A3 – July 2015 Article by Ralph N Bennett NFRC on CDM 2015

CDM Regulations 2015

The new CDM Regulations, released on April 6th, 2015, have been the subject of much debate but, the ACR (Advisory Committee for Roofsafety), welcomes the revised regulations and the much needed clarity they bring.

There are various reasons why workers might need to access a roof ranging from routine maintenance, to avoid gutter degradation which can invalidate a building’s guarantee, to fixing a leak or repairing a rooflight.

While such work carries an element of risk due to the height at which the activity takes place, there have been considerable developments over recent years which have helped to mitigate that risk and ensure that, with the correct approach, planning and management, workers are protected and able to carry out their task in the safest way possible.

And yet, in spite of these safety measures, crippling and even fatal accidents are still being recorded.

The new CDM Regulations have addressed a number of areas which have previously been open to interpretation, tightening the language and expanding on the specific criteria to help ensure a successful and, crucially, safe outcome to all roofing activities.

One example directly addresses the interpretation of the word ‘competence’, a detailed requirement contained in CDM Regulations from 2007, which has been modified in the new regulations.

Competence has historically been difficult to qualify. There are no minimum standards and it is often misunderstood, as there is generally the assumption that a person with training, or a card as part of a scheme, is competent to do the work.

With the new CDM Regulations the term ‘competence’ as a measurable criteria has been removed altogether, because it has no minimum legal standard. Instead the attributes of which competence broadly comprises namely: skills, knowledge, experience, training (contractor only) and organisational capability all now require individual assessment – something which is far more measurable within the roofing industry than the previous rather generic ‘competence’ concept.”

The following two examples demonstrate the increased level of clarity which has been introduced within the new regulations:

Reg8 – relates to appointments at the outset of a project

for appointed designers, Principal Designers and Principal Contractors to have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary for the job they are appointed to
A roofing company can have Organisational Capability for the job – i.e. the body corporate holds the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, and has policies and systems in place to utilise them and ensure they are maintained.
A roof designer or roofing contractor must not accept an appointment unless they fulfil these conditions.

Reg15 – contractor duty relating to putting individuals to work on a job

A person employed or appointed by a roofing contractor (including Principal Contractor) has to have the skills, knowledge, experience and training for the job they are to do – or be in the process of obtaining them.
The roofing contractor must provide appropriate supervision.


Roofing contractors should recognise that training on its own is not enough. “Newly trained individuals need to be supervised and given the opportunity to gain positive experience of working in a range of conditions. Roof workers, will require closer supervision if they are young, inexperienced, or embarking on an activity they have not done previously.

“Other factors that should be considered when assessing the level of supervision needed including the level of the individuals’ safety awareness, education, physical agility, literacy and attitude to working on roofs.

Even experienced roof workers may need an appropriate level of supervision if they do not have some or all of the skills, knowledge, training and experience required for the job in order to mitigate the risks involved.

The theory behind the new regulations is to put the onus back on the construction and roofing industry in order for them to take ownership and develop and deliver the systems which best serve their needs.”

Domestic client

Another notable change within the revised regulations is in relation to the domestic client exemption, which has been removed. The domestic client is now defined as any client having construction work, inclusive of any type of roofwork, done on their own home, or that of a family member, which is NOT done in connection with a business.

Housing associations, landlords and property developers are not domestic clients, nor are clients having work in connection with a business attached to domestic premises, such as a shop.

The domestic client is not required to carry out the duties of a commercial client, and does not have to make appointments. Instead, if there is only one contractor, the appointed roofing contractor carries out the domestic client’s duties in addition to their own duties as a contractor.

When the domestic client is selecting a roofing contractor they should ensure that the roofing contractor is aware of the client duties, under the new regulations, as well as their own duties as a contractor. In addition it is also advisable for domestic clients prior to appointment to request examples and/or references for previous work undertaken of a similar nature.

If there is more than one contractor (electrician, bricklayer, etc), the principal contractor, if appointed, or the contractor in control, is responsible for managing these duties.”

It’s time for the roofing industry to get serious, implement the requirements of CDM 2015 and put a stop to these highly preventable accidents, once and for all.

There is no legitimate reason why anyone should sustain an injury, let alone lose their life, as a result of carrying out essential maintenance and repairs to roofs. Today’s roofing systems, when installed correctly, together with the necessary information, instruction, training and safety equipment, effectively eliminate this risk.

“The roofing industry has learned the hard way that there are severe consequences of failing to implement the necessary safety measures – both for those who operate or own the building, who face large fines and even the risk of imprisonment, and most importantly for the untrained worker, who faces injury and even death – and this is a price no responsible company or individual should ever be willing to pay.

“The revised CDM Regulations will go a long way towards improving safety for those working at height as well as maintaining the high standards necessary to secure the reputation of the roofing industry as a whole.”

Ralph N Bennett NFRC