Over half the industry does not understand how the change in responsibilities under the revised Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations will affect them, a survey by NCE this week has revealed.
The survey of nearly 500 professionals, showed that 52% of the UK construction industry do not understand their revised responsibilities.
Yet Health & Safety Executive inspector Alec Ferguson is not concerned about the lack of awareness. 'This is an encouraging response at this stage, with four months to go before the revised CDM regulations are in place, ' he says.
'Bearing in mind that the guidance material and the Approved Code of Practice is yet to be published, there is good scope for even better understanding by the time they are introduced.' Of those surveyed, 63% were not convinced that the revisions will improve project safety and said it was too early to tell;
16% believe it will not improve safety; and just 21% think it will.
Ferguson says: 'The revised regulations provide an opportunity to improve health and safety in construction. Those surveyed are probably right to be cautiously optimistic.' Many respondents agreed that the revisions were 'a step forward' and that any attempt at improving regulations and legislation should be applauded.
One respondent attacked the revised regulations, stating they were 'a missed opportunity'.
'They have failed to meet the needs of the industry and as a result will fail to have an impact.
Much that was discussed in the consultation that preceded the revisions has not materialised.' Surprisingly, nearly 90% of designers claimed that they treated the CDM regulations as an integrated part of the design process.
Past criticisms of designers are that in many cases they either treat the regulations as a box-ticking exercise or leave them out altogether.
'This is what I would expect from the better-informed designers, who would respond to this type of survey.
'However, the real point is that designers do not have any great diffi ulty in considering the requirements of CDM while designing, ' says Ferguson.
On the other hand it could mean that designers are under the impression that they are doing enough under the regulations when in fact they are only paying lip service to them.
One respondent claimed: 'The industry doesn't see CDM as an integral part of design, just as a added extra to the design progress.
'I feel the regulations need to impose safety as a major factor and consideration during construction design, not only by engineering designers, but also by architects and clients.'