The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

27 February, 2015

The new CDM regime will apply to almost every construction project from 6 April 2015 and it is important that the industry prepares itself as early as possible. 


  • There will be a general simplification of the Regulations to be more in line with the project process and more health and safety responsibility will be given to the client.


  • The current role of the CDM co-ordinator will be taken over by a “principal designer” who may be from the existing project design team rather than necessarily a specialist CDM consultant (raising questions about the future of current specialist CDM Co-ordinator practices).


  • The Regulations will apply to domestic clients too (i.e. those not carrying out work in the course of their business), although there are special provisions easing a domestic client’s compliance burden.


  • The threshold requiring HSE notification of projects is to be changed from the current requirement of projects expected to last more than 30 days or involve more than 500 person days of labour, to a requirement to notify projects (a) lasting more than 30 working days and having more than 20 workers on site at any point or (b) where construction work is scheduled to exceed 500 person days.


  •  A principal designer and principal contractor will need to be appointed whenever there is more than one contractor employed on a project. If the main contractor has even one sub-contractor, then there will be more than one contractor on the project.


  • Written construction phase plans will be required for all construction projects.


  • There will be a simplification of the way the parties go about assessing competence in a bid to provide clarity and help the industry predict whether project teams will be able to deliver a safe project. Although the initial HSE report (published after its 2014 consultation) recommended a new Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), the new guidance is not an ACOP.  However, it is shorter and more streamlined than for the 2007 Regulations. 


With the changes imminent, you should be considering the potential impact on your business now.  The 2015 Regulations will on 6 April apply to all projects regardless of when those projects commenced.  However, for projects that had already commenced on 6 April 2015, transitional arrangements will apply, set out in detail in schedule 4 of the Regulations. In those cases, the employer will need to ensure that a principal designer is appointed if the project does not complete by 6 October 2015.


Ultimately, the new regulations are intended to make the current health and safety regime less complex and bureaucratic whilst always keeping the emphasis on safer working environments.