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24th November, 2015

CDM 2015 Roles And Responsibilities

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015 introduced some changes to the CDM roles and responsibilities in place on construction projects in the UK.

Members of the construction project team need to fulfil various roles and responsibilities to comply with the CDM regulations.

Under CDM 2015, the CDM Coordinator has been removed, and the new role of Principal Designer has been introduced.

Due to this change, there have also been some adjustments to the responsibilities of each role.

The key CDM 2015 roles and responsibilities now apply to:

  • Clients
  • Principal Designer
  • Principal Contractor
  • Designers
  • Contractors
  • Workers

Some roles may need to be appointed, and can only be carried out one organisation or individual at any one time on a project, such as the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor roles. For example, there may be a number of contractors on the project, but only one contractor can be appointed as the Principal Contractor.

Other roles are automatically assigned and can be applied to multiple organisations or individuals on the project, such as Designers, Contractors and Workers. For example, every designer on the project will need to comply with Designer duties and responsibilities under CDM 2015.

Under CDM 2015, any construction project (including domestic and regardless of length or notification status), with more than one contractor (including subcontractors) must have a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor appointed.

You can check if CDM duty holders are complying with the free CDM compliance checklist.

The following is a brief summary of the responsibilities applied to each role:

What are the Client responsibilities?

Clients must make sure that the required duty holders are appointed, that relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders, that welfare facilities are provided, and that the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor carry out their duties under CDM 2015.

What are the Principal Designer responsibilities?

Principal Designers are responsible for planning, managing and coordinating health and safety in the pre-construction phase of the project (e.g. everything up to work starting on site). This includes preparing and providing relevant information to other duty holders, identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks, ensuring Designers carry out their duties and liaising with the Principal Contractor to help in the planning, management and monitoring of the construction phase.

What are the Principal Contractor responsibilities?

Principal Contractors are responsible for planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the construction phase of the project, including preparing the construction phase plan, organising cooperation between Contractors and coordinating their work and liaising with the Client and Principal Designer. They must ensure that suitable site inductions are provided, prevent unauthorised access, provide welfare facilities and consult and engage workers on health and safety matters.

What are the Designer responsibilities?

All Designers must eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction or maintenance when preparing or modifying designs, they must also provide relevant information to other members of the project team.

What are the Contractor responsibilities?

All Contractors must plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety, including coordinating their activities with others in the project team and comply with directions given to them by the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor. Where there is only one Contractor on a project, they must prepare a construction phase plan.

What are the Workers responsibilities?

Workers must be consulted on matters which affect their health, safety and welfare. They must take care of their own health and safety and those who may be affected by their actions, and report anything they see which may endanger their own or others health and safety. They must also cooperate with their employer, other workers, contractors and other duty holders.


Check if your project complies with CDM, from start to finish, with the free CDM compliance checklist.

This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and a degree in construction management. She is NEBOSH qualified and a member of IOSH.

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