New Regulations Affecting Building Developments with a Commercial Nature

If you are planning building or renovation works that have a commercial nature – and that includes developing or refurbishing property that you intend to let, or constructing an outbuilding for use as an office or commercial workshop for example – then you should read on.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) became ‘CDM 2015’ on 6th April 2015. The updated regulations see the introduction of numerous changes, most of them centred on health and safety.

In a nutshell, if you are planning renovations to a residential property that you intend to let to tenants or with a view to re-selling for financial gain, this will come under the banner of commercial development. And if you are planning the construction of an outbuilding in your garden to use as a home-based office, a workshop or a treatment room, this will also be considered commercial. In all these cases, the CDM regulations will apply to you.

The New Regulations Explained

Responsibility is the key change with the new regulations. Now, on all projects, the ‘client’ – the person ordering the works – will be responsible for everything, including the overseeing of health, safety and welfare. It is therefore vital that adequate competency checks are carried out ahead of hiring contractors, because you will be completely responsible for their work.

You will also have a number of other responsibilities. These are:

  • The written appointment of a Principal Designer (PD). The PD will oversee the project design and planning and take care of all the health and safety procedures, including setting up and maintaining a health and safety file.
  • The appointment of a Principal Contractor (PC). The PC will carry out the construction or renovation works and / or manage the onsite works.
  • Ensuring health and safety is a featured part of the job and that there is adequate budget available to cover it.
  • Supplying the PD with all the information required to oversee the PC in his task of writing a Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan.
  • Reviewing and approving the Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan.
  • Ensuring both PD and PC have adequate competence to carry out their respective roles.

If no PD or PC is appointed, you will assume responsibility for all their duties by default. As you can imagine, this would be a major task and you would be better advised seeking the right contractors who have suitable qualifications, experience, accreditations and references for the job in hand.

If you are planning construction or renovation works of a commercial nature and are not sure where to start with sourcing the right people or meeting your obligations under CDM 2015, you could start with a call to your bookkeepers who will point you in the right direction and help you get the ball rolling.

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