Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015

Author: Stephanie Tilley

The Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM Regs) of 2007 have been revised by the CDM Regs 2015 and these changes, which took effect on 6th April 2015, relate to the management of Health & Safety on construction, engineering and property projects and developments, and the extension of the responsibilities and obligations to affect domestic projects. Criminal and civil sanctions continue to attach to any breaches.

In summary, the key changes are as follows:

1. Health and Safety responsibilities have been shifted further onto the client so that the client must now:

  • Make suitable arrangements for managing a project including allocation of sufficient time and resources and keep the arrangements under review;
  • Ensure a construction phase plan is drawn up by the principal contractor or sole contractor;
  • Where there is more than one contractor ensure that a Health and Safety File if prepared by and revised by the principal designer;
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal designer and principal contractor each comply with their obligations. (Regulation 4)

2. The regulations now apply also to projects for domestic clients. However, the burden on a domestic client is minimised as the regulations automatically pass the majority of a domestic client’s duties to other duty holders. A contractor who is a sole contractor for a domestic client has not only his own duties as contractor as set out in Regulation 15 to observe, but also the duties of the client. If there is more than one contractor they need to know who is the principal contractor.

However, some of the obligations on the client, such as the obligation to provide a safe site, do remain with the domestic client. (Regulation 7)

3. The role of the CDM Co-ordinator has been removed and the role of principal designer introduced. For domestic clients using more than one contractor this is the designer in control of the pre-construction phase. One of the principal designer’s key duties is to plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase and co-ordinate matters relating to Health and Safety to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that the project is carried out without risk to Health and Safety. He also has to prepare and maintain a Health and Safety File. (Regulation 11)

Regulation 15 sets out other key duties of the contractors.

4. The explicit competence requirements for designers and contractors have been removed and have been replaced with a more general requirement for them to have appropriate skills, knowledge and experience. (Regulation 8)

5. The threshold for projects to be notifiable to the HSE has been reduced and projects are now only notifiable where they are scheduled to last either longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers simultaneously at any point in the project or exceed 500 person days.

Notification no longer triggers additional duties. The additional duties instead arise elsewhere eg where there is more than one contractor as this triggers the obligation to appoint a principal contractor and all projects now require construction phase plans.

It can be seen therefore, that the way in which Health and Safety is planned and managed has been significantly changed by the CDM Regs 2015.

Please contact a member of our Commercial Property team if you have any questions regarding these changes.