Get ready for CDM 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) came into force on 6th April 2015. All those involved in CDM projects need to closely examine the Guidance and the Regulations to get ready for CDM 2015 —anything less could lead to costly hold-ups on projects underway, and at worse, result in legal action.

Action that needs to be takiStock_000046928776Largeen for CDM 2015

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Regulation 5 requires every employer to have health and safety arrangements in place for the effective management of health and safety. In practice, this means that the following action is required.

  • Policies (and those including CDM requirements) must be reviewed and amended in light of requirements brought in by CDM 2015.
  • Procedures which relate to CDM must also be reviewed and amended. Forms and pro-formas may also need revision. The guidance document can be used to obtain practical help on how to implement the changes.
  • Training Needs Analysis (TNA). It will be important to perform a TNA or a similar exercise to identify what training is required within the organisation and by whom. All roles relating to CDM need to be examined (including those at board level) and suitable training implemented as soon as possible. The TNA must cover not only the new requirements of CDM 2015 but also any changes to CDM policies and procedures within the organisation. Where required, training may need to be extended to contractors, sub-contractors and other personnel.
  • Properly consulting and engaging with workers. This, in particular, will be a key factor in managing a successful implementation of CDM 2015.

Equally, when considering the implementation of CDM 2015, it is important to be mindful of the transitional arrangements detailed in the Regulations since they have been amended and enhanced (in light of comments made in the Consultation process for CDM 2015) and may considerably affect appointments, roles and responsibilities during the transitional period.

Transitional arrangements

Under CDM 2007, a client was required to appoint a CDM co-ordinator to:

  • Provide advice and assistance to the client
  • Make arrangements for the coordination and implementation of health and safety measures during the pre-construction phase
  • Identify and collect the pre-construction information.

CDM 2015 removes this role and replaces it with a new role — that of the principal designer.

Schedule 4 of CDM 2015 provides transitional arrangements for projects which span until 6th April 2015.

For projects:

  • Involving more than one contractor
  • Starting before 6 April 2015
  • Where a CDM co-ordinator has not yet been appointed
  • And where the construction phase has yet to start

— the client must appoint a principal designer as soon as practically possible.

The client is not required to appoint a principal designer if the construction phase has already started, but may do so if they wish. If they choose not to appoint a principal designer, the principal contractor takes on the responsibility for the health and safety file. In these circumstances, any designer involved with the project should provide information about any residual risks in designs to the principal contractor.

Where on 6th April 2015 the client had already appointed a CDM co-ordinator, a principal designer must be appointed within six months, i.e. by 6th October 2015.

The CDM co-ordinator must then comply with the duties listed in paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 for the duration of their appointment. These duties broadly reflect duties of a CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007, but also reflect the arrangements under CDM 2015 which relate to the construction phase plan and the health and safety file.

During the transitional period, CDM co-ordinators do not have to satisfy the criteria for a principal designer under regulation 5(1)(a) that they should be a designer with control over the pre-construction phase of the project, nor do they have to comply with the principal designer duties under regulation 11.

Other transitional provisions iStock_000045590398XXLarge

These are:

  • Any pre-construction information, construction phase plan or health and safety file provided in accordance with the requirements of CDM 2007 are recognised as meeting the requirements of the equivalent provisions in CDM 2015
  • Notification of a project in accordance with CDM 2007 is recognised as a notification for the purposes of CDM 2015; and
  • A principal contractor appointed under CDM 2007 will be considered to be a principal contractor for the purposes of CDM 2015.

Key points to consider

Principal designer

The role of the CDM co-ordinator role (under CDM 2007) has been replaced by the Principal Designer. This means that responsibility for co-ordination of the pre-construction phase will rest with the Principal Designer. Those appointed as Principal Designer need to have the necessary skills, experience and capability. Principal Designers must be appointed where there is more than one contractor involved in the project.

Designing for safety

The new role of the Principal Designer is likely to lead to more emphasis on the importance of “designing for safety” during construction. Does the design team understand the concept of “designing for safety” and know how to perform “design” risk assessments and the implementation of control measures in line with the General Principles of Prevention as set out at Appendix 1 of CDM 2015?


The explicit requirements for competence contained in CDM 2007 and its accompanying ACOP have been removed and replaced with a specific but general requirement for appropriate skills at Regulation 8 of CDM 2015. All appointments and those working on site must meet this requirement. In practice procedures need to be developed which satisfy the Guidance to CDM 2015, so that persons have the necessary skills.


Projects will need to be notified by clients where they last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or the project is likely to exceed 500 person days. Notification procedures will need amendment.

Domestic clients

Domestic clients are in scope of CDM 2015 and this was primarily introduced to satisfy the requirements of the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive. In practice, their duties as a client will be transferred to:

  • The contractor, on a single contractor project;
  • The principal contractor, on a project involving 
more than one contractor.

Procedures need to reflect and prepare for this.

Client duties

As with CDM 2007, the duties of the client are seen as imperative to the success of the new CDM regulations. With an overriding responsibility for managing a project, clients will now need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor for projects where there will be more than one contractor involved. In such projects, procedures will need to specify and activate this requirement.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

Post A Comment

Fields marked with * are mandatory.

I have read, understood and give consent to your Privacy Policy (click here to view).