Architects wasting millions by ignoring CDM regulations, says Project Four

Leading CDM specialist Project Four says money is being squandered through multiple areas of construction projects and safety is being put at risk. Tony McDonough reports

Ignorance of current CDM regulations is pushing up costs, says Project Four


Architects and developers are wasting millions of pounds every year and putting construction workers at risk by ignoring CDM (construction, design and management) regulations.

Liverpool-based CDM specialist Project Four says money is being squandered through multiple areas, including:

  • Buildings that do not function because the design team has not has support and guidance from CDM Advisor and/or an effective principal designer.
  • Paying fines such as Fees for Intervention (aka FFI).
  • Paying fees to consultants on a project by project basis, and still failing to achieve minimum compliance on CDM 2015.

Project Four directors Alan Robson and Max Meadows say ignorance of a tough new regulatory regime, implemented in 2015, was leading to unnecessary costs and compromised safety on construction sites across the UK.

The firm, based at Avenue HQ on Liverpool’s waterfront, is providing CDM expertise on developments across the UK worth more than £1bn and a string of testimonials from clients demonstrates the value of its know-how.

But Alan and Max say they are genuinely shocked at how many professionals (designers, clients + contractors) in the construction sector are still not aware of their responsibilities when it comes to CDM.

Strategy workshops

They have delivered a series of strategy workshops to developers, architects, engineers and contractors across the country in order to get the vital message out there. Alan said: “Inevitably there will be a ‘light bulb’ moment during our presentation when the realisation of where they are going wrong sinks in.”

The area of biggest confusion, he says, is the role of ‘principal designer’ created by the 2015 regulations. Alan adds: “The principal designer’s role is to plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase of the project to co-ordinate health and safety. The principal designer has statutory duties under CDM 2015 that play a vital role in achieving success.

“We act as ‘advisor to the principal designer’, and help them implement a regime across their project to ensure they are compliant with CDM regulations. Often it is the architect who is the principal designer and too many of them remain in the dark on this issue.

“They are wasting hundred of thousands and, in some cases, millions of pounds, by paying consultants on a project-by-project basis, and still failing to meet compliance. There is often genuine surprise we outline just how much money they can save with retained strategic support.” 

Range of projects

Project Four is working on a range of projects in the North West and across the UK. In Liverpool it has been appointed to work with construction firm Wates on plans for a hotel next to the city’s new cruise liner terminal.

And late last year the firm secured contracts on major residential schemes in Croydon, Southampton and Leeds and embarked on a recruitment drive to meet the ever-growing demand for its expertise.

We are working with a wide range of architect clients across the UK, from small to large blue-chip organisations.  P4 have retained contracts with Shedkm, Boyes Rees Architects, Buttress, JDA, K2 to name a few.

Shedkm says Project Four has been “instrumental in our address of evolving principal designer duties” adding it had provided mentoring and nurturing of its skill-set, explaining everything in “plain English”.

Max Meadows, added: “While we continue to grow our client base we will also keep plugging away to spread the message about CDM compliance. It is one of the major issues facing the UK construction sector right now.”

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