CDM: Designing for now and the future
When looking to install, maintain and demolish a plant and its systems, the designer must consider the safety of the users and workers involved. Not only should the designer consider usage of the facilities now, but its future use and its demolition at the end of life.
CDM requires all parties involved in a project to be responsible for the health and safety of those using the facilities throughout all phases. Where before, these were regulations that impacted only major construction companies, it is now relevant to construction projects on a part of a structure, installation of equipment and the maintenance of that equipment.
What is CDM?
Transcool Systems Ltd engineers need to be aware of the CDM regulations when designing your systems. The Health and Safety Executive issues the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015). These are regulations that manage the health, safety and welfare of all parties within construction projects. The projects cover not only the initial build but also refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repairs, maintenance, and demolition. In short, we need to make sure that your installation will be safe at the time of the initial works, during its use and also at the time of dismantling.
Under CDM, Transcool Systems Ltd work as designers and contractors. Although we are only one link in a chain of responsible parties, along with architects, other contractors and the client, we take our place in this chain seriously.
The role of designers and principal designers
The principal designer must have sufficient knowledge, experience and ability to carry out this work. The designer is under the supervision of the principal designer, though they can be one in the same person. The role of the designer is to “modify designs, eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction (and) the maintenance and use of a building once it is built” (HSE, August 2019). Therefore, the designer is accountable for all future use of the installation. They will fulfil this duty in the information provided to other members of the project team, who will fulfil the instructions given.
The challenges facing the designer
Transcool Systems Ltd tackles multiple challenges facing designers of projects under CDM regulations. The designer of projects is responsible for the safety of workers. This is both during the project, and its use after work has been completed. This also relates to “the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure” (IOSH magazine, 2015).
Therefore, when we undertake technical solutions for our clients we must run a design risk assessment. All our engineers are required to respond to a series of prompts that ensure health and safety now and in the future. For instance, during installation, they are prompted to consider the weather, including the wind speed and any ice. They are also asked to look at floor construction and to ensure there are no uneven surfaces, which could cause health and safety risks for users.
Under CDM regulations we must also consider the work and safety of other contractors while on-site, as well as the impact on the wider environment. Our designers are even prompted to consider the impact on nesting birds.
CDM regulations might sound burdensome. However, we see these considerations as an ethical responsibility to the people involved on-site and to those expected to interact with our technical systems now and in the future. We understand that this is part of the ethical responsibilities you undertake when installing systems of the highest technical excellence.
Contact Transcool Systems if you have any questions regarding our design services. We are happy to address all concerns, offering you quality peace of mind.