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29th June, 2017

CDM 2015 client responsibilities

CDM 2015 increases the responsibilities placed on the client, giving this important duty holder more requirements to comply with.

Apart from domestic clients (those having work done on their own or family home and not in relation to any business), client duties apply on every construction project.

Yes, every project.

No matter the size or duration.

Summary of the client responsibilities under CDM 2015:

  • Make suitable arrangements
  • Allocate sufficient time and resources
  • Appoint a Principal Designer on projects with more than one contractor
  • Appoint a Principal Contractor on projects with more than one contractor
  • Ensure work can be carried out without risks to health or safety
  • Ensure welfare facilities are provided
  • Ensure that arrangements are maintained and reviewed throughout the project
  • Provide pre-construction information to designers and contractors
  • Ensure the construction phase plan is drawn up by the principal contractor (or contractor if only one) before work starts
  • Ensure the principal designer prepares a health and safety file
  • Ensure the health and safety file complies and is revised to incorporate relevant new information, and is kept available for inspection by any person who may need it
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal designer complies with their duties.
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor complies with their duties.
  • Provide the health and safety file to any person who acquires the structure.
  • Where a project is notifiable, the client must give notice in writing to the HSE.

There a quite a few duties therefore, that need to be carried out before any work even begins on site.

The Client has quite a big influence on health and safety of the project, particularly in the appointment of the two other key duty holders, the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor.

These duty holders have their own responsibilities under CDM 2015, and it is important to remember that if the Client fails to appoint these duty holders, they become responsible for those duties also!

Clients cannot transfer these responsibilities to anyone else, although they may be assisted by other members of the project team, especially the Principal Designer when it comes to gathering the pre-construction information and its distribution.

What if there are multiple clients? For example, a board of directors.

Either the clients should work together, or one or more of the clients may agree in writing to be treated as the only client or clients, and subject to the duties except for duties regarding cooperation and providing information.

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