February 25, 2015

Big changes for Construction Safety – CDM 2015

There are big Health & Safety changes coming this April for the constructive industry.

CDM 2015 is a radical overhaul of how the Construction Industry is to be regulated and ALL Construction companies will have to comply with the revised CDM Regs from Monday 6 April 2015.

Employers will need to provide information, instruction, training and supervision, with workers having their training needs assessed against the needs of the job and employers to meet the gap in skills and knowledge through appropriate training.

Written construction phase plans WILL be required for all construction projects (including  domestic client work) and a principal contractor MUST appointed when there is more than  one contractor on a project. Domestic Projects will also be Notifiable (to the HSE) where the thresholds require it.

The new proposed changes to CDM – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations – by the Health and Safety Executive

As this is currently in draft form it may be subject to minor changes. The following guidance is based on the draft CDM, HSE consultation and information provided by HSE.

Why have changes been necessary when the existing CDM Regulations broadly where fit for purpose?

Existing CDM led to misinterpretation bureaucratic placed to much on competency and became a burden on SMEs. Some areas did not sit well with the industry particularly the co-ordination pre construction phase. Small sites here less the 15 people were employed account for two third or more of fatalities.

Larger more managed organisations have lead the way in improving the management of Health and Safety risks, mainly motivated by innovation and a need for continuous improvement lead to best practices as apposed to just meeting the regulations.

What does the HSE hope to achieve with the changes?

  • An improvement in health and safety standards on small sites
  • Improvement and protection of the work force
  • A simplified package of regulations
  • Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive (TMCSD) implemented in a more proportionate way
  • Less bureaucracy
  • And in line with government   better regulation principles

What are the changes?

The roles of duty holder Client:

  • Definition of a client under CDM will include domestic projects
  • More then one contractor or reasonable foreseeable there will be Client must appoint Principle Designer ( PD) and a Principle Contractor ( PC) Commercial project client deemed to undertake roles if no appointment made
  • Client will be responsible for notification of applicable projects to HSE

Domestic client

  • Client duties must be carried out by the contractor or Principal Contractor (PC)
  • Where more then one contractor or likelihood of more then one on site client must appoint a PD and PC
  • A written agreement between client and PD that PD carries out client duties

Guidance for Designers…

…on proposed changes and the implications for small practices

A more clearly defined duty regarding elimination reduction or control of risks.

Take account for:

  • The general principles of prevention
  • Any pre construction information
  • Eliminate foreseeable risk to the health and safety of persons
  • Where it is not possible to eliminate the risks, put in place arrangements to reduce, control, provide information, and ensure information is included in H&S file

CDM Coordinators

  • This role will no longer exist as a statutory appointment from April 2015
  • Existing appointments will be allowed to run until Oct 2015 at the latest
  • CDMCs duties under CDM2007 will be taken on by new Principal Designer (PD) role

Principle Contractor (PC)

Very little change…

Construction Phase Plans (CPP) no longer needed to be checked by client or client’s adviser before start on site However in the final draft of regulations this may change


Very little change…

Note: No Principal Contractor a Construction phase plan is required

Contractor must comply with any directions given by PD / PC

The Principle Designer what it involves and their responsibility

  • Planning
  • Managing
  • Monitoring
  • Coordinating

During pre construction phase accounting for the general principles of prevention under health and safety


Principle Designer: the designer in control of the pre construction phase appointed under regulation 6(1) a

Designer: any person who in the course or furtherance of a business

  • Prepares or modifies a design or
  • Arranges for or instructs any person under his control to do so

It is for the principle designer to ensure:

  • The project is carried out without risk to health and safety
  • Assistance is provided to client in PPC  information
  • The cooperation of all to identify eliminate or control foreseeable risk  to H&S
  • Designers comply with their duties
  • PPC  Information is provided promptly to all designers and contractors appointed by client
  • Liaise with the PC for the duration of the project
  • A health and safety file is prepared including information from the client on Control of asbestos Regulations 2012

Guidance for designers on the proposed changes and implication for small practices

Application / notification

CDM2015 will apply to all construction work:

Where pre –construction archaeological investigation is no longer considered as construction work

  • Pre-construction information and the pre-construction phase are clearly defined
  • Pre –construction information is client responsibility
  • Pre-construction is any period when design or preparatory work is undertaken

Where no appoitments are made by Domestic Client

  • The first Designer appointed will be deemed to be the Principal Designer
  • The first contractor appointed will be deemed the Principal Contractor
  • A project is notifiable when ever construction work is expected to last longer than 30 days and have more than 20 workers simultaneously at any point or exceed 500 person days

Implications for small practices

You need to understand the proposed changes thoroughly and advise your clients adequate and as soon as you are appointed.

You should only take on the PD role if you have the capability or have someone capable to assist you in discharging the duties. Ensure you have adequate resources to discharge ensure you have allocated suitable and sufficient fee for the PD role.

You may wish to employ someone to do PD role on your behalf. This will not transfer legal liability but may help discharge duty. The changes may see and increase in  many more projects will need PD PC appointments.

One good point is there may well need to be  fewer notifications to HSE. Emphasis is on ownership and taking responsibility not passing it on.

Where clients request PD on smaller projects  a competent designers will be expected to be capable of discharging there  duties. Where the more larger  complex projects  are undertaken they  may require the appointment of health and safety consultant to advise assist PD / client.


  • Until April 2015 business as usual
  • From April 2015 (subject to government approval) clients may request you to take on responsibility for coordinating PPC  health and safety (PD role)
  • Only take on PD role if your practice is capable
  • Ensure both you and your staffs  are  suitably trained and competent
  • For larger more complex project consider heath and safety consultant / spec list if you do not have the capability or do not wish to undertake PD role
  • Ensure you have adequate resources have adequate form of appointment as PD you notify your PII broker that you are undertaking the PD role

If you need advice on ths subject, contact us and our Health & Safety Advisors will be happy to assist you.

By Eamon Griffin

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