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CDM Regulations 2015

Article Author: Dr. Khalid Bhutto - Director Safescope - 1 December 2022


What are the "CDM Regulations 2015"?

“The CDM Regulations 2015 cover the main health and safety requirements for construction projects carried out in the UK.”

“The Regulations” place legally binding duties on parties involved in a construction project to ensure that health and safety requirements are managed during; design, construction and post completion maintenance phases.

Introduction to "CDM 2015"

The CDM Regulations, CDM Regulations 2015, CDM 2015, CDM Regs or CDM are short form abbreviations of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, UK Legislation Statutory Reference (2015/51).

The CDM 2015 are regarded as a first piece of legislation directly targeted at construction industry.

A construction site by its very nature is hazardous and construction industry is still one of most hazardous sectors. The CDM 2015 appear to have played a vital role in raising the awareness about health and safety on construction projects and arguably helped reducing the number of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, although still there is a long way to go.

The main aim of the HSE CDM Regulations is to ensure that health and safety is embedded as part of the construction process and is planned and managed throughout all stages of a construction project i.e. from conceptual design to site works completion and use of the completed building or structure.

In fact, the CDM Regulations when truly applied encourage consideration of health and safety aspects during the whole life cycle of a building or structure including end of its useful life and ultimate demolition at the end of its life which could be 50 to 70 years or longer down the line.

The HSE CDM Regulations place legally binding duties on key members of a construction project team i.e., Client, Designers, Principal Designer, Principal Contractor and Contractors.

The roles of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor are specific to and created for the sole purposes of the CDM in Construction.

The CDM 2015 requirements regard the following five key elements to achieve a safe construction project.

  1. Risks identified and managed in a systematic order.
  2. Competent professionals appointed in a timely manner.
  3. Those involved in the project having access to information about the project and trained and supervised to appropriate level.
  4. Those involved in the project co‐operating and communicating with each other and co‐ordinating their activities.
  5. Those working on site made proactively involved to achieve a safe construction site.

The CDM apply to all construction projects in the UK, domestic or non-domestic, regardless of their size or duration on site.

CDM 2015 Flowchart

CDM Flowchart

History and background of CDM in Construction?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) first came into force in the UK on 31 March 1995 as CDM Regulations 1994.

The CDM Regulations 1994 were introduced by the UK government as a direct response to EU Directive 92/57/EEC (Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive (TMCSD). Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive applies to whole European Union hence more or less a similar version of the Regulations is implemented in each of the European Union member country.

The CDM 1994 introduced two new legal roles of Planning Supervisor and Principal Contractor and first time in history of construction industry placed specific legally binding duties on Client and Designers of a construction project.

The CDM Regs were revised in 2007 and a new version CDM Regulations 2007 came into force in April 2007. In 2007 version of the Regulations, the Planning Supervisor role was replaced with a CDM Co-ordinator and Construction (Health and Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 were merged with the CDM Regs among the other changes. In addition, the roles and responsibilities of Designers, Principal Contractor and Contractors were made stringent to improve the implementation of CDM Regulations requirements.

In the latest 2015 version of the CDM Regs (which came into force in April 2015) the role of CDM Co-ordinator has been replaced with a Principal Designer. The Principal Contractor role title has stayed the same since CDM 1994.

Key Principle of CDM Regulations?

As the cliche goes, it is all in the name.

The name Construction (Design and Management) Regulations is a combination of two terms; Construction Design and Construction Management. The key principle of the Regulations is based on the spilt a construction project into two phases. Construction Design or Pre-construction Phase and Construction Management or simply Construction Phase.

The CDM Regs are based on the premise that for each of the above two phases of a construction project there should be someone responsible for health and safety, hence two new legal roles were introduced in the first version of CDM 1994. First role was of Planning Supervisor ‐ responsible for co‐ordination of health and safety in Pre-construction Phase and the second role of a Principal Contractor ‐ responsible for health and safety in the Construction Phase.

In 2007 revision of the CDM Regulations, the Planning Supervisor role was replaced with a CDM Co‐ordinator and in the latest 2015 version of the CDM Regs the role of CDM Co-ordinator has been replaced with a Principal Designer. The Principal Contractor role and title has stayed the same since CDM 1994. Even though the title for person or an organisation responsible for health and safety in Pre-construction Phase has changed from a Planning Supervisor, then CDM Co‐ordinator and now to a Principal Designer the essence of their duties has remained unchanged.

