Construction Regulations: Guide for Employers

By Fiona Burns
20 Jun 2019

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 affect you no matter what your role in the industry is.

This guide explores everything about the new guidelines and how to apply them to your business.


What are the CDM regulations?

They’re a set of legal requirements that came into effect four years ago. It sometimes goes by the name of CDM Regulations 2015.

The requirement details what each duty holder must—or should do—to comply with the law. This is to ensure all projects you undertake are safe and secure.

What’s a duty holder, you ask?

They’re a person you (or a senior person) appoints to maintain the standard and quality of any work or project your business undertakes.

Under the current construction regulations, a duty holder is a:

  • Principal designer.
  • Principal contractor.

It’d be very difficult to fully cover the list of requirements in a few short paragraphs, but we can give an overview.

The CDM regulations are in five parts:

  1. The application of CDM 2015 with definitions.
  2. The duties of clients for construction projects, including commercial clients, but excluding domestic clients, as these are normally taken care of by other duty holders.
  3. The health & safety duties and roles of duty holders.
  4. General requirements for construction sites.
  5. Transitional arrangements and revocations.

So, as you can see there’s a lot to cover. If you want to know what is CDM responsible for, you can find a copy of the legislation on the government website.

But, in short, it covers the summary of the duties of each individual involved in a construction project.

They detail the main responsibilities of each duty holder and what their contribution to the project should be.


When do CDM regulations apply?

All the time. These requirements apply to every single construction project your business undertakes.

This includes maintenance activities that aren’t part of a big ‘project’. The definition under CDM covers any and all types of construction work you can think of.

So, when does CDM apply? Always. If you think it doesn’t apply as you’re not in the construction industry, that’s wrong.

The regulations cover any construction project, regardless of the industry you’re in.


Do CDM regulations apply to all projects?

Yes. Including:

  • Actual construction.
  • Conversions and alterations.
  • Fitting out.
  • Repair and upkeep.
  • Demolition and dismantling.
  • Installation of services.

An important point to note is while the regulations apply to projects, that doesn’t mean you need to notify the HSE about them.

We’ll go into a little more detail about that particular point further below.


What about other regulations?

There’s some confusion with businesses regarding other CDM updates. For instance, many think there are:

  • CDM regulations 2016.
  • CDM regulations 2017.
  • CDM regulations 2018.

The reality is these don’t exist—the current legislation came into force in 2015.

As there are no regulations that have yet to replace them, there’s no need to update the name.


FAQs on the construction health and safety regulations

Here are some common questions, with answers. If you have one that isn’t listed below, you can get in touch with us for assistance.


Q: Can I carry out the role of more than one duty holder on a project under the construction regulations in the UK?

A: Yes. As long as you have the skills, knowledge, experience, and organisational capacity to do so.


Q: Does CDM 2015 apply to all maintenance work?

A: Yes. Maintenance fits within the definition of ‘construction work’ as set forward by the construction safety regulations. Here’s the wording:

‘construction work' means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes—

(a)the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure;

A later point in the definition also mentions maintenance work:

(e)the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure.


Q: When is a project notifiable?

A: Statutory regulations on construction deem anything that lasts longer than 30 working days and has more than 20 workers working on it at the same time or exceeds 500 person days as a notifiable project.


Q: Who do I notify?

A: The HSE. You must inform them as soon as possible before the construction phase begins.


Expert Support

We ensure any project your business undertakes complies with CDM regulations. We also provide advice on any other issues you might come across. Call an expert today on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.


Fiona Burns

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