The Role Of CDM Co-Ordinators


What is a CDM Co-Ordinator and What do they do?

The acronym CDM, that came into our consciousness in 2007 with the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, is now a central feature of any reasonable-sized building or renovation project.

CDM replaces the old Planning Supervisors as those responsible for health and safety on a project, with the new role of CDM Co-ordinators. The CDM principles must be applied to all jobs, but only those of a certain size need be officially notified to HSE.

Notifable Projects are those that are expected to run in excess of 30 days or 500 man-days. Because the CDM obligations on clients begin at a very early planning stage, it is vital to appoint a CDM Co-ordinator as soon as possible, certainly no later than the finalisation of the overall design and before the detailed design work begins. It is highly advisable to seek an outside firm of Health and Safety Consultants who specialize in CDM to carry out the Co-ordinator role, as it is demanding, time-consuming and requires specialist skills.

In essence, the CDM Co-ordinator’s role is to ensure that the general principles of risk prevention are applied by all parties who contribute to a project. He or she is an essential project adviser to the client and acts as a conduit whereby information flows between client, designer and contractors.

The work starts with the collection of Pre-construction information, and at this stage the CDM-Co-ordinator must ensure that the design complies with CDM principles by avoiding foreseeable risks and taking into account construction safety.

The Principal Contractor selected by the client must prepare a Health and Safety Plan. Clearly it is important that this contractor is appointed early enough to work with the designer and CDM Co-ordinator to have an input into the buildability and safety of the intended design.

The subsequent creation and maintenance of a Health and Safety File is one of the CDM Co-ordinator’s roles. It is an essential document in terms of reducing the risks of all activities within the works, and a copy of it must go to anyone working on the project. The file will be passed to the client upon completion.

So throughout the job, the CDM Co-ordinator should be an independent person, not reporting to or paid by any one supplier, but someone who is free to co-ordinate the parties involved and to advise on (and criticize where necessary) the designs. The Co-ordinator should be able to advise the client on whether the management of the project is adequate in terms of the health, safety and welfare of all those involved.

Although the role is principally about the design phase, there is in nearly every project an element of change as it progresses, and good CDM consultants

will make sure that design changes do not adversely affect construction safety. They will also assess and advise on temporary structures like scaffolding, towers and formwork.

If you are a client about to embark on a project, you may be reassured that HSE does not expect you to know everything there is to know about the actual work involved. But they will expect you to employ people who do. And that is where the services of an expert firm of Health and Safety consultants such as McCormack Benson Health & Safety come in. MBHS provide you with dedicated CDM Co-ordinators who can carry out this key role with independence, authority and with your interests at heart.