construction worker

Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015 – Constructing higher safety standards

Health & Safety at work is nothing new; regulations have long been in place to ensure that construction projects are run both sensibly and safely. In the constant process of improvement and progress, CDM has organically grown, recent changes promise to continue to raise the bar for Health & Safety across construction projects.

Construction Worker.

The 2015 Construction Design & Management Regulation is the first major change in law in this area since 2007. Its main purpose is to reduce the number of accidents which take place on construction sites of all sizes. One of the key drivers behind these laws is a greater responsibility being allocated to commercial clients, who are held responsible for the conduct and key decisions made by construction worker’s they hire. It’s important to note that on domestic projects, the clients responsibilities are passed onto the project contractor/designer.

Below, is a table which outlines the variation in duties for both commercial & domestic clients in further detail.

Job Role Definition Main Duties
Commercial Clients An organisation or an individual who has organised a construction project to be carried out as part of their business. Ensure sufficient resources & time is allocated.Ensure that a number of duty holders are appointed.Ensure that relevant information is thorough and provided to duty holders. 

Ensure that the principal designer & contractor carry out their duties.


Ensure that welfare facilities are provided.

Domestic Clients Anyone who has construction work carried out on their home, or the home of a family member.A key element of this categorisation is that the work is not done as part of a business.If a householder carries out the work themselves, it is classed as DIY and the CDM does not apply. In CDM 2015, client duties are usually transferred to either the contractor or principle contractor.The domestic client can also choose and have an agreement in writing, which places the responsibility for the project to the principal designer.

Having discussed the client’s responsibilities, now it’s time to analyse the different job roles & responsibilities for those managing and planning a construction project.

Job Role Definition Main Duties
Designers An organisation or individual which prepares designs, modifications, products or systems to be used within a construction project. During the design process, eliminate, reduce and control any risks that may arise during construction and the maintenance of the construction once built.The designer/ design team is also responsible for sharing such information with the construction team.
Principal Designers An organisation or individual which is employed by the client to manage multiple projects. Planning, managing and monitoring health & safety within the pre-construction phase of a project.This includes ensuring that designers carry out their duties and correctly identify potential risks and share any information with fellow duty holders.Principal designers should work closely with the principal contractor during the construction project.
Contractors An organisation or an individual which carries out the construction project. Planning, managing and monitoring the construction project. Ensuring the project runs without risks to health & safety.Whilst working with more than one contractor, contractors should coordinate their work with others.It is important that individual contractors prepare a construction phase plan.
Principal Contractors Appointed by the client, the principal contractor is responsible for coordinating a project which involves more than one contractor. Planning, managing and monitoring the construction project. Ensuring the project runs without risks to health & safety.As part of this a principal contractor will liaise with both the client and the designers, prepare the construction phase plan and organise work between parties.The principal contractor will also ensure that suitable site inductions are provided, take reasonable steps to prohibit unauthorised access to a site, ensure workers contribute and are aware of health & safety.Finally, the principal contractor is responsible for ensuring welfare facilities are provided.

Of course, a construction project wouldn’t get too far without its construction staff, defined by the CDM as ‘workers’. Below is a table of their definitions and responsibilities.

Job Role Definition Main Duties
Workers Those working for & under the responsibility of contractors on a construction project. It is important that workers must be consulted about matters regarding their health, safety and welfare.Workers must also be proactive with their own health and safety and that of others, through cooperating with their employers and reporting anything they see which may pose a danger.

The subtle shift in liability places greater importance on employing the right people for the job. Ignorance will be no defence with the CDM and if clients are found to have failed in certain aspects and standards, a project may be blocked.

If you or your business is planning a construction project, why not speak to us? We are specialists in construction & engineering risk management across all project sizes. To see what we have done for one of the UK’s leading public work companies, click here.