Firms risk fines for breaking construction law

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Related tags: Project management, Project

Processors are risking unlimited fines for falling foul of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 when carrying out construction...

Processors are risking unlimited fines for falling foul of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 when carrying out construction and engineering projects on their premises.

The law requires manufacturers to appoint a CDM co-ordinator (CDM-C) for building, civil engineering or engineering construction projects involving more than 30 days or 500 person days of work. They must also appoint a principal contractor and tell the Health and Safety Executive about the project. The CDM-C, who is usually chosen by a commercial or operations manager, replaces the planning supervisor role required by previous law. A representative from a registered outside contract engineer firm can be nominated.

The problem, says Alison Short, associate in Eversheds' civil engineering team, is that processors do not realise that many projects come under the CDM regulations. "They often approach things as if they were simply installing a new piece of kit, rather than engaging in an engineering project."

Work falling under the legislation "includes the assembly on site of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly on site of prefabricated elements", says Short. Factory extensions and new builds would almost certainly be included, as could the installation of automated lines, depending on the projected length of construction work.

Manufacturers failing to appoint a CDM-C automatically assume responsibility.

The person performing the role arranges the co-ordination of health and safety measures, oversees the designers and their relationship with principal contractors and prepares a health and safety file.

Breaching regulations is criminal and carries fines of up to £5,000 in Magistrates Court or unlimited fines in the Crown Court.

The Association for Project Safety offers registers of CDM-Cs and CDM-C registered practices at: http://www.aps.org.uk​.

Related topics: Legal