Introduction to CDM Regulations 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations are in place to ensure management of health and safety when carrying out any construction project. These regulations first came into place in 1994, and have since been revised, with the latest changes in 2015.

What are the CDM Regulations?

The CDM (Construction Design and Management) Regulations 2015 aim to improve the health and safety of construction projects by providing steps that should be taken to manage risks effectively. In the UK, statistics show that the fatal injury rate of the construction industry is three times higher than the all-industry rate, and every year tens of thousands of construction workers suffer from work-related ill-health. This is why the regulations are extremely important, helping to keep risk to a minimum.

Every construction project must comply with the CDM Regulations 2015 as a legal requirement. The guidance and CDM Regulations 2015 can be viewed on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Client Duties in relation to the CDM Regulations

Clients, domestic or commercial, are the individual or business who the construction project is being carried out for. For domestic clients, their duties are often passed onto their principal designer, but commercial clients will have duties and responsibilities.

Commercial duties include:

• Making sure suitable arrangements are in place for managing their project. This includes appointing project roles, allowing sufficient time and resources, ensuring welfare facilities are provided and the principal designer and contractor appointed to carry out their duties.

• Review and maintain management arrangements throughout the project.

• Provide pre-construction information that shows all the possible information needed. This will include access, boundaries, site security, and health hazards.

• Ensure the principal contractor or contractor prepares a construction phase plan before it begins, and the principal designer prepares a health and safety file for the project.

Notification Requirement

If a project is going to last longer than 30 working days, involves more than 20 workers at any one time, or where the work exceeds 500 individual worker days, the Health and Safety Executive will need to be notified in writing. A copy of this F10 notification must always be displayed on site.

Duties of a Principal Designer

Every project with more than one contractor requires a principal designer. During the pre-construction phase of the project, the designer will take lead and have duties and responsibilities. These include:

• Helping to set up the project with the client, ensuring the pre-construction information is adequate. The principal designer should also advise clients about the time and resources that will be needed for the project.

• Coordinating health and safety to identify and control risk. If a risk is identified, the principal designer will need to consider ways to reduce the risk or eliminate it. They will also take charge of the health and safety file, ensuring it is reviewed, updated, and revised as the project progresses.

• Work together with all contractors and designers to ensure duties are carried out and everyone has the relevant information they need.

Duties of Principal Contractor

The principal contractor will be appointed by a client and take lead during the construction phase when a project involves more than one contractor. Their responsibilities include:

• Review and consider all health and safety risks that could arise during the construction project. They will communicate with the principal designer about any health and safety information.

• Communicate clearly with the client and principal designer to ensure all risks are considered, review the pre-construction information and determine the methods that will be undertaken to deliver the project.

• Create a construction phase plan which will detail all of the health and safety risks that will be managed throughout the project.

• Manage the contractors and workers to ensure work schedules are organised and everyone is provided with relevant site information.

Next steps

Typically an architect will become the principal designer of a project due to their initial involvement prior to construction. However, some project managers can also fulfill this role. Sillence Hurn can act as your Principal Designer and fulfill the obligations required under the Principal Designer. 

Find out more about our project management services here.


Disclaimer: Please note this article is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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