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Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, CDM2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations are concerned with all Health, Safety and Welfare aspects of construction and maintenance projects. If you are about to build, extend, alter or demolish a structure then the CDM Regulations place a number of legal duties on you as the Client. It is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that these requirements are met.

CDM recognises that the Client has the power to influence and control those involved in a project and therefore the ultimate achievement of a safe project is in the Client’s control. In practice you can delegate many of these duties and responsibilities to your professional team but legally, as Client, you will remain responsible.

CDM 2015 came into force on 6th April 2015, replacing CDM 2007. Projects previously commissioned under CDM 2007 have a 6-month transition period, so these projects either need to be completed by October 2015 or be fully transferred to meet the requirements of CDM 2015 by 6th October 2015. Any existing CDM Co-ordinator must ensure compliance with CDM2015 up to completion or the end of the transition period.

CDM 2015 includes various substantial revisions from CDM 2007, such as the withdrawal of the CDM Co-ordinator role and the introduction of a Principal Designer.

Under CDM 2015, who is the Client?

The Client is the individual or organisation for whom a construction project is carried out. CDM 2015 recognises two types of Client; domestic clients and commercial clients.

A domestic client, is one who is having construction work carried out to their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not. The duties of domestic clients are normally transferred to the contractor or principal contractor however the domestic client can choose to have a written agreement with the principal designer to carry out the client duties.

A commercial client can be a company, organisation or individual. They could also be organisations that manage domestic properties. They must make suitable arrangements for managing the project, including making sure other duty holders are appointed and sufficient time are resources are allocated. Non-domestic clients must also make sure relevant information is prepared and provided to other dutyholders, that the principal designer and principal contractor carry out their duties and that adequate welfare facilities are provided.

If more than one contractor will be involved, the Client must appoint (in writing) a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor. All clients must provide Pre-Construction Information as early as possible to designers and the Principal Contractor.

Principal Designer

A Principal Designer can be an individual or an organisation. The PD is required to plan, manage and coordinate the planning and design work. The PD should be appointed as early as possible in the design process, if practicable at the concept stage. Appointing the PD early will provide the client with help in matters such as pulling together the pre-construction information and giving the principal designer enough time to carry out their duties. The duration of the PD’s appointment should take into account any design work which may continue into the construction phase or any issues that may arise during construction involving the need to make suitable modifications to the designs. For projects involving early work by a concept architect or project management company where a design and build contractor or novated designer is subsequently involved, it may be appropriate for the initial principal designer appointment to be ended and a new principal designer appointed.

The Principal Designer role is an additional role applied to a designer already appointed on the project, whether that is the architect, an engineer or project manager.

CRGP Ltd can provide a Principal Designer role in addition to another CRGP appointment on any project. The appointment of a Principal Designer needs to be made in writing and separately from other appointments.

Principal Contractor

A principal contractor is required to plan, manage and coordinate the construction work. They should also be appointed in writing by the Client.  The principal contractor should be appointed early enough in the pre-construction phase to help the client meet their duty to ensure a construction phase plan is drawn up before the construction phase starts. This also gives the principal contractor time to carry out their duties, such as preparing the construction phase plan and liaising with the principal designer in sharing any relevant information for health and safety. There can only be one Principal Contractor appointed on any one project. The Principal Contractor must produce a Construction Phase Health and Safety plan for every project, the content of which should be proportionate to the size and style of the project being undertaken.


If the Client makes no specific appointment of a Principal Designer or Principal Contractor then the Client is deemed to take on these roles and is required to fulfil these duties.

Should you wish to discuss the role of a Prinicpal Designer then please do not hesitate to contact Kenneth Veitch.

Case Studies

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Pennant Civil Engineering, Livingston
New headquarters for Contractor, Pennant Civil Engineering Ltd in Oakbank, Livingston
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