractors work for us we expect the same standard .I just do not label this as CDM for minor works. I may call it RAMS you may call it a CPP.

I dont see it as legal transgressions I see it as good work practice which complies with HASWA . Again I stress this is for minor works. 

If ever I'm in court then something really bad has happened and a CPP would be the least of my worries :-)

Happy christmas to you all.

Alpha 12 months ago   Reply
MB, Liz, If the work to be undertaken does not meet with the specifications of building, civil engineering or engineering construction work, it is suggest that general maintenance concerned with replacement of fixed internal fittings does not qualify as construction work. For the purpose of the regulations CDM would not apply.
MB 11 months ago   Reply
I'm sure that CDM does apply to any work, that is altering a building or structure. So everything, including R&M to TV aerials etc. On the CITB course I did recently around duty holders, they confirmed that unless it was DIY, any thing that involved a tool , was construction - the argument then went on to discuss was a tape measure a tool and it was suggested that flooring and even painting needed a CPP. I personally think that may be a step to far, but after discussion, the idea is to stop the old mentality of contractors entering or starting any work without some form of paper trail of what they are doing. Also, all of the info should then go into the health and safety file, which is left with the client. Then, next time they want the wall painting, or a handle refitting, to having info for a full extension, that H&S plan becomes the pre construction information and the who process can start (safety with the right information) again.
Safety Provisions 11 months ago   Reply

“On the CITB course I did recently around duty holders, they confirmed that unless it was DIY, any thing that involved a tool , was construction”! Then whoever delivered the course has miss informed you. I would refer you to :-

However I do appreciate your point. What people call repair and maintenance can vary tremendously, and can easily be construction work. It is also difficult to comment without knowing more details but your do seem to have a handle of the situation.

It is not too difficult to build in CDM compliance in R&M contracts as long as everyone is sensible, but there does come a point where the extent of the works necessitates autonomous arrangements.  

Back to your original post, if the Client lacks any construction/project management capability I would make the Principal Contractor the Principal Designer.

I have seen some large facility contracts work like this but the Client has to play ball.  

MB 11 months ago   Reply
Yes, I have just listed all of these to Frank in my above comment. All of them involve tools do they not ? I think that was the point the tutor was trying to say. that basically, any alteration to a building, or structure, is CDM due to it falling into that description. Servicing boilers, hanging doors and drilling holes in walls are all , to us , R&M work and I think that for th sake of filling in a page of information, to prove what you are doing and where, with a generic risk assessment back up, is acceptable to prove what has been considered. for arguments sake you say painting a wall / drilling holes in a wall, doesn't need a cpp, but what if that individual has disturbed asbestos when doing that activity ? how do they prove, whether this is for financial, legal or moral reasons, that they have considered that ? so we go into a school and re paint a wall that is fairly old and needs refreshing, knock a few corners while doing so, maybe try to repaint the wall plugs that fall out, but its only a wall so its just done and gone, then 6 months later the kids that have been sat there, have unknowingly been exposed to asbestos because the corners that were knocked and the wall plugs disturbed, and no consideration & been recorded ? I am playing devils advocate, but I don't see how your link is different to what I have said ? But yes thanks for that advice, when we do the day to day response work we will be the only contractor, working to what the client wants, so I'm just devising a form to show we have assessed any risk, where we are, and also that the client agrees to, which should show compliance as well as consideration.
Marcus M 11 months ago   Reply

Hi MB,


The PD as with PC is whom ever your commercial client appoints as such. If no-one is appointed then it is the client and as an appointed contractor you will of course ensure that your commercial client is aware of their duties under CDM. As long as you replace like for like (or as per original design/specification) then you are still the contractor. However if you propose an alternative to the original then you become a designer and must risk assess your change.

There seems to be some disagreement as to what constitutes Construction. Clearly from the Regulations Maintenance & Repair work is included but not cleaning unless high pressure water or abrasive is used. However safe cleaning needs to be considered as part of the design process.

We must remember that CDM is the HSWA interpreted for the construction industry and that the basics still apply. Risk assess everything and come up with a plan (CPP for construction work) to do things safely and tell everyone who needs to know what the plan is.. This individual plan will then by definition be proportionate to the risk (as it is unlikely to contain things you don't need). 

How you structure the project is pretty much up to you. 

If you are dealing with repetitive work for the same client  then this could potentially be grouped under the same CPP. However if you decide that to cover the nuances in the work you need to break the work into separate packages then fine.  As long as the plan conveys the relevant information to those affected or undertaking the work then fine.

e.g. welfare arrangements could be a combination of a van the facilities in a customer's (not client's) house and depot facilities.

At the other end of the spectrum I have used Work Package Plans (WPP) with great success in the past. WPPs if done properly are effectively a CPP lite including the Access, Welfare, and Emergency arrangements, RAMS, inductions (Task Briefing Sheets or TBS) and commissioning requirements. They are ideal for short duration works that have to be completed in a shift. WPP's are Used in rail industry to ensure work is made safe before track is handed back to operations. This makes them particularly effective where permits to work are required (including local government permits).

Liz Bennett 11 months ago   Reply

Defining construction work. Hmm! Let's look at ditch dredging. It is construction work (confirmed by HSE). Let's look at reed cutting. It is not construction work yet is done by the same guy in the same machine in the same place at a different time of year and with a different bucket on his slew. I say use a CDM approach to both since both need a safe way of working and to waste time with picky detail and leave such nuanced decisions to the operative is very poor management indeed.

I would use the same argument for much maintenance and refurb work. What would you differently if it is/is not CDM and why? What difference might this make to outcome, cost etc. USually the answer is that not much is different and so you can use CDM as a model and probably should so you get consistency for the work that is definitely construction and those other bits that may be something else.

Alpha 11 months ago   Reply
Liz, If there is a discrepancy in the intention of regulatory guidance and with the definition of which type of work activity, as you have described in your example, applies to similar task, or not, in conformity with that regulation, it would appear that given such a wide range of often opposing levels of interpretation and conversely, miss-interpretation, one could conclude that the CDM regulations and supporting regulatory guidance is to be considered as unfit for purpose. Your argument in supporting there is little to offer in terms of refurbishment activities are open to question. For example, CDM would apply where a conveyor system required replacement or major works but CDM does not apply where the conveyor system is merely subject to routine maintenance. The difference in CDM applying or not will require additional investment of resources. The client's duties, the appointment of PC and where applicable the PD; preparation of a CPP and other necessary documentation this would require in meeting the demand in the application of CDM. It could be suggested that the insufficiency in the sensible interpretation of CDM has over-shadowed the reasoning under HSAWA74. Alternatively, in situations where subjective interpretation is to be decided would not a simple RA and MS be sufficient in setting out the H+S management and precautionary measures in securing a safe working environment be equally and economically acceptable?
Bill Sowerbutts 11 months ago   Reply
Take the same attitude for signing/barriering road and rail working on private as opposed to public too Liz.  Too many people however think that if it isn’t CDM to the letter then they are pleased not to have to do the paperwork, rather than understanding its value in planning out a job in a specific location!
Liz Bennett 11 months ago   Reply

What I am saying is that you are best to look at the overarching aim which is safe and healthy work for all and all affected by the work. This is a universal requirement whether CDM applies or does not. So stand back from the situation and recognise that you need to plan for who is going to do what, with what tools and equipment, where and when, at what cost and so on. 

I would suggest that if your procedures for CDM and your procedures for works that are like construction but not strictly defined as construction are not the same or extremely similar you probably need to review the procedures. 

In my example of dredging v reed cutting I am saying that the same practical operational approach needs to be taken in both cases to simplify and provide consistency for those carrying out and supervising the work.


Alpha 11 months ago   Reply
Liz, as you have alluded to keeping it simple in regard to the ambiguities as to, (whether CDM applies or not), for having in place suitable H+S management practices you may refer, simply, to HSAWA for appropriate direction. Regards,