How Do CDM Regulations (2015) Affect Our Business & Our Clients?

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As Managing Agents, we have always been concerned about the health & safety of all contractors and operatives working on our client’s properties. There has always been a legal obligation for contractors to ensure their safety and that of any owners or occupiers of the property and any members of the public. However, since the arrival of the 2015 Construction & Design Management Regulations (CDM 2015), health & safety in general has never been so onerous on the Client.

Whilst in the UK we have a good record for Health & Safety, there are still a larg e number of fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry every year. The HSE sees property management as high-risk, as we are instructing numerous contractors each day. It is clear from the regulations that they are equally applicable to a small job, such as replacing a brick or changing a light fitting as they are to a significant project like re-roofing. The HSE have made it clear to us that the Regulations must be applied regardless of the size or cost of the work or time/duration that the contractor may be on site. In the event of an accident, the HSE will ask our Clients and us as the Managing Agent, to prove that the appropriate contractor was chosen for the job, that we had appropriate Method Statements and Risk Assessments as well as a Construction Phase Plan from the contractor (for which they are liable) and that the contractor has been supplied with the correct pre-construction health & safety information.

Due to the continuing changes in legislation, correctly checking the competency of contractors has become an almost impossible task for all Managing Agents. As a result of this, Burns has collaborated with three other local Managing Agents. All four firms are members of ARMA (The Association of Residential Managing Agents) and are continuing to strive to work towards best practice throughout the industry.  Collectively we have appointed a specialist Health & Safety Consultant, who now operates an approved contractors list for all four agents. They check the competency and validity of all contractors including their insurances, health & safety policies, training and safe methods of work.

Maintenance contractors such as gardeners, cleaners and window cleaners. are not required to comply with CDM2015, however they are required to produce evidence of current insurance and health and safety competency for the roles they undertake. It is therefore essential that these contractors also pass competency testing to ensure that you as the client and us as your Managing Agents are compliant.

As part of the Client’s duties under CDM 2015, Pre-Construction Information (PCI) must be supplied to the contractor carrying out each job in advance of the work taking place. Pre-Construction Information will include information such as Asbestos Registers, Fire Risk Assessments, Emergency Action Plans, H&S Reports etc.  These packs are collated by the Health & Safety Consultant for a one-off fee initially and then updated when needed.

Inevitably this means that contractors have to spend more time on administration, but pricing is on a more even playing field as all contractors are required to consider health & safety before submitting their quotation.  All of our Clients remain free to nominate contractors to undertake work on their properties, however they must pass health and safety competency checking before they can be instructed.

We appreciate there may be concerns about some smaller contractors and their ability to complete the approval procedure. Both we and the Health & Safety consultants are committed to assisting contractors and are able to offer training where necessary or to point the contractor in the right direction. We stress that we are not looking to remove contractors from our contractors’ list, but Agents and Clients must ensure that the competency checks are adequate and can be relied upon in the worst scenario.

 
 
COVID-19

Following government guidance and in an attempt to keep our colleagues safe we have moved our staff to homeworking where possible. To ensure safety to our team and the wider community we have taken the decision  that our offices should no longer be open to the public and we would request that you do not visit our offices but communicate with us via telephone or email.

It is our intention to keep any disruption to our services to a minimum, however, as colleagues comply with the government directive to self-isolate the inevitability of significant staff and contractor illness and therefore absenteeism means that some disruption is anticipated. It is our considered opinion that delays should be expected and we would therefore ask our clients and leaseholders to be as understanding as possible during these tough times for all.

We will endeavour to ensure as little disruption possible however, during this period, we will be focusing on the essential aspects of the safety, security and running of essential services at your building whilst maintaining a degree of response to lessee queries. We therefore need your assistance in ensuring that communications with our office are limited to matters that require urgent attention during this very stressful and anxious time for the nation.

We do anticipate potential delays and disruption with the postal service, therefore if you have not already opted to receive all correspondence from us by email, we would strongly recommend that you contact us at admin@burnshamilton.co.uk providing your permission to ensure you are safely receiving all critical correspondence.

To ensure your calls continue to come through to us we have made some changes to our phone system. In order to get through to your key contact please note the extension numbers below for our property teams. Simply enter the extension number on your phone when prompted.

For Andrew Hargadon & Imani Robinson use Ext. 554

For Brian Collins & Sebastian Perry-Symes use Ext. 550

For Dave Wheeler & Margaret Vernam use Ext. 556

For Natasha Haisaid & Virginia Contreras use Ext. 558

For Tim Richards & Rafaela Ribeiro use Ext. 559

For Linda Clarke & Leila Sam-Daliri use Ext. 555

For Lizzy Ellis & Imani Robinson use Ext. 554

For Richard Payne & Emma Preston use Ext. 553

For Tim Townsend & Donna Vernam use Ext. 552

For the latest government advice, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

We would thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation during this unprecedented period.