CDM 2007 has gone a long way to meeting its objectives, but there are still some concerns within the construction industry, particularly in understanding its interpretation and implementation.

This is the overall conclusion of an evaluation of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 published this week by the HSE.

The report was commissioned to answer two key questions; what extent CDM 2007 meets its stated objectives and what are the cost implications for the construction industry? The evaluation also reveals that construction design, management and site practices have improved between 2006 and 2010, with industry practice found to have a significant influence on how CDM 2007 is implemented.

And although the evaluation revealed that respondents are far more positive about CDM 2007 than the previous CDM 1994, many were concerned about its interpretation and implementation, particularly in relation to the Approved Codes of Practice.

Commented Simon Toseland, Head of Health and Safety at  Workplace Law:

“The text within the CDM Approved Code of Practice, all 107 pages of it, may prove unmanageable for Clients, particularly those who are new to the process.

“Consequently, this may exclude people from really understanding what they need to know and do to prevent accidents or ill health in construction.”

The report also found that although a cost impact was associated with CDM 2007, respondents reported that the benefits obtained through implementing CDM were higher than the costs incurred.

The evaluation also acknowledges that “the economic downturn has led to much of the work undertaken since the introduction of CDM 2007 being undertaken under difficult commercial circumstances. This has led to instances of price being more important than competence, early starts on site and compressed timescales.”

It adds that this all limits the time and resource available for coordination and cooperation.

The evidence provided will support policy development in this area. HSE will address the CDM package as a whole and consult on any changes once the HSE Board has considered them.

On the morning of 23 May Workplace Law is holding a strategic briefing taking an in-depth look into the Government’s reform of Britain’s health and safety system, following the independent review of legislation conducted by Professor Ragnar LÖfstedt.