Under the new CDM 2015 regulations, construction clients have much more responsibility for health and safety than has been seen in the past.
Previous construction-specific regulations have always placed duties on contractors, designers and CDM-coodinators to ensure that a construction project is run safely. Other Health and Safety legislation such as the health and safety at work at and associated regulations don’t recognise the client at all as they generally don’t have any input to the product / service at that level.
However, the latest CDM regulations have changed this and put the client right at the top of the ladder when it comes to H&S responsibilities.
The reason for this is simple. Construction projects are bespoke and every one is different and priced individually. The client will probably get a number of quotes, and in the past, it’s been the price that was the main consideration – lowest being best.
However, the lowest price may also mean the one where H&S has been sacrificed most. It’s cheaper to run a project if you don’t hire a welfare unit or put up a scaffold – it also means that workers will have to take more risks to get the job done if they don’t have the right equipment or enough time.
By making the client ultimately responsible for H&S, they must think about the health and safety involved in the project and budget for it. Contractors quoting for the work also need to make sure that they price for health and safety and don’t cut corners to get the lowest price.
By giving the client and contractors a legal duty to do this, there are serious repercussions. Clients could be prosecuted for going for the cheapest quote or not budgeting for H&S, and contractors could be prosecuted for providing those cut-price quotes, or accepting work where the client has knocked them down.
CDM 2015 covers all construction work, so hopefully it will create a level playing field where clients choose a balanace of H&S and price. But to do this, contractors have to make clients aware of their responsibilities.
We are recommending that all our clients quote for H&S first to ensure that the project can be run as safely as possible, and make clients aware of this when providing the quote. Also, ensure that clients are aware of their responsibilities under CDM 2015.
We encourage contractors to include something like this on their quotes…
“We have quoted to run your project as safely as possible, in line with the CDM 2015 regulations. To find out more about your responsibilities as a construction client, please visit http://www.ctcswl.co.uk/CDM-client”
To assist with this, we are also providing a “Construction Client Assistance” service where we work directly with the client to make them aware of their responsibilities and help ensure that they are discharged.