I had a meeting this week in which it was stated that a CDM-C has no power on site, his hands are tied and that Contractors don't see a CDM-C as an authority figure. Surely this is not the case?
Under the CDM Regulations the CDMC is not responsible for the construction phase, but he is responsible for ongoing design, including design carried out by the Principal Contractors and other contractors designers, he needs to know the status of the project an of ongoing design. If he is not being given suitable access to enable him to carry out his duties, he needs to get back to his client and explain the situation.
1. What happens if you only get appointed as a CDM-C on the Friday before commencement of works on the following Monday? This is another issue that seems to be standard.
2. If the CDM-C sees something on site that is dangerous or bad practice and the PC ignores him what should he do - report to HSE? (and then potentially lose the work)
Clearly a CDM C as a professional has to weigh up his or her duties to co-ordinate and co-operate with the other duty holders. Clearly a late appointment will result in a rubbish job with no work done with designers to improve the design.
Any bad practice has to be reported to the client and principal contractor in the first instance.
I guess if we charged per job and not by the day then the incentive would be to appoint early to maximise the opportunity for the CDM C to positively influence the design.
Shirley; With regards point 1, I would personally not take on the project at this late stage unless the client agreed to delay the project until as CDMC I could fulfill my duties. I would be inclined to notify the HSE of the impending project as obviously no F10 will have been issued.
2, with regards point 2 I would write to the PC' head office with a copy to the Client and the Lead Designer; the letter would clearly outline my concerns. If this did not have the desired results I would discuss the situation with the Client. If the danger as likely to be of imminent danger to the contractor or the public I would notify the HSE and Client immediately.
I rarely had the experience of being told about a job on Friday that was due to start on the Monday (not saying that never happened) but I regularly had design colleagues come to me to say "we're going out to tender this week, can you knock us out a quick plan?" As our fee was based on a percentage of the project value (I've never been paid on a day rate - if only!) for an all inclusive multi-disciplinary service with PS / CDMC added on, I was usually playing catch-up. The level of ignorance / apathy from Designers and Clients on the true purpose of the CDM Regulations ceased to surprise me some time ago.
Others may have found a more enlightened attitude in their Clients, but almost all our public sector Clients regarded the PS/CDMC as something they paid for because it was the law and they had to comply, not because they perceived any benefit from employing him/her. The vicious circle of "we don't see them, so we don't tell them, so we don't see them" feeds into that view. Given that the Consultancy had long term framework agreements with almost all their Clients, writing to tell them that their design team are in material breach of legislation and have jeopardised them would not have gone down well! Sadly, my experience is that other multi-disciplinary Consultants were no different.
Perhaps if the proposed 2014/15 changes to the Regulations implement the post of construction phase coordinator Clients may begin to see the value. Then again, that position may well be pushed onto the PC and the design side H&S coordinator role shoved towards the architect / lead designer - as if they've ever wanted that job. So we march backwards to 1994!
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