A quick summary of the important changes we need to know.

Further to me recently attending a CPD introducing the new CDM 2015, I think we should all be aware of the following key points of concern that we as “duty holders” (Client, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor) must be aware of.


Duty Holder 1 – The Client

The role of the CDM Coordinator (this being the Client’s key Safety Adviser) has now been removed, and the Client must now make suitable arrangements for managing the project, including the allocation of time and other resources. 

Firstly, the Client must appoint both the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor officially in writing and “as soon as is practicable”.  The Principal Designer should be appointed as early as possible, i.e. at the conception stage so that they can work together to pull together the pre-construction information, such as existing health and safety files, existing structural information, existing asbestos surveys, etc…

The Client must also perform the following duties:

  • Notifying the HSE of the project details as well as confirming that the appointed project team members are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities
  • Ensuring that all duty holders comply with their duties
  • Providing the pre-construction information to the principal designer and principal contractor
  • Ensuring that the minimum health and safety standards are maintained on site
  • Ensuring that a health and safety file is produced by the appointed principal designer
  • Ensuring that the construction phase health and safety plan is produced by the appointed principal contractor

The rules are more lenient towards domestic Clients, or “Clients for whom a construction project is carried out which is not done in connection with a business”.  On domestic projects, most of the Client’s duties are passed onto the other duty holders (which must be officially appointed by the Client).  If the Client fails to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor, these roles fall automatically to the designer in control of the pre-construction phase and the contractor in control of the construction phase of the project.

For further information on the official role the Client now plays, please see the guide “Need building work done?” available from the following website:


It should also be noted that on projects where manufacturers are directly advising the Client on the design and specification, the manufacturer has the duty to inform the Client of the manufacturers responsibilities under the regulations.  In certain other cases, the manufacturer will also have a duty as a designer, and should therefore comply with all the requests of the Principal Designer.


Duty Holder 2 – The Principal Designer

Whilst this new role takes on many of the original duties of the CDM Coordinator, the Principal Designer must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project.

The Principal Designer must also perform the following duties:

  • Ensure that all foreseeable risks are identified, eliminated and/or controlled
  • Ensure that designers carry out their duties
  • Prepare and provide relevant information to all other duty holders
  • Provide all relevant information to the principal contractor to help them plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the health and safety in the construction phase

It should be known that the Principal Designer does not need to be the lead designer on the project, and the Client should never assume that the lead designer will take on this role by default.  The appointment of the Principal Designer must be confirmed by the Client in writing.

The CDM 2015 clearly states that the Principal Designer can be any of the following professionals:

  • Architects
  • Architectural Technologists
  • Chartered Surveyors
  • Consulting Engineers
  • Interior Designers
  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Technicians or anyone who specifies or alters a design
  • Temporary Works Engineers

Ultimately, the Principal Designer must be “an organisation or an individual with sufficient knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the role”. 


Duty Holder 3 – The Principal Contractor

This is the only role that remains largely unchanged from the previous CDM 2007 regulations, in that the Principal Contractor must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the health and safety during the construction phase of the project.  These duties include:

  • Preparing the construction phase plan
  • Liaising with the Client and Principal Designer
  • Organising cooperation between contractors and coordinating their work
  • Ensuring suitable site conditions are provided

For further information on the official role the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor now plays, please see the guide available from the following website:



Other Considerations

Transition Period between CDM 2007 and CDM 2015

Since the CDM 2015 has only been in effect active since April 2015, there are a great many projects that started before the new regulations came into force, therefore the following steps have been put into place:

  • Where a project has not yet started (i.e. a construction phase plan has not yet been started), and the Client has not yet appointed a CDM Coordinator, the Client must appoint a Principal Designer as soon as practicable


  • Where a project currently has a CDM Coordinator appointed, the Client must appoint a Principal Designer to replace them by 6th October 2015.  The Client does not need to do this if the project comes to an end before 6th October 2015


Note – During the period where the CDM Coordinator is still active until the Client appoints Principal Designer, the CDM Coordinator must comply with the duties as set out in Schedule 4 of CDM 2015.  If the CDM Coordinator is unable to carry out these duties, they should inform the Client as soon as possible so that alternative arrangements for a Principal Designer to be appointed sooner.

From now until 6th October 2015:

  1. Any current pre-construction information, construction phase plans or health and safety files provided currently under the CDM 2007 are recognised as meeting the equivalent requirements in CDM 2015
  2. Any project that was notified under CDM 2007 is still recognised as a notification under CDM 2015.
  3. Any Principal Contractor appointed under CDM 2007 will be considered to be a principal contractor under CDM 2015.

Notification CDM 2015

The HSE F10 form is still be best way to notify the HSE of a construction project, and it is available on the following website:


It is worth noting that under CDM 2015, the HSE will only need to be notified of construction projects exceeding 500 person days or “longer than 30 working days” with “more than 20 workers working simultaneously”.  It is believed that these rules will effectively reduce the number of notifiable projects.

Even if a project is not notifiable, Clients, Designers and Contractors still have duties and responsibilities for their projects in accordance with the CDM 2015.

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