CDM 2015 Application by Duty Holders

CDM Duties

What are main CDM Regulations requirements?

As mentioned above, the CDM 2015 place specific legally binding duties on Client, Designers, Principal Designer, Principal Contractor and Contractors on a construction project. However, the main CDM 2015 requirements can be presentated as follows:

  1. On any construction project which involves more than one contractor, a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor are needed to be appointed.
  2. Pre-construction Information (PCI) must be provided by the Client. On projects where there is more than one contractor, the Principal Designer must collect this PCI information.
  3. On each and every construction project, regardless of nature, size or duration, a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) must be prepared.
  4. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) must be informed by sending F10 notification for those construction projects which meet the threshold requirements.
  5. A Health and Safety File required to be prepared on completion of works on a construction site where more than one contractor are involved.

Structure of CDM Regs?

The current CDM 2015 contain the following structure and sections.

  • Part 1 ‐ Citation and commencement

  • Part 2 ‐ Client duties

  • Part 3 ‐ Health and safety duties and roles

  • Part 4 ‐ General requirements for all construction sites

  • Part 5

  • Schedules

  • CDM 2015 Documentation

    CDM Paperwork

    Duty Holders under CDM Regulations?

    The CDM 2015 identify the following five duty holders. The term duty holders means that the individual or organisation carrying out the roles have specific legally binding duties to fulfil on a construction project. These duties impose a criminal liability and therefore, non-compliance or breach of any applicable duty by the relevant party could lead to serious consequences including potential prosecution resulting in heavy fines and custodial sentences.



    Principal Designer

    Principal Contractor


    Main Milestone Documents of CDM Regs?

    The main milestone pieces of information (in shape of a document) required to be produced on a construction project are as follows.

    1. Design Risk Information or Designer Risk Assessments (DRA)
    2. Pre-construction Information (PCI)
    3. F10 Notification
    4. Construction Phase Plan (CPP)
    5. Health and Safety File

    General Duties?

    The CDM Regulations requirements also place a set of General Duties which are applicable to relevant duty holders as described below.

    • Designers, Principal Designer, Principal Contractor and Contractors must hold skills, knowledge, experience, and organisational capability (if applicable) to work on a project (Regulation 8(1))
    • Above duty holder must not accept the appointment if they cannot meet the above condition (Regulation 8(2))
    • Person making the above appointments must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that appointees meet the above condition (Regulation 8(3))
    • General duty of co-operation on a project (including adjoining construction site) on all duty holders (Regulation 8(4))
    • Workers must report anything likely to endanger their own health and safety or that of others (Regulation 8(5))
    • Information or instruction provided by any duty holder must be comprehensible and prompt (Regulation 8(6))
    • Contractor (when only one contractor is involved) or the Principal Contractor must fulfill the Client Duties for domestic client‐ unless Principal Designer agrees to fulfill the Client Duties by agreement (Regulation 8(7))

    What is a "construction project"?

    Construction project or construction work as defined in the CDM Regulations means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes:

      (a) the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration, or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), decommissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure.

      (b) the preparation for an intended structure, including site clearance, exploration, investigation (but not site survey) and excavation (but not pre-construction archaeological investigations), and the clearance or preparation of the site or structure for use or occupation at its conclusion.

      (c) the assembly on site of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly on site of the prefabricated elements which, immediately before such disassembly, formed a structure.

      (d) the removal of a structure, or of any product or waste resulting from demolition or dismantling of a structure, or from disassembly of prefabricated elements which immediately before such disassembly formed such a structure.

      (e) the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair, or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure.

    Please note that construction work does not include the exploration for, or extraction of, mineral resources, or preparatory activities carried out at a place where such exploration or extraction is carried out.

    Why construction industry is hazardous?

    Importance of delivering a safe construction project is obvious, however, a number of people get killed or badly injured on construction sites due to the dangerous nature of construction activity resultantly destroying numerous families.

    Construction activity is carried out in an uncontrolled, transient production area (often restricted, (partly) occupied and weather exposed) to a bespoke design and constantly changing environment (in a flux) for the duration of site works. In addition, it involves work at height, use of heavy machinery and plant, instable existing or partly built structures, moving, lifting and handling heavy awkward materials, previous use of dangerous materials on construction sites (i.e. asbestos, lead etc), excavations, risk of coming in contact with unknown existing live services, preparing (cutting) materials on site, manual handling of construction materials, excessive noise and dust generation, bringing and storing heavy construction materials, difficulty in maintaining a clean and tidy site, use of heavy power tools and other hazardous activities which increase the risk of accidents.

