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Construction Work and the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations

Refurbishment, maintenance and restoration work is common at many places of worship. It can be dangerous involving a range of hazardous activities, for example, the use of scaffolding. Therefore, when carrying out construction work it may be necessary to meet certain legal duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM).

What is CDM?

CDM is intended to protect the health and safety of those carrying out the work and others who may be affected by it for example, members of the public.

Overview of requirements

Who is a ‘client’?

Under the regulations, a client is someone for whom construction work is carried out. This would include:

  • Planning

  • Design

  • Management

Or other work associated with it until that work is complete. 

Construction work

The meaning of construction work is very comprehensive and can include the renovation, alteration, redecoration, upkeep, repair  or other maintenance of a structure (including a church).

Many clients are not experts in carrying out construction work and you are not expected to actively manage or supervise the work yourself.

However, the decisions you make can influence how it is carried out. This in turn can affect the health, safety or welfare of those involved in it. For example, you decide which designer and contractor will carry out the work and how much money, time and resource is available to complete it.

What do ‘clients’ need to do?

Where CDM applies, clients are required to:

  • Appoint a principal designer and a principal contractor – if there will be more than one contractor working on the project at any time. These appointments need to be in writing and made in a timely fashion before the work starts.

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that any designer or contractor they appoint has the skills, knowledge, experience and capability necessary to fulfil their duties.

  • Ensure that adequate arrangements are in place (including the allocation of sufficient time and other resources) – for managing and organising any health and safety precautions including the provision of any necessary welfare facilities.  These arrangements should be maintained and reviewed throughout the project.

  • Provide appropriate information to the designer and contractor – which could include information about what is to be built, the site and existing structures or hazards that may be present (e.g. asbestos, overhead cables, and buried services).

  • Notify the Health and Safety Executive of certain construction work – as soon as possible before the work starts. Work lasting longer than 30 days with more than 20 workers working at the same time, or involving 500 person days of work is notifiable. You may ask someone else to do this for you, but it is important to check that they have done so.

  • Ensure that an adequate construction phase plan is drawn up – by the principal contractor (or contractor if there is only one) before the construction work starts. This plan should explain how health and safety risks will be managed during the work.

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal designer and the principal contractor carry out their duties.

  • Ensure that a health and safety file is prepared – by the principal designer. This needs to meet certain requirements and should be handed to you on completion of the work. It should contain relevant information which will help you manage any health and safety risks during future construction work. You should keep the file, make it available to anyone who needs to alter or maintain the building, and update it if circumstances change.

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