13th February, 2019

CDM 2015 Documents Explained

There are several documents required under CDM 2015, in this blog post we look at which documents are required, and when. CDM 2015 has been around for a while now, and applies to all construction projects in Great Britain, and not much has changed when it comes to the documents required, or has it?

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There are three main documents required for construction projects under CDM 2015. The pre-construction information, the construction phase plan, and the health and safety file. These documents contain important health and safety information, that is required at each stage of a construction project.

CDM 2015 has been around for a while now and applies to all construction projects in Great Britain, and not much has changed when it comes to the documents required, or has it?

Well, yes and no.

These documents should sound familiar. The pre-construction information, the construction phase plan, and the health and safety file were also needed under the previous version. CDM 2007. But WHEN we need them, and WHO is responsible for producing them, well, that has changed.

To simplify, let's look at each document individually.

The Pre-Construction Information

When is it required?
Pre-construction phase.
Who's responsible?
The client.

This document is required for every construction project. It is the first CDM document that will be produced, as it is required before work starts on site. It's actually required at the very start of the project, as it will include information for designers and contractors planning the work.

Ultimately, the responsibility for providing this information falls on the client. It is one of the CDM 2015 client duties.

(4) A client must provide pre-construction information as soon as is practicable to every designer and contractor appointed, or being considered for appointment, to the project.

However, when a principal designer has been appointed by the client, they will assist the client in the development of the pre-construction information.

You can find out more about the appointments a client must make, and client duties under CDM, in the free CDM duty holder guide for clients.

The pre-construction information should be available on every construction project. No matter how small, and regardless of whether or not a principal designer is appointed. This was also the case under the old CDM 2007 regulations, however, the CDM coordinator would assist the client, and now this is one of the duties of the principal designer.

The pre-construction information includes information about the project, arrangements and the client brief. It should also include health and safety information about hazards on the site. This will be information like surveys and plans already in the client's possession or obtained by the client. It may also include information from any existing health and safety file.

The Construction Phase Plan

When is it required?
Construction phase.
Who's responsible?
Principal contractor.

This document is required for every construction project.

Previously, under the old 2007 regulations, the construction phase plan was only required on notifiable projects. However, under the 2015 regulations, things have changed. The construction phase plan must now be produced on any project, regardless of size or duration.

Responsibility for producing the construction phase plan falls on the principal contractor unless there is only one contractor involved in the project, in which case, the sole contractor must produce it.

The pre-construction information provided will be used to help develop the construction phase plan. The hazards present on the site will be addressed, with arrangements for managing health and safety during the project.

The construction phase plan must be developed before work starts on site. It contains information on how health and safety will be managed on site, throughout the construction phase. This document should be added to if new trades start and additional activities or arrangements need to be addressed.

(4) Throughout the project the principal contractor must ensure that the construction phase plan is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised from time to time so that it continues to be sufficient to ensure that construction work is carried out, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risks to health or safety.

Got questions about the construction phase plan? Find out more in Construction Phase Plans Explained (What, When, Who And Why).

The Health and Safety File

When is it required?
Project completion.
Who's responsible?
Principal designer.

The health and safety file is the final document to be produced under CDM. This document is handed over to the client on project completion. It contains health and safety information needed for future use, cleaning and maintenance of the building or structure.

The health and safety file must be produced on any project with more than one contractor (including subcontractors). This is whenever there is a principal designer appointed since the principal designer must be appointed on any project with more than one contractor.

It is the principal designer's duty to develop the health and safety file, with information gathered from the project team. They should start preparing the file during the pre-construction phase. The file will then be developed throughout the project and handed over to the client on completion.

Find out more about what needs to be included in CDM Health And Safety File Contents (What You Should Include).

(5) During the pre-construction phase, the principal designer must prepare a health and safety file appropriate to the characteristics of the project which must contain information relating to the project which is likely to be needed during any subsequent project to ensure the health and safety of any person.

The principal contractor, other contractors and designers all need to provide relevant information to be included in the health and safety file. If the principal designer's appointment ends prior to project completion, they should hand the file over the principal contractor who must then complete the file and hand it over to the client on completion.


When Needed: Duty Holders:
Pre-Construction Information All Projects Client, Principal Designer
Construction Phase Plan All Projects Principal Contractor or Sole Contractor
Health & Safety File Projects with more than one contractor Principal Designer, Principal Contractor

Need help creating documents for your CDM projects? Use our CDM document templates to get you started.

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This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

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