Property Developer or Investor?

Better Safety Health & Safety Consultant
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Property Developer or Investor?

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CDM 2015 Client Duties
The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.

CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.

Even the simplest tasks, such as arranging routine maintenance or minor building work, require adequate time to plan and manage the work safely.

Property Developers and Investors are now legally responsible

CDM 2015 makes the client accountable for the effect of their decisions on a construction project have on safety, health and welfare on site

As a property developer you must ensure at the construction project is set up so that it is carried out from start to finish in a way that adequately controls the risks to the health and safety of those who may be affected.

Failure to perform these legal duties can lead to a criminal conviction and a substantial fine.

Formally notify Health and Safety Executive (HSE) where appropriate

Some projects are notifiable to the HSE. You must give written notice to the HSE as soon as practicable before the construction phase of the project begins for certain project duration and personnel time on site.

It’s your responsibility to have an up-to-date copy of the notice on display in the site’s office. The copy needs to be accessible and understandable for anyone on the site to comprehend.

Further information is available on the HSE website or simply call us for more details.

Provide Pre-Construction Information

As a developer you will have requirements and expectations that will assist those designing, constructing or using the structure or building. Sharing these at an early stage can help shape how each duty holder approaches, plans and accommodates your requirements.

Whilst the initial client brief sets out your general requirements and expectations for the project, it is also important that it outlines your health and safety expectations. For example, you have the duty of providing construction information. such as an asbestos survey or structural drawings.

Make suitable arrangements for managing the project

As the developer, you must make suitable arrangements to ensure that, throughout the planning, design and construction of a project, adequate consideration is given to the health, safety and welfare of all those affected and involved in the construction work.

Your arrangements should be appropriate to the nature of the work and enable other duty holders to carry out their work without risk to themselves or anyone else who may be affected.

Select the project team and formally appoint duty holders

If more than one contractor will be working on your project then, as the client, you must appoint a principal designer and a principal contractor in writing. If you do not do this, then you take on these roles and associated legal duties yourself.

One of your main duties is to ensure that those you propose to appoint are able to demonstrate that they can deliver the project for you in a way that secures health and safety.

Check the principal designer is carrying out their duties

As the client, you are required to ensure that the arrangements made for managing health and safety during the pre-construction phase are working successfully.
You should also satisfy yourself that the principal designer is complying with their duties. Progress meetings provide a good way of ensuring the project runs in line with your expectations and meets legal requirements.

Ensure preparation of construction phase plan

You must ensure that a construction phase plan for the project is prepared by the principal contractor before the construction phase begins.

This plan should outline the health and safety arrangements, site rules and specific measures concerning any work involving the particular risks listed in schedule 3 of CDM 2015.

The plan should be project-specific, take into account the pre-construction information provided, and its contents should be proportionate to the site risks.

Ensure welfare facilities are in place
You must ensure suitable welfare facilities are provided on site.

You should check that they are in place from the very start of the site work by agreeing that welfare facilities are made available to those carrying out the work and by carrying out a site visit.

The facilities must be regularly cleaned and cater for the expected number of workers on site.

Ensure the management arrangements are working

As the client, you are required to ensure that the arrangements made for managing health and safety during construction are working successfully.

You should also satisfy yourself that the principal contractor is complying with their duties. This may be carried out through face-to-face progress meetings or via written updates.

Ensure preparation of health and safety file

You must ensure that the principal designer prepares a health and safety file for the project. The file contains the information needed to ensure the health and safety of anyone carrying out any future construction, demolition, cleaning or maintenance work on your building or structure.

It is also your duty to make sure that the principal designer passes the health and safety file to the principal contractor in order for it to be revised at any necessary point of the project.

Check completion and handover arrangements

As the project nears its end, you should check any arrangements made for its completion and handover.

This could include a phased handover, such as you taking partial possession of finished parts of the building and checking that agreed measures are in place to ensure the health of safety of those in the areas that have been handed over.

The consequences: Business, Moral & Legal

As well as the reputational damage associated with prosecution for a criminal offence, businesses face increased insurance premiums and the possibility that Notices to  Improve will significantly delay project completion.

The moral responsibility for ensuring that all reasonable and practicable steps are taken to ensure a safe working environment has also be clearly placed on to you as the client.

CDM 2015 increased the level of responsibility and accountability of construction projects into the client. Penalties include criminal prosecution and substantial fines. In addition to this, developers face civil liability in the event of injury to public, contractors or employees.

For expert help and advice regarding CDM 2015 please contact:

Better Safety
London: 0203 841 8022
Leeds: 0113 487 1808
Liverpool: 0151 317 4333
Manchester: 0161 667 9144
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Better Safety Health & Safety Consultant

I am a Chartered Safety Practitioner with over a decade of experience in both operational and strategic management of safety and health.


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