CDM Regulations

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.

Introduced in 2015, the aim of the CDM regulations is to improve health and safety in the construction industry by defining different types of duty holders with varying levels of responsibility for health and safety on a construction project.

In brief, the CDM Regulations require project planning, cooperation and coordination of the workforce, effective employment of skilled staff for the right job at the right time, an assessment of risks and communication of these risks and necessary controls with workers on site.


Key facts and figures

  • Forty-three workers were fatally injured in the construction sector in 2015-16.


  • It is estimated that there are 79,000 cases of self-reported work-related illness (of which a large part is attributed to musculoskeletal disorders)


  • An estimated 66,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries (mainly attributed to falls from height, manual handing and slips, trips and falls) in the construction sector annually.


CDM duty holders

Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties under the CDM Regulations. These ‘duty holders’ are defined as follows.

  • Clients. Defined as anyone who has construction work carried out for them. Their main duty is to make sure that health and safety on their project is suitably managed. There are two types of clients; commercial and domestic. A domestic client does not have the same level of responsibility as a commercial client and responsibilities are normally passed on to other duty holders.


  • Designer. Defined as a person or organisation who prepares or modifies drawings, specifications, designs or calculations. Their main duty is to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction work or during the use and maintenance of a building once complete. If a project has more than one contractor the client must appoint a principal designer whose main duty is to manage and co-ordinate health and safety issues during the design phase.


  • Principal Contractor. Normally appointed when there is more than one contractor during the construction phase of a project. Their main duty is to manage, plan, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety during the construction phase.


  • Contractor. This can be an individual or business that oversees construction work. Anyone who manages construction work or engages construction workers is a contractor, and their main duty is to plan, manage and coordinate the work under their control to ensure the health and safety of anyone affected by it.


  • Worker. Defined as an individual employed by the contractor who carries out work involving building, altering, maintaining or demolishing. Workers can include such people as plumbers, electricians, painters, scaffolders, labourers, supervisors and foremen. Their main duties are to cooperate with other duty holders and report anything they see that might affect or endanger health and safety during the project. Workers must be consulted on matters which might affect their health and safety and welfare.


What you need to do

This will depend on your role in the project….

  • As a client, you must…make sure relevant information is provided and prepared for other duty holders, the principal designer and contractors to carry out their duties and that welfare facilities are provided.


  • As a designer, you must… take into account any pre-construction information provided by the client whilst providing information to the principal designer (if involved) to aid them in managing health and safety during the project, and to the principal contractor to help them fulfil the construction phase plan (CPP). You must also communicate with any other designers and all contractors to help ensure health and safety both during the construction project and beyond.


  • As a principal contractor, you must… liaise with the designers, prepare a CPP before construction begins, consult and engage with workers, ensure welfare facilities are provided and maintained throughout the construction phase, check workers have the relevant skills and experience, ensure workers have site specific training and knowledge and prevent unauthorised access to the site.


  • As a contractor, you must…make sure the client is aware of their duties before work starts, check workers have the relevant training and experience, supervise and instruct workers under their control, ensure the welfare of workers and make sure no work commences on site unless all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent unauthorised access.


  • As a worker, you must… only carry out the work if you have the right skills and experience, make yourself aware of site health and safety risks and how they are managed, cooperate with other duty holders and report any risk.





Construction phase plans and notifications

Two more things to remember about the CDM Regulations:

  • CPP A CPP is required for every construction project and is aimed at helping contractors plan and organise a job, and cooperate with others involved to make sure the work is carried out without risks to health and safety.  It will include essential information such as key dates, build stages, the identification of the main dangers as well as explaining how important health and safety information is communicated to others.


  • F10’s  If your construction project will last longer than 30 working days AND have more than 20 workers working at any time OR exceed 500 person days you must notify the HSE of your project. The client is responsible for completing the notification form (known as an F10) which can be found on the HSE website.

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