Changes to construction law - CDM 2015


The Built Environment



New regulations to ensure health, safety and welfare on a construction site
On April 6th 2015 a new set of regulations were published replacing existing CDM 2007 (Construction, Design and Management) Regulations with CDM 2015. The aim of these regulations is to ensure that the construction process runs smoothly and safely. Where there is more than one contractor (which, as most contractors use subcontractors, will mean the majority of projects), an additional role of 'principal designer' has been created. The role of 'CDM coordinator' has been removed. The new regulations clearly allocate responsibilities between the three roles of:
  • Client
  • Principal designer
  • Principal contractor
The Client: The 'client' is responsible for selecting the 'principal designer' and 'principal contractor'. The 'client' is responsible for ensuring that the 'principal designer' has carried out a risk assessment prior to the construction phase. The new regulations also require the 'client' to check that a 'construction plan' has been drawn up by the 'principal contractor'. No construction work can start unless a construction plan has been jointly agreed between the 'client' and the 'principal contractor'. The chief role of the 'client' under the new regulations is to ensure that the 'principal designer' and 'principal contractor' carry out their duties adequately. It is envisaged that a client may refer to the 'principal designer' for advice and guidance in fulfilling the additional responsibilities given to the 'client' role. A key new responsibility of the 'client' is the responsibility of informing the Health and Safety Executive about the project if it falls into the 'notifiable' category. A notifiable project is a project envisaged to take more than 500 person days to complete. Due to the changes in the regulations, domestic clients are now required to comply with CDM rules, when previously they were exempt. However, this is dealt with within the new regulations by allocating the clients role to the contractor (if it is a single contractor project) or the 'principal contractor' (when a multiple contractor project) or the 'principal designer' if this is agreed to by both parties in writing. It is envisaged that these changes may require additional skills and knowledge to be acquired by small contractors who previously were not responsible for the 'clients' role. The Principal Designer: The 'principal designer' is a new role encompassing; planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase of the project – this phase is generally acknowledged to continue throughout the construction phase. It is envisaged on larger projects that the client will appoint a 'principal designer' from a relevant involved professional, such as the project architect or manager. The new roles objective is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of every person within the construction site. The 'principal designer' is responsible for creating a pre-construction plan identifying and eliminating or minimising potential risks before the start of the construction phase. In addition to planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction plan, the 'principal designer' will liaise and inform the 'principal contractor' on all aspects of the pre-construction plan. The Principal Contractor: The 'principal contractor' now liaises with the 'client' and the 'principal designer'. This liaison continues throughout the project. A project consists of, the pre-construction phase, the construction phase and the post-construction phase. The chief responsibility of the 'principal contractor' remains, to ensure the health and safety of all people involved in the construction and post construction phase of the project.