New CDM Regulations 2015

New CDM Regulations 2015

Revisions to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations will take effect on April 6th 2015. The changes are being implemented in order to further ensure that robust health and safety planning and performance commences at the design stage and continues not just throughout the duration of the construction project, but into the life of the of building being constructed.

The most notable change is the removal of the position of CDM Coordinator (CDMC) and the transfer of those duties to the Principal Designer which is designed to further the implementation of health and safety into the design of the project.

Below, we detail the organisational structure as set out in the draft guidance produced by the Health and Safety Executive about the duty holders and their respective summarised duties.

CDM 2015 Structure

Client:  ‘A person or organisation for whom a construction project is carried out’

Client duties include the appointment of other duty holders to ensure that health and safety form part of the planning of any project. The client must also make certain that sufficient time and resource is dedicated to the project to allow for all practicable measures to be taken to control risk at source.

Domestic Client: ‘A person who has construction work carried out on their home or that of a family member (not for profit)’

Whilst the above is included in the scope of the CDM Regulations, the duties of a client in domestic cases normally would pass to the contractor or, where there is more than one contractor, to the Principal Contractor.

Designer:  ‘A person who, as part of a business, prepares or modifies designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work’

It is incumbent upon the designer to ensure that they eliminate where possible, reduce where applicable, and control all risk as far as practicable at source, at the design stage. This duty will play a fundamental role in the focus of the health and safety culture of a construction project. The designer must also ensure that all relevant information is passed to other duty holders to ensure that health and safety remains at the forefront of any construction project under the Regulations.

Principal Designer:  ‘A person or organisation appointed by the client for projects involving more than one contractor, the Principal Designer must have sufficient knowledge skill and expertise to carry out the role’

The duties undertaken by this role are to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the health and safety within the pre-construction phase of the project. It is incumbent upon this position to ensure that they liaise with the Principal Contractor and provide all required information to ensure the health and safety of the project. It is this role that will replace the former role of CDMC. The Principal Designer is responsible for the implementation of health and safety and to monitor performance and therefore plays a key role in the entire project.

Principal Contractor:  ‘These are contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project when it involves more than one’

The above must plan, monitor and coordinate the construction phase of a project by ensuring that a Construction Phase Plan is developed and communicated to the Principal Designer and to the contractors involved in the project.

The Principal Contractor is also responsible for ensuring that the onsite arrangements for health and safety are implemented, such as site inductions, site security, active involvement by all contractors with health and safety on site and providing welfare facilities. The health and safety of a site is largely dependant upon the proactive efforts made and the plans implemented prior to the construction project commencing.

Contractor:  ‘A person or an organisation who do the actual construction’

The Contractor(s) must ensure that the work carried out is done without undue risk, and that they must comply with all directives passed to them by the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor.

Changes to the Threshold for Notification

Another change to the Regulations involves the notification of construction projects to the Health and Safety Executive and the criteria for said notification. The 2015 amendments mean that the former criteria (projects expected to last more than 30 days or involving more than 500 person-days of labour) will be replaced by a requirement to notify for all projects involving “more than 30 working days and more than 20 workers simultaneously”. However this will not be the trigger for the appointment of a Principal Contractor or Principal Designer which has been the case to date. Instead, a project with more than one contractor will trigger the allocation of a Principal Contractor or Principal Designer.


It is clear from current accident and injury statistics that construction related industries remains one of the highest areas of workplace injury due to the diversity of the activities carried out within the life of a construction project. The CDM Regulations are designed to ensure that health and safety on a building site does not happen by chance. Instead it should be an integral part of the thinking, planning and execution of the whole project, from the client whose project it is to the contractor on the site carrying out the activities on their behalf.

By embedding health and safety into every part of the construction project, from the designing of the building and the designers considering the health and safety implications inherent to their designs, from both a construction perspective and from an ongoing maintenance point of view, the designers can ensure that risk is controlled at source to lessen the chance of serious injury at the point in which the build takes place.

However, this in no way removes or lessens the need for a robust health and safety culture on the building site, from careful appointment of staff and contractors to the provision of suitable equipment, supervision and training . All of the above are still of paramount importance for ensuring that this essential industry continues to produce the outstanding results it has whilst ensuring the safety of the many persons involved.

For more information of this subject please consult the HSE Website for Draft Guidance on The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Alternatively please contact your dedicated EW Health & Safety Consultant for advice specific to your business.

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