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CDM changes could cause schools crisis

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School governors are threatening to quit if new CDM regulations are enforced that make them liable for health and safety failures on school construction projects.

If enforced, the regulations will prevent the client from being able to discharge its liability to a third person as allowed under CDM 1994.

'School governors are volunteers, often the parents of children at the school. They do not necessarily have any experience of the construction industry and so could not competently and safely oversee a building site, ' said long-standing governor of Hemel Hempstead School in Hertfordshire James Chappelow.

'If the regulations are passed then I would resign my post. I would expect many of my colleagues on the governors committee to do the same.' School governors have been held up as a prime example of an 'uninformed client' by critics of CDM 2007.

Cyril Sweett UK director for health and safety David Brown is a supporter of the new regulations and believes that uninformed clients should be responsible for construction carried out on their behalf: 'Clients have got to stop hiding behind the excuse of 'I don't know any better'.' But he conceded: 'School governors should not have to take on the client's duties.'

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