    A multi-million-pound product procured in any other industry will have more rigorous safety regime applied to it compared to a construction project for example production of a passenger plane, a very big cruise liner or a container ship or a big luxury yacht. Is industry short-changing the clients, is not willing to improve, is under cost pressures or there is lack of construction health and safety risk management skills? We believe the later (lack of skills) may be one of the main contributing root causes. The lack of skills appeared to be hidden in the illusion of knowledge creating obstacle for discovery. Construction project health and safety risks are poorly understood. Traditional design disciplines are not trained and experienced in methodically identifying the construction project health and safety risks (covering design, construction and post completion phases) and designing/specifying practical engineering, technical or management solutions to mitigate the risks. Most of the risks are not identified. When identified, often risks are underestimated and ill-prioritised relevant to their harm potential. In addition, there appears to be a lack a structured and coherent body of knowledge informing the construction health and safety benchmark standard.

    Who is the client of a construction project?

    Client is an organisation or an individual for whom a construction project is being carried out.

    Can there be more than one client on a construction project?

    Yes, there can be more than one client on a construction project. However, for the purposes of the CDM Regulations 2015, they may agree between themselves to nominate one or more in writing to act as the client(s) (i.e. for fulfilling the legal Client CDM Duties). It must be remembered that though majority of the CDM duties are then to be fulfilled by the nominated client(s), still there will be some general duties applicable to all clients e.g. for co-operation and provision of information.

    What is a "domestic project"?

    A domestic project for the purposes of the HSE CDM Regulations is one where the clients are those people who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not.

    This is a very narrow definition, and it means work carried out on a property which is purely for individual's personal use and by use of their immediate family members (i.e. father, mother, son and daughter etc). Any payment made for the works via a company, or an organisation will make the project non-domestic .

    Any residential development work carried by an individual developer, housing association, councils etc are non-domestic and are to be treated commercial (non-domestic work) for the application of CDM Regulations.

    What is a "non-domestic project"?

    A non-domestic or commercial project for the purposes of the CDM Regulations is one that which does not fall into the category of a domestic project.

    What the term "more than one contractor means"?

    Under the CDM Regulations the term "more than one contractor" means any construction work which involves appointment of two or more contractors on site. For example, if any construction work involves the main contractor and then that main contractor appoints a scaffolder then this becomes the work that involves more than one contractor. Majority of the construction work carried out will involve more than on contractor unless it is a minor repair or maintenance work carried out a single contractor with their in-house employees.

    What is a "Pre-construction Information (PCI)"?

    Pre-construction Information (commonly abbreviated as PCI) is a specified document to be prepared by the Principal Designer. Pre-construction Information (PCI) compiles the details about the existing site conditions and identified health and safety risks from the project design in one single place before the construction work begins on site. The Pre-construction Information (PCI) is then passed on to the Principal Contractor and other designers. Principal Contractor then uses this information to prepare their Construction Phase Plan (CPP) before construction work begins on site.

    The typical contents of a Pre-construction Information (PCI) are provided in Appendix 2 of HSE Guidance L153 (Managing Health and Safety in Construction).

    Who are designers on a construction project?

    Designers are those, who as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work. The designers include architects, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors, chartered surveyors, interior designers, temporary works engineers, technicians or anyone who specifies or alters a design. The designers are defined as one of the duty holders in CDM in construction and they have their own specified statutory duties to comply with. Please see the section Designer CDM Duties.

    If a client is involved in modifying or specifying design elements, then they could be treated as a "designer" for the purposes of CDM Regulations and they will have to comply with Designer CDM Duties.

    We at Safescope, have also prepared a practical guidance and explanation of each of Designer CDM Duties to assist the designers in understanding and complying with their duties. Please see Practical Guide Designer CDM Duties.

    What are CDM Designer Duties?

    Please see Designer CDM Duties section on our website.

    Who is a "Lead Designer"?

    The CDM Regulations per se do not use the term lead designer, however, they use the phrase to define the role as "a designer who is in control of the pre-construction phase of the project".

    What is "Pre-construction Phase"?

    Pre-construction phase means any period of time during which design or preparatory work is being carried out for a project and may continue during the construction phase.

    What is "Construction Phase"?

