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Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

20th May 2015

The new regulations have now come into force and I attach more detailed explanation of their implications. If you are a building owner, user or managing agent and are having maintenance, small-scale building work or other minor works carried out in connection with a business (or even at your own domestic property) you will be a ‘client’ with legal duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).

The new Regulations recognise that CLIENTS hold the power to influence and control the designers and contractors they appoint on a project and therefore for are ultimately responsible for the achievement of a safe project


Principal Designer – The CDM co-ordinator role (under CDM 2007) is replaced by the Principal Designer. This means that the responsibility for coordination of the pre-construction phase – which is crucial to the management of any successful construction project – will rest with an existing member of the design team


Principal Contractor is required to plan, manage and coordinate the construction work Competence - This will be split into its component parts of skills, knowledge, training and experience, and - if it relates to an organisation - organisational capability. This will provide clarity and help the industry to both assess and demonstrate that construction project teams have the right attributes to deliver a healthy and safe project.

Why You Should Comply With Your Duties as a Client

If you don’t appoint a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor you will be responsible for the things that they should have done. Serious breaches of health and safety legislation on your construction project could result in construction work being stopped by HSE or the local authority and additional work may be needed to put things right. In the most serious circumstances, you could be prosecuted.

Most clients are not expert in construction work, particularly if you only occasionally have construction work done. Therefore you are not expected to actively manage or supervise the work yourself, but you have a big influence over the way the work is carried out. Whatever the size of your project, you decide which designer and contractor will carry out the work and how much money, time and resource is available. Therefore the decisions you make have an impact on the health, safety and welfare of workers and others affected by the work. CDM 2015 is not about creating unnecessary and unhelpful processes and paperwork. It is about choosing the right team and helping them to work together to ensure health and safety.

What Do Clients Need To Do?

As a client, you need to do the following:

  1. Appoint the Right People at the Right Time

    If more than one contractor will be involved, you will need to appoint in writing a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor.

  2. Ensure There Are Arrangements in Place for Managing and Organising the Project

    The work is more likely to be done without harming anyone, and on time, if it is properly planned and managed. Sometimes the work is complex and can involve high-risk tasks e.g. working at height, asbestos etc. It may also use people from many different trades. The Principal Designer should understand these types of risks and try to avoid them when designing your project. The Principal Contractor or builder should manage the risks on site.

  3. Allow Adequate Time

    Allow enough time for the design, planning and construction work to be undertaken properly. Work that is rushed is likely to be unsafe and of poor quality.

  4. Provide Information to Your Designer and Contractor

    Put together a ‘Client Brief’ describing what you want built, along with the timescales and budget for the build and how you expect the project to be managed. Provide information about the site and any existing structures or hazards that may be present e.g. asbestos, overhead cables, and buried services. Your Principal Designer can help you gather this information.

    The project will only run efficiently if everyone involved in the work communicates, cooperates and coordinates with each other. Meet with the designer and contractor regularly as the work progresses to deal with problems and health and safety issues as they arise.

  5. Ensure Adequate Welfare Facilities on Site

    Make sure that your contractor has made arrangements for adequate welfare facilities for their workers before the work starts. See the HSE publication Provision of Welfare Facilities during Construction Work (Construction Information Sheet CIS59).

  6. Ensure a Construction Phase Plan Is In Place

    The Principal Contractor (or contractor if there is only one contractor) has to draw up a ‘Construction Phase Plan’ explaining how health and safety risks will be managed. This should be proportionate to the scale of the work and associated risks and you should not allow work to start on site until there is a plan.

  7. Protecting Members of the Public, Including Your Employees

    If you are an employer, or you have members of the public visiting your premises, you need to be sure that they are protected from the risks of construction work and that these issues are incorporated into the Construction Phase Plan.

  8. Ensure Workplaces Are Designed Correctly

    New project or alterations to an existing workplace (e.g. a factory or office) must meet the standards set out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

  9. Keep the Health and Safety File

    At the end of the build the Principal Designer should give you a health and safety file. If the Principal Designer leaves before the end of the project, the Principal Contractor (or contractor if there is only one contractor) should do this. It is a record of which will help you manage health and safety risks during any future maintenance, repair, construction work or demolition. You should keep the file and make it available to anyone who needs to alter or maintain the building, and update it if circumstances change.

Notifying Construction Projects

For construction work lasting longer than 30 days with more than 20 workers working at the same time, or involving 500 person days of work, you need to notify HSE of the project as soon as possible before construction work starts.


20th May 2015

Your “No Smoking” policy will not include E-cigarettes as they fall outside the scope of smoking regulations. If you wish to them to be included in your policy you will need to amend it and inform your staff. If you decide to 'prohibit' the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

Road Traffic Act 1988

20th May 2015

Section 5 amended to include an offence of driving under the influence of a controlled drug, including some prescription medicines.

Asbestos Regulations 2012

20th May 2015

Reminder: From 1st May 2015 the transition arrangements end and all workers carrying out Notifiable Non-Licensed Work must have a medical examination to assess their state of health. The examination will need to be repeated every three years, for as long as the worker continues to do this type of work. Workers who start after 1st May 2015 will be required to have a medical examination prior to beginning any work.

Driving Licence Changes

20th May 2015

The driving licence counterpart was introduced in 1998 to display information that could not fit on the photo card driving licence. It includes penalty point information and provisional vehicle entitlements.

From the 8th June 2015, the DVLA will stop issuing the paper counterpart and those currently in circulation will no longer have any legal status and should be destroyed.

If you check your staff driving licences for their driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), this will now be done online for free by accessing the ‘Share Driving Licence’ service. The service should be used by both paper and photo card driving licence holders. The member of staff will generate a ‘check code’ to pass on to you so that you can view the driving licence details.

The employer will then use the ‘check code’ within 72 hours of it being issued (if not, a new code will need to be generated by the employee. Codes can only be used once), plus the last 8 digits of the driving licence number to view the driver’s entitlements and penalty points.

A system for organisations requiring regular updates is being developed; see the Government website for details.

Paper driving licences issued before the photo card was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed

H.S.E. Publications

19thJanuary 2015

There have been various minor changes to the following H.S.E. publications during 2014. See the Client newsletter for full details

  • Consulting Workers on Health and Safety
  • Electrical Safety at Places of Entertainment
  • Moving Food and Drink
  • Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders
  • Safe Use of Lifting Equipment
  • Safe Use of Power Presses
  • Safe Use of Woodworking Machinery
  • Safe Use of Work Equipment
  • The Selection, Management and Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, Safe Working Practices
  • Unloading Petrol from Road Tankers
  • Working at Height
  • Working Safely With Acetylene
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