There is a lot of discussion on LinkedIn about the new CDM Regulations which came into force on 6 April.
There is a lot of discussion on LinkedIn about the new CDM Regulations which came into force on 6 April. These changes, like most regulatory changes, cause confusion with architects questioning their contractual responsibilities and struggling to understand the fine print. Given how litigious construction can be, and how often there are retentions, this is not surprising. Dealing with the nitty gritty is both vital and little fun.
But all legislative changes cause these sorts of problems, and they should not be allowed to obscure the all-important bigger picture. There are several changes, but the most important is the creation of the role of ‘principal designer’ as the person who is responsible at the design stage for ensuring that the design is one that can be built safely.
That person is most likely to be the architect. Another burden on the shoulders of the poor overstressed and under-remunerated architect? Well, you could look at it like that. It certainly represents an increase in responsibility. But with responsibility comes power. If there is one thing that architects have complained about in the last few years more than ridiculously low fees, it is their loss of control which has been taken by the contractor – who more and more often is also their employer.
Nobody likes having their specification changed, usually for something cheaper. Now, along with their increased responsibilities under CDM, architects have been given another tool to help them protect their specification. If the project does not use the materials that they have specified, to be constructed in the way that the designer has decreed, then the onus will be on the contractor to prove that the changes satisfy CDM. Architects should welcome this new responsibility, as it should result in better buildings.