The introduction of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) are without doubt one of the biggest developments in the whole of the conference, exhibition and events sector. But while event associations have joined forces to create a set of guidelines and key documents to support their members and help them understand the new legislation there is little support for the conference industry.
With a number of support pillars from various association bodies the event industry is in a very privileged position. Arenas, venues, organisers and suppliers have a channel to communicate to each other and collectively they have a voice that will be heard - ultimately they are empowered in a way the conference industry sadly isn’t.
With CDM training courses focusing specifically on construction, and with the HSE guidelines not really representing conferencing, surely there are people in our industry asking ‘what does this mean for us?’ But without a representing body to answer these questions will this lead to people burying their head in the sand?
As one of the leading venues in the UK we have the experience, knowledge and resources to give our customers the support they need to understand how this new legislation affects them and their business. I’m confident other large venues will be doing the same – but what about smaller venues, who perhaps don’t have the same framework as the bigger players?
These changes can raise all kinds of fears and challenges for the conferencing industry, but it’s important not to lose sight of the reason they’ve been implemented and that is to ensure the safety of on-site workers. With the following pointers we hope we can help alleviate these concerns:
1. Map out the journey of a conference organiser and understand what their roles and responsibilities look like and how they could be discharged.
2. Create a framework that enables you to assess the competency of your contractors, as although they are responsible for their own actions, it will be your name and reputation that could be in the middle of a PR crisis should the unthinkable happen.
3. Ensure your client has a thorough site induction so they are aware of your rules and regulations
4. Ensure your client knows it is their responsibility to communicate site rules to their contractors – as mentioned in point one.
5. The new legislation isn’t all about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it’s about taking a proportionate and practical approach to the risk management.
6. The conference industry may not have the support of an association but there are resources available such as the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CITB) CDM Wizard App, for small and medium size organisers.
The introduction of any new legislation or industry changes can lead to people ‘not seeing the woods for the trees’. But, by taking a step back to look at the processes you already have in place, by working with team members to distinguish clear roles and responsibilities, by ensuring open two-way communication, by setting bench-marks and by learning from others any change can be embraced as a positive change.
Nick Waight, Managing Director of the ICC Birmingham and the Vox.