    Construction phase means the period of time beginning when construction work in a project starts and ending when construction work in that project is completed. Mobilisation period and enabling works are also included as part of the construction phase.

    What is "Post completion Phase"?

    Post completion phase means the period of time starting when construction work on site is completed. This period includes occupation of the building for its intended use, maintenance, repair, cleaning, use as a workplace (where relevant), refurbishments, extensions, conversions, modifications, and ultimate demolition at the end of its useful life.

    What are "General Principles of Prevention"?

    General Principles of Prevention in simple terms mean the use of hierarchy of controls when dealing with the risks, for instance as follows:

    • E ‐ Eliminate
    • R ‐ Reduce
    • I ‐   Isolate
    • C ‐ Control
    • P ‐ Personal Protective Equipment
    • D ‐ Discipline

    The above list is commonly abbreviated as "ERIC PD" for ease of remembering.

    The systems we have developed at Safescope for General Principles of Prevention is relevant to a construction project health and safety risks and is abbreviated "ERESSP". Details as follows:

    • E ‐ Eliminate the risk
    • R ‐ Replace the proposed materials or process with less hazardous one
    • E ‐ Engineering controls applied to manage the potential risk
    • S ‐ SSoW - Safe Systems of Work ‐ Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS)
    • S ‐ SST ‐ Site Specific Safety Training (relevant tickets, CSCS Cards, training, toolbox talks, Inductions, and further Information etc)
    • P ‐ PPE ‐ Personal Protective Equipment (boots, high visibility waist, hardhats, goggles, gloves etc) or Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) (face masks or breathing apparatus etc)

    The General Principles of Prevention are specified in Schedule 1 to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

    What is a "Construction Phase Plan (CPP)"?

    Construction Phase Plan (commonly abbreviated as CPP) is a specified document to be prepared by a Principal Contractor or by a contractor (if there is only one contractor involved in the construction works). A Construction Phase Plan (CPP) provides details about how construction work will be carried out safely on the site. Construction Phase Plan (CPP) must be in place before construction works begin on site. Where relevant the Pre-construction Information (PCI) is used as basis for developing the Construction Phase Plan (CPP).

    Construction Phase Plan (CPP) is meant to be live document and must be reviewed and kept up to date to reflect prevalent conditions and activities on site.

    The typical contents of a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) are provided in Appendix 3 of HSE Guidance L153 (Managing Health and Safety in Construction).

    What is a "Health and Safety File"?

    Health and Safety File is a specified document to be prepared by CDM Principal Designer. A Health and Safety File provides details about the remaining (residual) health and safety risks in a recently completed building project. Health and Safety File helps clients and facilities managers etc to manage the remaining (residual) health and safety risks in a completed building project. Health and Safety File also helps other contractors coming to do any maintenance and repair works in an operational building to know about existing health and safety risks in a building.

    The typical contents of a Health and Safety File are provided in Appendix 4 of HSE Guidance L153 (Managing Health and Safety in Construction).

    What are "Residual Health and Safety Risks"?

    Residual health and safety risks are those risks that could not be eliminated or minimised to a tolerable level during design and construction works and have been left in a completed building project. These may include encapsulated asbestos, difficult access to certain areas of roof, reduced headlight in plant room etc. The client must be made aware of these risks during the design and construction process. The client or his team will then have to take responsibility for managing these risks in post completion phase. The details about this risks and suggested management strategies and solutions should be included in the handover documentation (i.e. Health and Safety File, Building (O&M) Manuals or Residual Risk Register) and passed on to the client.

    Other CDM Guidance

    In addition to this, we at (Safescope) have also produced a number of other in-depth CDM Guides on various related topics. These guides are available on this website. Please follow the Link.

    Need help?

    CDM Services

    We (Safescope) specialise in CDM and Construction Health and Safety and provide proactive yet cost effective CDM Principal Designer, Client CDM Advisor, Principal Contractor CDM Advisor roles and various CDM Training Courses. Please get in contact for an informal chat or a hassle free prompt fee proposal.

    Our Contact Details

    For further information and a prompt hassle free fee proposal please contact us as follows:

    CDM Principal Designer Contact Lindsey Heffer Safescope
    Business Manager

    T:  01473 407020
    M: 07443 789226   LBrown@safescope.com
    Dr. Khalid Bhutto - Safescope DR. KHALID BHUTTO
    T:  01473 407020
    M: 07818 288122   KBhutto@safescope.com