Changes to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations), which regulate health and safety on construction sites, could impact professional indemnity cover and premiums for designers.

The CDM Regulations originate from a 1992 EU Directive which sets out the minimum health and safety standards on construction sites.  Now the UK Government is planning to overhaul the CDM Regulations with a consultation expected from Health and Safety Executive in the near future.

The proposals are likely to include changes to the role of the CDM Co-ordinator – whose responsibilities include the co-ordination of the health and safety aspects of design work.  This could include the introduction of the new roles of Co-ordinator for Preparations Stage Safety and Health matters (CPSH) and Co-ordinator for Execution Stage Health and Safety matters (CESH).

It is anticipated that the CPSH role will replace that of the current CDM Coordinator and be undertaken by the lead designer.  According to an article published by law firm Pennington Lanches LLP and Building Magazine “It is not yet clear whether this role would be welcomed by designers but it would certainly have an impact on such parties’ professional indemnity insurance cover and premiums.”  Other major changes are expected to extend the CDM Regulations to domestic construction projects.

The HSE consultation on the new CDM Regulations has been delayed, but it is clear that changes are on their way,” said James Burgoyne, Director Brunel Professional Risks.  “It will be important to review the consultation and any proposed changes to the regulations as they emerge to consider whether protection contained in  professional indemnity insurance policies remains in step with the legislation.”