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#1 Posted : 16 May 2023 18:41:29(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Hi all, I’ve been a HSEQ Advisor for the past 3 years and have recently applied for and got an interview for a new HSEQ Advisor role on a CDM site. In the industry I work in at the moment I haven’t had any dealings with CDM etc. I of course briefly touched on CDM on my NEBOSH General however my knowledge is very limited. Can someone please help me with what I will need to know about CDM at the interview and what questions referencing CDM should I be asking? Is there any useful training material or resources online that I can look through other than the hse website? Thank you in advance!
peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 17 May 2023 10:44:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Morning Char

Presumably the interviewers have your CV, which unless it has gone over the top in overegging your background should indicate that you are unlikely to have had much experience of CDM at the sharp end.

This leaves you with two types of interviewer (and the panel might include both!!)

1. Those who recognise that you will be on a CDM learning curve if you get the job and hence will not be expecting you to be brilliant with any answers on CDMish questions, but who want to know what transferable skills you will bring to the table - after all the project team should all be familiar with implementing CDM.

2. Those who will expect you to be semi-expert on CDM despite the indication in your CV that this has not been your forte. To be honest, no amount of preparation is likely to persuade this type of interviewer that you are right for the job UNLESS there aren't any candidates who have lived and breathed CDM OR they come with a price tag that the recruiter is unwilling to match.

So, I would read the current guidance on CDM - L153 downloadable from the HSE website.

....and IGNORE all the waffle about the exclusions - the project won't be for a "domestic client" and there won't be any debates about various thresholds for application of some of the regulations.

Focus on Parts 1 to 3.

Part 4 is a consolidation of the precautions and welfare requirements that have been around almost word for word since the 1960s (actually earlier).

Better still, try and find a copy of L144 which was the Approved Code of Practice and guidance supporting the previous iteration of CDM (2007) - has good guidance on taking a proportionate approach to the selection of supply chain contractors etc. May still be on the HSENI website. But remember that it covered slightly different legislative requirements (though not that much changed).

Then read HSG150 "Health and safety in construction" as that gives you practical advice on just about everything in Part 4 of CDM.

Remember that CDM doesn't sit in splendid isolation. All the other Regulations that you are probably familiar with apply in construction as in any other sector.

As I said earlier the project team should understand what needs to be done for CDM whilst the internal and/or external auditors are entirely capable of ticking boxes to say that certain deliverables have been done. But they might be less capable of commenting on the QUALITY of those deliverables.

So, they should want an HSEQ adviser to help them out with the practical things about identifying the actual risks of whatever process is to be done and how to mitigate those risks.

AND you might be able to add value by NOT knowing much about construction projects. You would bring fresh thinking as you haven't had the chance to get so accustomed to "we've always done it this way" that you can ask "WHY are you doing it this way?"

Good luck, Peter

#3 Posted : 05 June 2023 13:24:36(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Good afternoon, my question is are you competent in all aspects of CDM? because you would be expected to deal with Principal Designers and their questions along with your input to the designs all along the way, I understand you would be working for the PC and having to liaise with sub contractors, possibly approving or not their RA/MS.

If you bump into the HSE inspector on site, or even in the office they will expect you to give correct answers to their questions.

Sorry if I'm a killjoy but I've been there and got all the T shirts, but wish you the very best of luck.

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 05 June 2023 16:53:56(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Char - I entirely disagree with firesafety on this.

If you apply their logic there would be no prospect of "succession management" in the multitude of organisations who make up UK construction (clients, consultants, contractors).

Succession management relies heavily on bringing in people who DON'T know it all OR headhunting and leaving it to others to develop the next generation.

I've been "doing" CDM since 1993 (the first iteration didn't actually come into force until 31.3.1995) and have put a succession of newbies or those moving from other sectors into various types of HSE role involving construction projects.

They repeatedly added value by bringing fresh thinking to the table.

The role of the Coordinator for Safety and Health Matters in the Project Preparation Stage as envisaged in EC Directive 92/57/EEC was initially transposed in the UK by the creation of the role of a Planning Supervisor. In 2007 this job was retitled CDM Co-ordinator.

Neither worked very well, partly as the role was all too often done by health and safety professionals with limited understanding of actually doing design and/or building structures, and at least in part as enforcement was next to non-existent and when it rarely happened routinely directed against tiny companies.

So, in 2015, the role changed title again to Principal Designer with a clear definition that the role holder had to have certain designer characteristics - HSE assumed that it would be usually Designers who took on the PD mantel, PERHAPS aided by H&S professionals.

When we get to the Construction Phase, it was always easier and so the role of Principal Contractor has never changed title. The PC should do what the Main or Management Contractor should have been doing BEFORE CDM. The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC - set up under the former Health and Safety Commission) published guidance to Main Contractors and Management Contractors in the late 1980s ("the red books") whose text is remarkably similar to that in current guidance to Principal Contractors.

CDM has been around for over 25 years so most of the Clients should know what they have to do, most of the Consultants ditto, and most of the Contractors knew what was needed before CDM, excepting those intent on cutting corners - then and still.

Your application is for an "HSEQ Advisor" role - NOT as a CDM specialist.

#5 Posted : 06 June 2023 10:23:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Hi Peter and Char, we are about opinions here and I appreciate yours Peter. As you have reminded us the role applied for is adviser on a CDM site so it seems likely he would be advising on CDM matters and his knowledge would be relied on.  I have recently declined the offer of working for a construction (shopfitting) company who are currently operating on a CDM site within a Petrochemical company's boundary, in Ellesmere Port.  I know I don't have the knowledge and competence therefore I pulled out even though the work does not involve the high risk stuff.

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