In construction, CDM stands for the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, these are a set of health and safety regulations that apply to every construction project in Great Britain. The regulations were brought into play in 1994 to improve the health and safety of construction projects to ensure the safety of all involved, with the latest changes being made in 2015, hence often being referred to as CDM2015. Our latest article offers a guide to CDM regulations and understanding the importance of these regulations and the benefits to both clients and companies.

To achieve its objectives the CDM regulations place duties on virtually everyone involved in construction work, particularly on key members of the project team such as the client, designers and contractors.

Client responsibility

The client is defined in the CDM regulations as “any person for whom a project is carried out”. This could be a single person, a group of people, even a business. The client is usually the person instructing contractors and designers, and deciding what work will be done. CDM 2015 makes a distinction between commercial clients and domestic clients. Client duties apply in full to commercial clients (for domestic clients the duties normally pass to other duty holders).

For all projects, clients must:-

  • Appoint the contractors and designers to the project (including the principal designer and principal contractor on projects involving more than one contractor) while making sure they have the skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability.
  • Prepare a Client Brief – Before the project begins, clients should prepare a brief that outlines the reason for the construction work, what the client is envisioning from the completed project, expectations of how the project will be carried out and expected health and safety standards. This is used to communicate the expected standards and project requirements to the project team.
  • Notify the HSE – The Health and Safety Executive needs to be notified of any construction projects that exceed 500 person-days, or last longer than thirty working days and have more than twenty people working at the same time at any point. Notifying the HSE is the responsibility of the client.
  • Allow Sufficient Time and Resources – Clients are required to allow contractors sufficient time and resources to complete the project safely.

Principal Designer

The principal designer is in overall control of health and safety at the pre-construction phase and The CDM Regulations 2015 introduced the requirement for every project with more than one contractor to have a Principal Designer. They must plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase and coordinate to ensure (as far as is reasonably practicable) the project is carried out without risks to health and safety. They also liaise with the principal contractor throughout a project sharing appropriate information in a timely manner and assisting the principal contractor by providing relevant info to feed into the pre-construction phase plan. He or she is also responsible for preparing and regularly reviewing and updating the health and safety file.

Principal Contractor

A principal contractor is appointed by the client to control the construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor and whilst the Principal Designer takes charge of the pre-construction phase of the project, the Principal Contractor takes the lead during the construction phase. Principal contractors have an important role in managing health and safety risks during the construction phase so they must have the skills, knowledge, experience and, where relevant, organisational capability  to carry out this work.

The requirements of CDM don’t just fall on one person to take care of. Each of the duty holders needs to work together to make sure that the project can be carried out without risk to health and safety. For further information on a guide to CDM regulations and how we can assist, please contact us here.