What are CDM regs and when do CDM regs apply?

Strictly speaking - cdm regs refers to the The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations as amended in 2015 (CDM regulations 2015). They are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects and construction sites.

CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance. The regulations were originally introduced in 1994 in compliance with European Directive 92/57/EEC. They were then revised in 2007 and again in April 2015.

The Regulations are overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which gives them a significant legal status. Not complying with the CDM regs is a criminal offence and you can be fined or imprisoned.

To help people comply with the regulations the HSE has produced a series of guidance documents, downloadable from the HSE website.

What are the aims of CDM Regs?

CDM 2015 aims to ensure that health and safety issues are considered before, during and after any construction project. Thus reducing the risk of harm to those who are involved in the project for its entire duration. Including it's use, maintenance, cleaning, refurbishment or even demolition.

The CDM regulations consider 3 parts to a project.

The pre construction phase is when the client with the principal designer considers all aspects of the project. Under the regs this must include:

  • Ensuring suitable arrangements are in place to manage health and safety throughout the project.

  • Agreeing the format and content of the health and safety file that is used to ensure H & S issues are considered AFTER the building is finished or partly handed over.

  • Where required, the HSE must be notified of commencement of work.

The construction phase is when the principal contractors with the client and principal designer agree a safe way or working prior to work commencing. This is known as the construction phase plan. The plan must be reviewed at regular intervals during the project.

After construction is complete the regs require any relevant information about the project needed to ensure health and safety during it's use, maintenance, cleaning, refurbishment or demolition should be in the health and safety file. The file is only required for projects involving more than one contractor. Production of the health and safety file is the responsibility of the principal designer.

When do CDM regs not apply?

This question is often asked in two other ways.

  • Are domestic extensions subject to the CDM regs?

  • Do CDM regs apply to domestic projects?

The quick answer to the question is the CDM regulations 2015 apply TO ALL building and construction work which includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance. Even building a garden wall falls under the CDM regulations.

But there is a difference under the regulations between a domestic client and a commercial client.

What is a Domestic Client under CDM regs?

A domestic client is someone who has construction work carried out that is not in connection with a business, typically their own home, or the home of a family member. Local authorities, housing associations,  landlords and other businesses may own domestic properties but they are not classed as a domestic client for the purposes of CDM 2015. 

A domestic client is not required to carry out the duties placed on commercial clients.

Domestic clients can choose to have a written agreement with their designer to co-ordinate and manage the project for them. When no such agreement exists, client duties are automatically assigned to the contractor.

What is a commercial client under the CDM regs?

CDM 2015 defines a client as anyone for whom a construction project is carried out. The regulations apply to both domestic and commercial clients. A commercial client is anybody or organisation that does not qualify as a domestic client.

The client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project. CDM 2015 makes the client accountable for health, safety and welfare on the project.

For more detailed information on all aspects of the CDM regulations try our online course that will earn CPD points and an ISO 9001 quality assured ConCEST certificate.