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Health & Safety and CDM Regulations

Following its initial introduction in 1994, the Construction Design and Management Regulations (commonly known as the CDM Regulations) were updated in April 2007 and again in April 2015.


The Regulations are intended to make it easier for those involved in construction projects to comply with their Health and Safety duties.  In 2015, unlike the previous incarnations, the Regulations have a direct effect of how the Self Builder manages their project in terms of Health & Safety and other legal duties on Domestic Customers and to help them implement European law.


Whilst this has been created mainly for Self-Builders, the material may still be relevant to you and should be considered by Self-Builders and Developers alike.


If you are a small Developer or intend to sell the project on completion, CDM compliance will be required and as such, you will be required to create Health & Safety Plans, Risk Management or even arrange for the appointment of Planning/CDM Co-ordinators.


Through our network of Surveyors and Specialists we are able to provide CDM advice and in some circumstances, they can act for you in this respect.

From the 6 April 2015, homeowners carrying out “building work” are now subject to the revised and updated CDM (Construction Design Management) 2015 Regulations, which includes the provision of Health & Safety on building sites. The details below provide some guidance and try and clarify whether or not your project falls under the CDM 2015 Regulations.


Quite often the Self Builder will be defined as the “Domestic Client”.  Domestic Clients are people who have construction work carried out on their own home or the home of a family member which is not undertaken as part of a business, whether for profit or not. 


Domestic Clients have duties under the Regulations but their duties as a Client are normally transferred to:


  • The Principal Contractor, on a project involving more than one Contractor or,

  • The Contractor, on a single Contractor project


However, the Domestic Client can choose to have a written agreement with the “Principal” Designer to carry out the Client duties.  It is important that this is made clear.


We have produced a guide “CDM & Projects for Domestic Clients” which provides further detail but in summary:

How are you progressing with your project..?

As a DIY’er

If you are building the house on an entirely DIY basis and you are not looking to employ any sub-contractors, trades or help, the project is classed as DIY and does not fall under the CDM regulations.


As a Self Builder

You would take on the role (and responsibilities) of the Principal Contractor as a Self-Builder or Renovator who is looking to utilise trade contractors and subcontractors.


Appointing a Principal Contractor

You can appoint a main contractor to take on the role of Principal Contractor.  In doing this you will relinquish some of your responsibilities of managing Health & Safety to them.

If this is not a DIY project, the main consideration is for all domestic building projects involving structural work to appoint a Principal Contractor and Principal Designer who will be responsible for meeting the CDM Regulations;


The Principal Contractor (PC), will be the main contractor you are instructing and will be responsible for Health & Safety on the site.


The Principal Designer (PD), responsible for planning and building-in risk management at the design stage (the old CDM co-ordinator role).


Can you appoint yourself as the Principle Contractor.


If you are looking to Project Manage the build yourself and look to bring in specialist trades as the build progresses, then you will need to appoint yourself as the Principal Contractor.


You will be responsible for the notification to HSE for the project (form F10) and the overall safety planning for the works and as such will need to draw up the Construction Phase Safety Plan of the works. 


This is a document which is specific to your scheme and addresses the risk assessments, logistics and method statements for the works.  This must demonstrate that you have taken the Health & Safety aspects into account.

So you think you need to comply with the CDM Regulations…


Further key elements of the CDM Regulations and what they mean are explained below.  Please note that these are intended as a flavour or what is required under the CDM Regulations.  Further information can be obtained from the Health & Safety Executive .



A project is notifiable to the HSE if the construction work on a construction site is scheduled to:


  • Last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or

  • Exceed 500 person days.


Should this be the case the HSE MUST be notified of the project on their form F10.


Remember – the requirements of CDM 2015 apply whether or not the project is notifiable.




Clients are organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out.  Under the Regulations their duties are;


  • Make suitable arrangements for managing a project. This includes making sure:

  • Other duty holders are appointed;

  • Sufficient time and resources are allocated.


They also need to ensure;


  • Relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders;

  • The Principal Designer and Principal Contractor carry out their duties and;

  • Welfare facilities are provided.


