21st May Newsletter

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May 14th Newsletter

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May 14th 

8th May Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

As I write this, the UK election campaigns are drawing to a close. Following weeks of campaigning all around the country, tomorrow we will find out whether the coalition are here to stay or if a new Government is about to disturb the number 10 party.

It’s a nervous time for all those involved, particularly for individuals like current Construction Minister Nick Boles who, having only been in his role less than a year, is unlikely to stay around much longer, whatever the outcome of the election may be.

The Construction Minister role has never been a popular job, and this time around, it’s likely to only be critiqued even more as the focus on our industry being the catalyst for further economic growth increases.

This got me to thinking, we all comment on how well, or not, the person in the hot seat is doing, but when asked what it is that we want to see from the next Construction Minister, how many of us could give a succinct answer? The biggest things on my list would be how we make BIM a standard working practice in all construction jobs, how we make our industry a leader in technology practices and how we continue working towards achieving Construction 2025 and beyond. But there are many other things the person in question will need to consider too…

Take the BIM Task Group for instance. The group was put together following the release of the Government Construction Strategy document back in 2011 that stated all Government construction projects needed to be using collaborative 3D BIM by 2016, with all other projects, hopefully, quickly following suit. Yet, four years in and despite receiving funding for Level 2 and a budget to kick off Level 3, the group is effectively in limbo. The next Minister, in my opinion, will need to focus on bringing this organisation to the forefront of the work we’re doing as an industry, giving it a clear plan of where it needs to go so that it can, in turn, encourage and facilitate change in our industry.

I also think it’s about time that BIM started to grow up; it’s been around in our industry at a low level for a few years now and has been focused predominately on savings but we now need someone who will help us take it to the next level where it is all about efficiencies and collaboration. It’s a big ask, I know, and isn’t something that will change overnight, it will be a long process to stop people from being cagey about information and wary of breaking boundaries and collaborating outside of their organisation, but it’s something we must work towards if we want BIM to be universal practice.

Ultimately, we need somebody to take on the role that understands our industry and the impact technology, BIM in particular, will have on the future of our construction. Basically, somebody who walks the walk, rather than just talks the talk.

30th April Newsletter

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23rd April Newsletter

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CDM Regulations 2015 Update – 3rd April Journal Column

By James Ritchie, Head of External Affairs and Deputy Chief Executive at The Association for Project SafetyAPS

If you are not directly involved in the construction industry, you could be forgiven for not knowing that construction health and safety legislation is just about to be amended by Government (again!), but for those of you working in our industry, you need to be on top of the new Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 before they come into force on April 6.

With the new regulations, the CDM Co-ordinator role has been removed and in its place comes a new ‘Principal Designer’ role, domestic clients, construction phase plans on all projects and the requirement for health and safety co-ordinators to be appointed on all projects with more than one contractor working on the site.  This change means that any construction project that is likely to involve more than one contractor needs to have the health and safety aspects planned, managed and monitored from the beginning of the design process through to completion of the construction work. No exceptions, no excuses. And the people or organisations tasked with doing the planning, managing and monitoring of the health and safety aspects need to have sufficient health and safety skills, knowledge and experience to do so in a capable manner.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) intention is for the pre-construction health and safety coordinator (the Principal Designer) to be an integral member of the design team and be given sufficient authority to be in control of the pre-construction health and safety on the project. The obvious choice would be the lead designer – provided that they have sufficient skills knowledge and experience in design and construction health and safety risk management. However, choosing a person that fits that bill may or may not be that easy, dependant on the size and complexity of the project in question.

Non-domestic clients also have new duties under the CDM Regulations 2015, including making suitable arrangements to ensure that the construction work is carried out without risks to health or safety, that those arrangements are in place throughout the project, ensuring that both the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor comply with their duties and that the project is notified to the HSE if necessary.

With these new regulations, a lot is riding on clients having sufficient knowledge to be able to discharge their duties, meaning many clients are already looking to appoint a Client CDM Adviser to assist them on larger or more complex projects. Equally many designers, who find themselves being asked to take on the Principal Designer role when they perhaps do not have adequate health and safety skills, knowledge and experience, are also considering appointing a CDM Adviser to help them discharge their legal duties.

On April 22, Constructing Excellence in the North East is holding an event about the CDM changes and what they mean for our industry and you. To find out more, or to register for a place for the event, contact Leanne McAngus on 0191 374 0233 or email leanne@cene.org.uk