The hospitality industry like most others has to move with the times and one way in which this can often be achieved is by developing new premises or altering and refurbishing existing premises.

If you are planning or involved in a construction, development or redevelopment project then understanding the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM2015) is essential. As a direct employer of the professionals on a project you would be required to comply with CDM 2015 as a Client or you might possibly be a landlord, funder or buyer which also has those obligations.

The CDM2015 has applied to almost all construction projects since 6 April 2015 when the previous 2007 regulations were replaced . However between 6 April 2015 and 6 October 2015, a project that began before 6 April 2015 was subject to transitional provisions. As from6 October 2015 these transitional provisions no longer apply.

The CDM2015 apply to almost all construction, engineering or development work in Great Britain. There’s no exclusion for small or domestic projects and very limited situations where the CDM2015 won’t apply (and note domestic projects are not dealt with in this article).Criminal sanctions apply to a breach of the CDM2015, through the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The CDM2015 don’t allow any exclusion or modification where the Client is an unincorporated association, a volunteer group, a charity or a club. CDM2015 defines business as "a trade, business or other undertaking (whether for profit or not). 

The CDM2015 apply throughout a project. A Client has duties before, during and after construction. Once appointed, a designer or contractor has its own duties.

Your obligations as the Client

As Client you must make suitable arrangements for managing a project so that construction work can be carried out, so far as reasonably practicable, without risks to the health and safety of any person affected by the project. This is an ongoing obligation and arrangements must be maintained and reviewed.

A Client must also ensure that:

  • It provides pre-construction information (e.g. any existing structural drawings, asbestos survey or other relevant information) to every contractor and designer.
  • The contractor contractor prepares a construction phase plan before construction works begin.
  • The principal designer prepares a health and safety file. But the duty to appoint a principal designer, and so the duty to see that it prepares the health and safety file, only applies if there is more than one contractor.

You must in addition "take reasonable steps" to ensure any principal contractor and principal designer comply with their other duties (see below for further details).

Multiple Clients 

A construction project may have more than one Client. For example, you may be involved in an informal joint venture or be a funder, landlord, buyer or other interested party giving instructions to a designer or contractor. If so, such a person may also be a person "for whom the project is carried out". The CDM2015 now requires all the Clients to "agree in writing" which of them will be treated as the Client for these purposes.

Multiple contractors

As mentioned above, where a project uses (or will use) more than one contractor, the Client must appoint a principal designer and principal contractor. The CDM2015 includes a wide definition of contractor. For example:

  • Using one contractor to demolish an existing structure and another to carry out a simple building project means that the project is using more than one contractor.
  • If a client appoints a single main contractor and that main contractor will appoint one or more sub-contractors, then the project uses more than one contractor.

Nearly all commercial projects require a principal designer and principal contractor. The Client must make both those appointments before any construction work starts on site or itself fulfil the duties of the unfilled roles.

Notifying the Health and Safety Executive

The Client must also notify the HSE of a project if either of the following apply:

  • Construction work is scheduled to last longer than 30 working days and have more than20 workers on site at any point.
  • Construction work is scheduled to exceed 500 person days.

This duty used to fall to the old role of CDM co-ordinator which is now abolished.

Key duties of a principal designer

A designer is any person (including a Client, contractor or other person referred to in the CDM2015) who in the course or furtherance of business prepares or modifies a design or arranges for, or instructs, any person under their control to do so. A design includes drawings, design details, specifications and bills of quantities and calculations.

A person who is not traditionally regarded as a designer may have to comply with the CDM2015's obligations on a designer. For example, a quantity surveyor may be a designer because it prepares a bill of quantities. A project manager may have an input into a specification. 

If the project uses more than one contractor, the Client must appoint a principal designer. The Client must appoint any designer with control over the pre-construction phase as theprincipal designer.

The principal designer must plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase to ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, the project is carried out without risks to health or safety.

The crux of this role is to make sure all the designers' design comes together in a way that delivers a project that can be built and used safely. The principal designer coordinates the handover of a safely-designed project to the principal contractor so that the principal contractor can then safely build that project. This leads into the duty to create, maintain and (often) complete the health and safety file.

Key duties of the principal contractor

It must plan, manage and monitor the construction phase and coordinate matters relating to health and safety during the construction phase to ensure that, so far as reasonably practicable, construction work is carried out without risk to health or safety.

The principal contractor coordinates the contractors, provides a site induction, takes the necessary steps to secure the site against unauthorised access and provides the minimum welfare requirements (for example, washrooms, changing rooms, running water and drinking water). It liaises with the principal designer. This leads into the duty to create and maintain the construction phase plan.

It must make and maintain arrangements which will enable the principal contractor and workers engaged in construction work to cooperate effectively in developing, promoting and checking the effectiveness of measures to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the workers.

The construction phase plan

The principal contractor has primary responsibility for drawing up the construction phase plan. The principal designer must support that work, providing pre-construction information and information from designers.

The principal contractor must put the construction phase plan in place before setting up the construction site. Site rules must take account of what goes on at the site. The principal contractor has to plan specifically for any hazardous activity referred to in the CDM2015, for example work where there is a risk of earthfalls or where there are hazardous chemicals.

The health and safety file

The principal designer's work on the health and safety file must begin in the pre-construction phase. It is a document which ends up in the hands of the Client (or a purchaser or end user), having been used during the pre-construction and construction phases of the project. The health and safety file should be appropriate to the circumstances and simple project can have a simple file.

The principal designer must keep the health and safety file up to date as the project progresses. The principal contractor must provide necessary information to the principal designer during the construction phase.

The CDM2015 require that, if the principal designer's appointment concludes before the project ends, it must pass the health and safety file to the principal contractor. The principal contractor must then keep it up to date  before it hands the file to the Client.

On a small project with a sole contractor, the CDM2015 do not require the appointment of a principal designer. In such a case the CDM2015 do not require a health and safety file for such a project.

General duties

The CDM 2015 also sets out the general duties that apply to everyone involved on a construction project, including workers, whatever their formal role (client, contractor, designer, principal contractor or principal designer). Those general duties relate to:

  • Competence. A person appointing a designer or contractor must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that this requirement is met.
  • Co-operation. Everyone with a duty under the CDM2015 must co-operate with all others with duties.
  • Reporting danger. 
  • Providing information and instruction. Any person required to provide information or give an instruction must do that comprehensibly and as soon as practicable.

This is a complex area of regulation and so the overriding advice we would offer is to consider how you will comply with your obligations early in the process and review matters regularly.