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CDM : Understanding Health and Safety

Understanding Health and Safety is essential to a successful project and should be something that is provided with the appropriate level of resources and management for which the client has overall responsibility. Health and safety is managed under CDM duties (Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015). From the onset of a project the designers are required to ensure the project client is aware of their CDM duties before starting design work, so here is some initial guidance for clients proposing to carry out works to their home (domestic project).

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, with the aim to improve health and safety in the industry by helping to:

  • sensibly plan the work so the risks involved are managed from start to finish

  • have the right people for the right job at the right time

  • cooperate and coordinate your work with others

  • have the right information about the risks and how they are being managed

  • communicate this information effectively to those who need to know

  • consult and engage with workers about the risks and how they are being managed

CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance. One of the clients initial CDM actions is to appoint a “Principal Designer” to plan, manage and monitor health & safety during the pre-construction phase of the project. The role extends to the construction phase through the principal designer’s duties to liaise with the principal contractor and ongoing design work. The Principal Designer is:

  • appointed by the client in writing on projects with more than one contractor. The term “one contractor” often creates confusions with clients when the works are proposed to be carried out by a single main contractor. It must be noted that in CDM terms a “sub-contractor” is counted as another contractor, for example if a builder hires an electrical to carry out a portion of the works this would be counted as an additional contractor.

  • a member of the design team

  • a designer or designers – a person or organisation that prepares designs and/or specifies products for use in construction – with control over the pre-construction phase of the project as well as the necessary skills, knowledge and experience that individual designers must have; and

  • an individual or organisation with sufficient knowledge and experience to carry out the role. This is a very important consideration.

For domestic clients there are a number of guidance documents produced by the HSE, such as “Industry guidance for clients” and “Want construction work done safely?” which can be downloaded for free from

We believe in giving out client’s right advice from the start, using our extensive knowledge and experience of running successful projects of all sizes and types, giving our client piece of mind that Health and safety is being addressed through design, coordination, and implementation.


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