The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (“CDM 2015”) came into force on 6 April 2015 and replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The CDM 2015 are intended to ensure that construction works are carried out safely.

Main provisions of the CDM 2015

  1. They affect all construction projects, including small projects or residential projects.
  2. The person who is the client under the CDM 2015 has various duties. There may be more than one person who is a client – for example, where a tenant is carrying out works to its premises, the landlord and the tenant may both be a client. However, the CDM 2015 allow one party to “agree” to be treated as a client under the CDM 2015. The wording is slightly different from the 2007 regulations, which had a similar provision but referred to the party making an “election” to be treated as a client.
  3. The CDM 2015 places greater responsibility on the client to check and review the health and safety arrangements in place throughout the duration of the project including: 
  • the appointment of a contractor to act as “principal contractor” if there is more than one contractor for the project. If the client does not do so, then, except in the case of a “domestic” (i.e. non-business) client, the client itself will be the principal contractor;
  • providing pre-construction information to every contractor and designer;  
  • the contractor, or principal contractor if there is more than one contractor, must draw up a “construction phase plan” which sets out health and safety arrangements and site rules. The client is required to review the construction phase plan throughout the duration of the project as necessary;
  • if there is more than one contractor, the client must appoint a person to act as “principal designer” under the CDM 2015. If the client does not do so, then, except in the case of a domestic client, the client itself will be the principal designer under the CDM 2015. The principal designer must prepare a health and safety file for the project which must be kept under review and revised from time to time as necessary;
  • an ongoing requirement to check that the principal designer and principal contractor comply with their duties; and
  • a duty to “take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the designer or contractor” appointed “have the skills, knowledge and experience” necessary to fulfil their role and to consider the organisational capability of those appointed. 
  1. References in the CDM 2015 to the “principal designer” replace the definition of “CDM co-ordinator” in the 2007 regulations, but the two roles are not exactly the same. A designer may be an architect, quantity surveyor, interior designer or another person who carries out any “design” relating to the works. This may include drawings, design details, specifications, bills of quantity and calculations. 
  2. The client cannot delegate its duties as client under the CDM 2015, except in the case of domestic (i.e. non-business) clients, where the contractor will be liable under the CDM 2015 for the duties of both the contractor and the principal designer.
  3. Previously the CMD co-ordinator (now the principal designer) was responsible for notifying the project to the Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”). Under the CDM 2015, this duty falls on the client. Subject to limited exclusions, a project will be notifiable to the HSE in the following circumstances (similar to the 2007 regulations, except for the words in bold which mean that fewer projects will be notifiable):
  • if the project is scheduled to last longer than 30 working days and has more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  • exceed 500 person days.
  1. There are transitional and saving provisions in relation to projects which began before 6 April 2015. The client must appoint a principal designer (in place of an existing CDM co-ordinator) if the project does not come to an end before 6 October 2015. In addition, the client must appoint in writing a contractor as principal contractor (unless previously appointed) as soon as practicable after 6 April 2015. The CDM co-ordinator must give the health and safety file and all other relevant material to a principal designer, if one is appointed.