Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations

To prevent illness, injuries and, worst case, deaths, it’s critical that you keep up with what’s required of you as a business – and that means following procedures and having designated individuals responsible for ensuring all goes to plan.

The Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations exist to safeguard every single person on a construction project and secure their health and safety. CDM Regulations also make sure the right people are appointed for the planning and safe implementation of procedures throughout a project.

Almost everyone on a construction project will have a legal duty so it’s important to know who has what duty, what they’re responsible for and if they’re complying with the law.

What are the CDM Regulations?

The Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 have six core objectives to help people involved with construction projects to:

  1. Work safely by carefully planning projects so that are all risks are identified at the very start and managed until the very end.
  2. Ensure that people are appointed correct jobs and are carrying them out safely.
  3. Effectively co-operate and co-ordinate tasks with relevant people ensuring that they have the correct skills and knowledge needed.
  4. Make sure that the right information about the risks and how they’re being managed is made available.
  5. Clearly communicate relevant information with everyone who needs to know it.
  6. Effectively consult and engage with workers about any risks they may be subject to, and how those risks are being managed.

When do the CDM Regulations apply?

The CDM Regulations apply to any construction project (for example, a construction phase plan is required for every project) and must be notified to the Health and Safety Executive if it:

  • Lasts more than 30 working days and involves more than 20 workers at any one time


  • Requires more than 500 individual worker days.

In terms of the type of project, the CDM Regulations cover anything from groundworks and temporary structures, to restoration and excavations – and everything else in between.

Who are the Duty Holders?

The regulations recognise seven different CDM duty holders and outline their specific responsibilities:

Commercial clients

An individual or an organisation who’s having construction work carried out on their business.

Domestic clients

People who have construction work carried out on their home – not for business purposes.


Individuals or organisations who prepare or modify construction designs for a building, product or system.

Principal designers

The main designer (who’s appointed by the client) in projects involving more than one contractor.

Principal contractors

The chief contractor (who’s appointed by the client) that co-ordinates the construction phase of a project when one or more contractors are involved.


The people who do the doing – the actual construction work. Contractors can be either individuals or businesses.


Individuals who work under the control of contractors on a construction site.

What are their responsibilities?

Each duty holder has various responsibilities to comply with the CDM Regulations:

Commercial client

  • Make sure adequate resource and time is allocated to projects
  • Make sure relevant information is given to other duty holders
  • Make sure the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer carry out their duties
  • Provide suitable welfare facilities

Domestic client

  • Normally, unless a written agreement with the principal designer is in place, domestic clients’ responsibilities will be transferred to either the contractor (for single contractor projects) or the principal contractor (for projects involving more than one contractor)


  • Make sure any foreseeable risks are eliminated, reduced or controlled during the construction project
  • Provide other members of the project team with sufficient, relevant information so that they’re able to fulfil their responsibilities

Principal designers

  • Make sure all elements of Health & Safety are carefully considered, planned and monitored pre-construction
  • Make sure that all designers are keeping up with their responsibilities

Principal contractors

  • Make sure suitable site inductions are given to any visitors or workers entering the site
  • Prepare a thorough construction phase plan


  • Make sure any work they are carrying out is done so safely, without any risk to their or others’ safety


  • Report any risks that could endanger themselves or others
  • Co-operate with other individuals on the project to ensure high levels of safety are maintained throughout

It’s important to remember that these are just a handful of the duty holders’ responsibilities. For more information on duty holders and their duties under the CDM Regulations, get in touch with our Health & Safety experts on 0345 844 1111.

How we can help

We know the importance of health, safety and welfare which is why we want to support you through the CDM Regulations process.

Our Health & Safety experts are here to take the complication out of CDM Regulations so that you can get on with doing what you do best – running your business!

To find out how we can start supporting you today, get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or today.

CDM Regulations in schools

We have produced a handy table to help schools identify who their 'client' is when it comes to the CDM Regulations.

Download the guide

An intro to the CDM Regulations

Useful information on how to govern your construction projects

Download the guide

Health and Safety checklist

Your free guide to confidence in Health & Safety

Download the guide

Health and Safety Policy Template

Your very own FREE Health & Safety handbook template.

Download the guide

Claim your free Consultation & HR Audit

The consultants we work with are absolutely superb - we never have to worry about Employment Law.

Sue Anderson, Finance Director Pendle Doors

Read the customer story

The experts from Citation came in and implemented all of the legal documentation we needed to be fully compliant.

Gaynor Thomas, Business Development Manager Wilmslow Glass

Read the customer story

We've found the service as a whole, extremely valuable; I have even recommended business contacts and friends in the past who are also now happy clients of Citation.

John Cook, Transport Manager Wrings Transport

Read the customer story

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap