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HSE U-turns on scrapping CDM ACOP in face of opposition

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HSE has backtracked on its decision to go without an ACOP supporting the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, instead proposing to introduce a slimmed down ‘signposting’ document in the face of hostility from the health and safety and construction industries.


While the majority of the proposals to reform the CDM 2007 Regulations will be proceeded with, despite widespread opposition to a number of the changes, HSE believes “a case has been made” to keep an ACOP rather than replace it with guidance.

The new ACOP, which must necessarily be rewritten as it will fall when CDM 2007 is replaced next year, will continue to be supported by HSE and joint HSE/industry guidance.

Other significant reforms, including the structural simplification of the regulations, changes to competence requirements and the abolition of the CDM coordinator role will be proceeded with subject to parliamentary and ministerial approval. The new regulations are due to enter the statute books in April next year.

Over 1,400 people responded to the consultation on the reforms, launched at the end of March, among the highest of any consultation HSE has run.

However, only one third supported the wholesale withdrawal of the ACOP. An even lower proportion of CDM coordinators, some 23%, supported the suggestion.

According to a paper put to the HSE board analysing the feedback, many respondents recognised the current ACOP’s shortcomings, but nevertheless argued that its legal status gave it more authority than guidance.

It was also pointed out that without the guidance intended to replace it having been completed, it was difficult to judge whether it would serve as an effective replacement.

The board agreed to the suggestions put forward by HSE officials at its meeting on 13 August.

An HSE spokesperson said: “The board agreed to the proposed amendments to the draft CDM regulations and the submission for government clearance.

“It noted stakeholder comments made during consultation and the work being done by HSE to address them.

“The impact assessment will be submitted for RPC [Regulatory Policy Committee] clearance. A new, shorter signposting ACOP, complemented by HSE and joint HSE/industry guidance, will be developed and this work will start in 2015.”

While HSE received a huge number of responses, 65% of them were from either CDM coordinators or the entertainment industry, which has ongoing concerns about the application of CDM to the assembly of temporary demountable structures.

HSE says these responses “are effectively campaigns”. More weight was therefore given to other respondents representing broader elements of the industry or supply chain “in accordance with established consultation practice”.

Only a small majority of respondents – 52% – supported the replacement of the CDM coordinator role with that of the principal designer. This figure, however, includes the responses of those given less weight.

HSE intends the redraft the original proposals on reforming competence requirements having received feedback that the draft regulations were “too subtle in their approach, and that standards may be weakened”.

Similarly, HSE will redraft the requirements relating to domestic clients, who in principal will receive duties under the new CDM 2015, as the regulations will become known, in line with the Temporary and Mobile Construction Sites Directive. However, in effect the duties will pass to either the contractor or designer.

Two third of respondents said they disagreed that HSE’s new approach to CDM will be more easily understood by small firms, though with the weighting HSE placed on the responses it is not possible to carry out a straightforward quantitative analysis

 

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