CDM regulation changes 2015

The biggest H & S overhaul in a decade

The updates to the CDM regulations taking effect in 2015 that we are looking at in this article are, in essence, a simplification of many of the very involved processes and legalities we endure at the moment. Industry wide these changes are seen as very significant and have been eagerly awaited thanks to that simplification. These regulations are to be rolled out UK wide – It is not London alone that will be affected.

What are the main differences likely to be?

While these alterations to many of the current regulations are fairly involved, the salient points are outlined below. The current CDM coordinator role is to be replaced with that of “Principal designer”. In real terms, this means that a principal designer will need to be appointed on all jobs where more than one trade contractor is on site. Any designers appointed will not be able to do any work beyond the initial design unless the principal designer explicitly makes the client aware of their duties. A principal designer and principal contractor will need to be appointed in writing.

Roles of principal designer and contractor

The principal contractor is appointed to fulfil the client role, and the principal designer will be answerable to the principal contractor, in their role as the client. On domestic projects, the client themselves can appoint the principal designer. If they fail to make this appointment then the first designer to work on the project will be considered principal.

Construction phase plan

Prior to work commencing on any project it is the clients responsibility to ensure that the principal contractor has in place an agreed construction phase plan.

Threshold for notification & Explicit competence requirements

Where projects will be in excess of 30 working days with more than 20 workers then the HSE will require notification of the projects. When appointing principal contractors it will be the responsibility of the client to ensure that any such persons appointed can demonstrate the appropriate competencies required to undertake the project.


The points outlined above are the most important points and differences we are going to be experiencing during 2015 and aims to give you a good, working idea of how they might affect you and your business. The prudent thing for any organisation affected to be doing is reading the full draft changes, and arranging seamless transfer from the existing system to the new through relevant staff training and deciding which of your staff will be responsible for holding the designated positions of principal.

Overall the changes will make life easier in the longer term. They provide for more accountability on the part of contractors, designers and subcontractors. Additionally they should allow you to develop more full proof systems and robust approaches to protecting yourself and your business from any claims resulting from a misunderstanding of the current rather complex rules. Please remember also, that this legislation will apply throughout the UK unlike certain areas which are reserved to London that we have seen in recent years with projects such as Crossrail requiring significant change in law to provide specifically for that project.