CDM 2015 - Frequently Asked Questions


It's now three months since the implementation of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations  (CDM) 2015, which is a good opportunity to look some FAQs.

Q.  How do the Regulations apply to a client (domestic and commercial)?

A.  As a client (commercial) your duties are to appoint (in writing) a principal designer and a principal contractor, if there is  more than one contractor involved. If you do not make the appointments then these duties will fall to you as the client.

As a client (domestic) you are not required to carry out the duties placed on commercial clients.

Where the project involves:

only one contractor, the client duties must instead be carried out by the contractor as well as the duties they already have as contractor for the project.

more than one contractor, the client duties must be carried out by the principal contractor as well as the duties they already have as principal contractor. If the domestic client has not appointed a principal contractor then the duties of the client will be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction work.

Q. When does a project become notifiable to HSE?

A.  A project is notifiable if construction work lasts longer than 30 working days AND has more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project, or exceeds 500 person days. (So in practice it would be possible to have a project on site for 40 working days with the maximum number of persons on site not exceeding 12 (max possible 480 person days) or 60 days with 8 workers (max possible 480 person days)

Q. Does the Principal Designer (PD) replace the CDM Co-ordinator (CDMc)?

A. The PD is NOT a replacement for the CDMc – the PD manages and co-ordinates the design stage of the project. The role is to plan, manage, monitor & co-ordinate pre-construction phase and to ensure designers comply with their duties and to co-operation with client and support the client in providing Pre-Construction Information.

Q.  What role does the Principal Contractor (PC) have?

A.  The PC manages and coordinates the construction stage of the project, he is also required to liaise with PD, providing information to PD relevant to H&S file and engage and communicate with the workforce.

Q. What duties to Designers have?

A.  Designer duties remain similar to those in CDM 2007 although they are required to reduce or control risks through the design process & provide risk information with design drawings, refer risks that cannot be reduced or controlled through design to the PD and set a clear hierarchy for design risk management .

Q.  What duties to Contractors have?

A.  Like the Designer, Contractors’ duties remain similar to those in CDM 2007 although additional requirements include – plan, manage and monitor their construction work, comply with directions given by PD or PC and also draw up a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) even if they are the only contractor.

Q.  What do all these duty holders have in common?

A.  Not accepting an appointment unless they have the skills, knowledge, experience and, if an organisation, organisational capability to perform the role for which they are appointed

Q. What would need to be done if a project started before 6th April 2015 and continued beyond this date?

A.  Where projects involve more than one contractor which started before 6 April 2015, and the client has not appointed a CDM co-ordinator, the client:
- must appoint a principal designer, as soon as practicable, if the construction phase has not started;
- the client is not required to appoint a principal designer if the construction phase has started, but may do so if they wish. If they choose not to appoint a PD, the PC takes on the responsibility for the health and safety file.
- Where CDMc has been appointed the client must appoint a PD within 6 months e.g. by 6 October 2015.

Responseline is Santia's information service which provides technical interpretation, practical advice and answers across all the disciplines in which Santia operates. These include health, safety, environmental and fire. Responceline is available to Safecontractor members and can be contacted on 02920 859269.

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Post date: 01 Oct 2015

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