How the CDM Regulations 2015 affect you

Surveyors on a construction site - CDM regulations

Did you know that you may now be ‘the principal designer’ and responsible for CDM on site? Hundreds of thousands of domestic building projects are now covered under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM Regulations 2015) thanks to new changes that came into force in April 2015, replacing CDM 2007.

Although construction work by employed or self-employed people was always covered by the CDM 2007 Regulations, CDM 2015 broadens the client’s responsibilities and reinforces them by making them an absolute duty. On domestic projects the contractor must discharge the client’s duties as well as their own, therefore it is of great importance that you understand the new regulations.

The changes were brought about due to the high mortality rate on small sites - of the 44 deaths in 2012/13, around two in three happened on small sites - suggesting proper systems were not being put in place to lessen risk.

What you need to know about the CDM Regulations 2015

  • A commercial client is responsible for the production of pre-construction information; the submission of the F10 notification where the project is notifiable to the HSE, and the checking of competencies of the project team. Where the client is domestic this is the responsibility of the contractor.
  • The commercial client may still be helped with these duties by the new role of Principal Designer, which replaces the Coordinator role of the 2007 Regulations – however, the responsibilities of the commercial client cannot be delegated to a third party.
  • Note that the commercial client may have someone else fulfill the duty, but the responsibility remains with them.
  • On commercial projects, the new role of Principal Designer hopes to ensure that their early appointment in the project lifecycle addresses the principles of prevention that were often missed previously by not assigning a CDM Coordinator early enough in the project. These principles ensure that during the design, build, use, and demolition phases of the project’s lifecycle that all significant risks are either eliminated, reduced or controlled.
  • On a domestic project, the client may appoint the designer (in writing) to manage the health and safety coordination. If not then the responsibility falls to the contractor.
  • Where the CDM Coordinator was previously appointed due to the length of the project’s construction programme, the new role of Principal Designer or Principal Contractor is engaged when there are two or more contractors on the project.
  • The Principal Designer also has a duty to start the health and safety file at the beginning of the project, transferring the file over to the Principal Contractor at the start of their construction phase.
  • You should note that in addition to your duties as a contractor if no Principal Designer exists then the clients' responsibilities may fall onto you, and if you are co-ordinating other contractors you become a ‘Principal Contractor’ with additional duties.
  • Also in the new Regulations are a number of potential hazards that may be found during construction which, if foreseeable on the project, must have clearly defined measures to deal with the risks.

You can find out more about the changes by downloading the HSE’s Managing health and safety in construction guide.


Advice and training?

Submitted 3 years ago

Building Control is responsible for ensuring dangerous structures are made safe. In an emergency this can involve appointing a contractors and instructing them on the work which needs to be done, without the property owner being present or even identified. It would appear that under the CDM regs 2015 we would then assume the role of the Client and Principle Designer and therefore responsible for securing the health and safety of the contractors by planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety in the pre-construction phase of the project.

Can the LABC provide any advice or training specific to BCO's in the skills, knowledge and experience we need to obtain to ensure that we comply with the new CDM Regs when dealing with a dangerous structure?

Roles misleading

Submitted 3 years ago

The principal designers duty in domestic situations is misleading as written above.
The role of the Principal Designer in the pre-construction phase is undertaken by the lead designer as default when not appointed by a domestic client (Regulation 7.2.a).
The controlling contractor takes over the construction phase of the project as Principal Contractor (Regulation 7.2.b).


Submitted 3 years ago

Not all of the above points are technically accurate, eg. PD transferring H&S file over to PC at start of Const. Phase, It depends on the contracted appointment, if PD engaged throughout, then that duty remains to collect H&S Fie info or if designs are being developed in CP, Throughout Const Phase , compile and give to client at end of project, also New Regulations written to default PD duties to a lead designer by default, as written, by domestic clients, look out all those cheap plan providers, HSE Intervention fees and future case law, without a AcOPS currently could land a lot of "designers" in hot water.. time will tell. ?!?.. equally BCO's be helpful, but don't fall into becoming a designer!


Submitted 3 years ago

Is there a template or a file you can get to fill in as you go with the client as I am a self employed builder and don't understand why I have to do a file as I don't earn enough and don't have enough time to do anything else apart from the full day's work ?


Submitted 3 years ago

The term is Principal and not Principle.


Submitted 3 years ago

Thank you all for your comments.

In addition to the HSE website another good source of reference regarding the CDM 2015 Regulations can be found at this website includes various industry guidance documents, videos and a Wizard App together with access to various training courses on CDM via the CITB. LABC already run a dangerous structures training course, there are no immediate plans to run a specific CDM course but we will review the content of the existing course to ensure that it remains up to date with the CDM 2015 regulations.

Cathal Brennan

I agree

Submitted 3 years ago

With this new CDM 2015 regulation now in place, I personally concurred it will go along way to get the Contractor to be well aware of the new possible responsibilities, where no Principal designer has been employed by the client and be able to get to work, knowing fully that all the Principal designer's responsibilities have been passed over to him before the execution of works at the construction phase, which I think if this is strictly employed will reduce the courses of accidents on the construction sites and automatically put a check on the mortality rates, especially on the small domestic project - building sites.


Submitted 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing it

Webmaster note

Submitted 3 years ago

All comments posted at an earlier date to this one have been transferred from our old website.

Update please

Submitted 2 years 7 months ago

I am a structural engineer so i have CDM Regulations drilled in to me. I've recently joined a LA, however so would like to identify my exact duties and responsibilities when checking calculations and attending to dangerous structure. Can anyone recommend where i should go to find my duties, as the above seems rather hazy. Thanks

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