What is the meaning of CDM Regulations?

What is the meaning of CDM Regulations? Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.

The CDM Regulations were brought into play in 1994 to improve the health and safety of construction projects and have been revised a few times since first introduced, but they still have the same purpose — to ensure the safety and welfare of all people involved in construction projects. The latest changes to the CDM in construction were in 2015, so the regulations we know and adhere to now are known as the CDM Regulations 2015.

The aim of the CDM regulations is to improve health and safety in the construction industry by defining different types of duty holders with varying levels of responsibility for health and safety on a construction project. They require project planning, cooperation and coordination of the workforce, effective employment of skilled staff for the right job at the right time, an assessment of risks and communication of these risks and necessary controls with workers on site.

Why are they so important?

Every year workers in the construction industry are injured or develop work-related illnesses. Fatalities in the construction industry are also commonplace, as shown by recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). By adhering to CDM Regulations, construction companies and contractors can ensure that risk is kept to a minimum, and workers and site-visitors are protected from harm, and of course, complying with these regulations is a legal requirement which must be adhered to.

Duty holders

Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties under the CDM Regulations. These ‘duty holders’ are defined as follows.


Defined as anyone who has construction work carried out for them. Their main duty is to make sure that health and safety on their project is suitably managed. There are two types of clients; commercial and domestic. A domestic client does not have the same level of responsibility as a commercial client and responsibilities are normally passed on to other duty holders.


Defined as a person or organisation who prepares or modifies drawings, specifications, designs or calculations. Their main duty is to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction work or during the use and maintenance of a building once complete. If a project has more than one contractor the client must appoint a principal designer whose main duty is to manage and co-ordinate health and safety issues during the design phase.

Principal Contractor

Normally appointed when there is more than one contractor during the construction phase of a project. Their main duty is to manage, plan, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety during the construction phase.


This can be an individual or business that oversees construction work. Anyone who manages construction work or engages construction workers is a contractor, and their main duty is to plan, manage and coordinate the work under their control to ensure the health and safety of anyone affected by it.


Defined as an individual employed by the contractor who carries out work involving building, altering, maintaining or demolishing. Workers can include such people as plumbers, electricians, painters, scaffolders, labourers, supervisors and foremen. Their main duties are to cooperate with other duty holders and report anything they see that might affect or endanger health and safety during the project. Workers must be consulted on matters which might affect their health and safety and welfare.

In summary, the CDM Regulations aim to:

  • Improve planning and management of projects from the very start.
  • Identify hazards early on, so they can be eliminated or reduced at the design or planning stage and the remaining risks can be properly managed.
  • Target effort where it can do the most good in terms of health and safety.
  • Encourage teamwork and cooperation.
  • Ensure that the right information is given to the right people at the right time.
  • Help clients to check that everyone is doing what they should be doing.
  • Non-compliance with the CDM Regulations can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment. In addition to this, it’s a professional requirement for anyone involved in construction to have an understanding of these regulations.


For further information on CDM Regulations and advice, please contact us here.

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