Health & Safety + CDM
These can be difficult and costly areas IF you are not well versed in what you are doing.
First, it is important to understand that the CDM Regulations 2015 (Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015) place onerous requirements on anyone and everyone carrying out building works of whatever nature.
Advice obtained from HM Health & Safety Executive on the obligations of Custom Self Builders is as follows:
You refer to the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 (Self-build and Custom Regs) and that they do not cover how the CDM 2015 Regs apply to custom self-builders. The Self-build and Custom Regs also fail to cover how the CDM 2015 Regs apply to self-builders. However, this is not surprising given that the Regs are only a requirement of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act for relevant authorities to keep a register of individuals and associations of individuals who are seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in the authority’s area, and do not cover any health and safety requirements
Information on the Self-Build Portal at www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/healthandsafety, which HSE was consulted on, shows potential scenarios for a self-builder where they are a ‘domestic client’ under CDM 2015 i.e. if the structure they are building is to be a residential home they or a family member will live in, and is not constructed as part of a business (it should be noted that if a self-builder is carrying out the work in connection with a business, or to sell the property directly, then they are not a ‘domestic client’, but would be a ‘commercial client’ and full CDM 2015 duties would apply).
While there is no specific CDM guidance for custom self-builders, HSE would treat custom self-builders no differently to self-builders and would assess the circumstances of how a particular project is being carried out on a case by case basis during engagement. As custom self-build is a more ‘hands-off’ approach, then the CDM 2015 duties of custom self-builders who fit the definition of a domestic client (the structure they are building is to be a residential home they or a family member will live in, and is not constructed as part of a business) would automatically pass to others involved in the project as per Reg 7(1) of CDM 2015. The only duty a domestic client carries under CDM 2015 is to appoint a principal designer and principal contractor, but even then, if they fail to do this, which will be the case in most situations due to lack of CDM knowledge, those appointments are deemed to the designer in control of pre-construction and the contractor in control of construction as per Reg 7(2).
As a domestic client, a custom self-builder would not be expected to have the skills, knowledge and experience (or competence) to undertake CDM duties. As described above, CDM client duties would be picked up by others involved, which may be the specialist developer engaged to help deliver the home or others involved in the design and construction phases, depending on the levels of involvement.
When you buy your Custom Self-Build ‘shell’ from us we take on the responsibility of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor for this work, again saving you thousands of pounds in otherwise specialist professional fees for onerous duties. Our Professional Indemnity (£1 million), Employers Liability (£10 million), Public / Products Liability (£2 million) and Contractor Works (£200 thousand) insurance policies provide you protection for these duties.
However, when you take over and do any of the works using any other trades, you also take over these responsibilities. If you do any of the work yourself, then this is not a problem, but you should check that any sub trades understand their CDM responsibilities and have appropriate insurance cover.
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