CDM Principal Designer

As of the 6th April 2015 the regulations which control safety on construction projects changed. The former Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 have now been replaced by CDM 2015 and with it the former CDM co-ordinator role has been removed. The new regulations place more emphasis on the client and the principal designer.

Appoint the right people at the right time

  • If more than one contractor will be involved, you will need to appoint (in writing) a principal designer and a principal contractor.
  • A principal designer is required to plan, manage and coordinate the planning and design work. Appoint them as early as possible so they can help you gather information about the project and ensure that the designers have done all they can to check that it can be built safely.
  • A principal contractor is required to plan, manage and coordinate the construction work. Appoint them as early as possible so they are involved in discussions with the principal designer about the work.

Notifying construction projects

For some construction work (work lasting longer than 30 days with more than 20 workers working at the same time, or involving 500 person days of work), you need to notify HSE of the project as soon as possible before construction work starts. In practice, you may request someone else to do this on your behalf.

Domestic Clients

  • If you are having work done on your own home, or the home of a family member, and it is not in connection with a business, you will be a domestic client. The only responsibility a domestic client has under CDM 2015 is to appoint a principal designer and a principal contractor when there is more than one contractor.
  • However, if you do not do this, (as is common practice) your duties as a domestic client are automatically transferred to the contractor or principal contractor. If you already have a relationship with your designer before the work starts, the designer can take on your duties, provided there is a written agreement between you and the designer to do so.

Why you should comply with your duties as a client

  • If you do not comply with CDM 2015, you are likely to be failing to influence the management of health and safety on your project. This means that your project could be putting workers and others at risk of harm, and that the finished structure may not achieve good standards and be value for money.
  • If you don’t appoint a principal designer or principal contractor you will be responsible for the things that they should have done.
  • Serious breaches of health and safety legislation on your construction project could result in construction work being stopped by HSE or your local authority and additional work may be needed to put things right. In the most serious circumstances, you could be prosecuted.

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