Principal Contractor


Principal Contractors are Contractors appointed by the Client to co-ordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one Contractor.  They can also be responsible for undertaking some elements of the construction work (see Contractor below).


Their duties are to plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate Health & Safety in the construction phase of a project. This includes:


  • Liaising with the Client and Principal Designer;

  • Preparing the Construction Phase Plan;

  • Organising co-operation between Contractors and scheduling their work.



  • Suitable site inductions are provided;

  • Reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access;

  • Workers are consulted and engaged in securing their health and safety and;

  • Welfare facilities are provided.




Contractor(s) are normally those who do the actual construction work and can be either an individual or a company.  There may be many Contractors on site during the Construction phase of a project.


Their duties are to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health & safety.


For projects involving more than one Contractor, they will co-ordinate their activities with others in the project team to enable the construction phase plan to be up to date.  All Contractors must comply with directions given to them by the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor.



Designers are those who, as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or systems relating to construction work.


Under the Regulations, Designers duties should include modifying their design, to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during both the construction of the project and the maintenance and use of a building once it has been built.


They must also provide information to other members of the project team to help them fulfill their duties.


Construction Phase Plan


The Construction Phase Plan is an important document and must set out the arrangements for securing health & safety during the period construction work is carried out.  It starts with the production of a Project Health & Safety Plan.


These arrangements include site rules and any specific measures put in place where work involves one or more of the risks listed in Schedule 3 of the Regulations (see below).  The Document must be produced as soon as possible but can be updated as the project evolves on site.  For single Contractor projects, the Contractor must ensure the construction phase plan is drawn up as soon as practicable before the construction site is set up.


On these projects the Client’s duties are transferred to the Contractor and they must carry out the Client’s duties as well as their own.  In practice, this should involve Contractors doing no more than they have done in the past to comply with Health & Safety Legislation.  Compliance with their own duties as a Contractor will be taken as compliance with the relevant Client duties, to the extent necessary given the risks involved in the project.


For single Contractor projects, the Contractor will prepare a Construction Phase Plan.


Whilst the job may not need to be notified to the HSE (Form F10) the CDM Regulations apply to all construction work, including for Domestic Clients and a Construction Phase Plan will need to be prepared.


As a result of the Contractor taking on the Client duties, any Designers involved in the project will work to the Contractor in their role as the ‘Client’.


Schedule 3 of the Regulations define the following risks:


*  Work which puts workers at risk of burial under earth falls, engulfment in swampland or falling from a height, where the risk is particularly aggravated by the nature of the work or processes used or by the environment at the place of work or site.

*  Work which puts workers at risk from chemical or biological substances constituting a particular danger to the safety or health of workers or involving a legal requirement for health monitoring.

*  Work with ionizing radiation requiring the designation of controlled or supervised areas under regulation 16 of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.


*  Work near high voltage power lines.


*  Work exposing workers to the risk of drowning.


*  Work on wells, underground earthworks and tunnels.


*  Work carried out by divers having a system of air supply.


*  Work carried out by workers in caissons with a compressed air atmosphere.


*  Work involving the use of explosives.


*  Work involving the assembly or dismantling of heavy prefabricated components.

Guidance on the duties of a Contractor in relation to the Construction Phase Plan is set out in CDM & Projects for Domestic Clients.


In considering what information is included within the Construction Phase Plan, the emphasis is that it:


*  Is relevant to the project;


*  Has sufficient detail to clearly set out the arrangements, site rules and special measures needed to manage the construction phase; but


*  Is still proportionate to the scale and complexity of the project and the risks involved.


The plan should not include documents that get in the way of a clear understanding of what is needed to manage the construction phase, such as generic risk assessments, records of how decisions were reached or detailed safety method statements.


Further guidance, Small Builder Health & Safety Information for contractors working on small-scale, routine and domestic projects add link  provides advice for Small Builders working on both domestic and small commercial projects.


If you would like a quotation or further advice relating to Health & Safety, please contact us.

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