14th September, 2021

CDM Regulations And The Secrets Of Part 4

If you work in construction and know CDM, you are probably familiar with the duties of clients, contractors and designers. But do you know about part 4? It might not get much attention, but failing to comply is not an option. Find out how part 4 applies to your construction projects.

CDM Regulations And The Secrets Of Part 4 header image

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (known as the CDM regulations) apply to all construction projects in Great Britain. And most people involved in construction projects have to comply with them. Clients. Contractors. Designers. They all have duties under CDM. There are even two specific roles required under CDM, the principal designer and the principal contractor.

You might already know about the requirements placed on clients, principal designers, principal contractors, contractors and designers. These duties are placed on project team members by the CDM regulations and are widely what comes to mind when you think of CDM. In fact, the roles of the principal designer and principal contractor only exist because of CDM.

But this post is not about those duties because part 4 of the regulations is not about CDM duty holders.

If you are not fully up to speed on the duties you need to follow under CDM, you can check out our free CDM duty holder guides.

The CDM regulations are divided into five parts. The three main parts are Parts 2, 3 and 4. Part 1 is an introduction, and part 5 is some general information on enforcement and review of the regulations. And duty holder duties are covered under parts 2 and 3.

Part 2 and part 3 tend to get a lot of attention. Part 2 details client duties and part 3 outlines health and safety duties for other roles. This includes details on the appointment of the principal designer and principal contractor and what they must do. It also covers duties applying to every designer and contractor on a construction project.

What about part 4 of the CDM regulations? Part 4 contains general requirements for all construction sites. But it does not get much attention at all. If you look in the CDM approved code of practice, the section on part 4 simply includes the regulations. The only guidance included for part 4 is...

Part 4 sets out a number of provisions that only relate to work carried out on the construction site. See HSE’s construction web pages at www.hse.gov.uk/construction for guidance on these provisions.

So if it's glossed over in the guidance, is part 4 even important?

Absolutely. The CDM regulations are a set of 39 regulations. Part 4 contains regulations 16 to 35. That's nearly 50% of the regulations. So you better believe it deserves some attention.

Part 4 of CDM is all about what happens on the site, during the construction work. So the duties contained within part 4 are specific to contractors, and contractors must comply with the requirements on their construction sites.

  1. This Part applies only to a construction site.
  2. A contractor carrying out construction work must comply with the requirements of this Part so far as they affect the contractor or any worker under the control of the contractor or relate to matters within the contractor’s control.
  3. A domestic client who controls the way in which any construction work is carried out by a person at work must comply with the requirements of this Part so far as they relate to matters within the client’s control.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Regulation 16

In addition, anyone who controls construction work must make sure that these requirements are complied with. Because if you control construction work, then you are a contractor under CDM.

“contractor” means any person (including a non-domestic client) who, in the course or furtherance of a business, carries out, manages or controls construction work;

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Interpretation

Knowing part 4 of the regulations is a must for contractors, and anyone controlling construction work. Prosecutions do happen, and the HSE will take enforcement action for breaches under part 4.

We only need to look at recent CDM prosecutions to find two significant prosecutions under CDM part 4. A Manchester-based property developer was sent to prison for breaching regulation 19 (stability of structures). In another prosecution, a breach of regulation 27 (traffic routes) resulted in a £500,000 fine for a Birmingham based contractor.

Find out more about CDM enforcement in 95 CDM Prosecutions (Breaches, Fines and Prison Time).

The requirements of Part 4 cover a wide variety of site issues including safe places of work, site security, demolition, inspections, traffic routes and vehicles, fire prevention, emergency procedures, and even lighting.

For example, the regulations state that the colour of any artificial lighting must not affect or change the perception of any sign or signal provided for health and safety.

Many of the regulations in part 4 will apply to every construction project you are working on. For example, good order, site security, weather protection, emergency routes and lighting. Others only on certain projects, like explosives, cofferdams and prevention of drowning.

Here's the full list of regulations included in CDM part 4:

17. Safe places of construction work

Requires construction sites to be kept safe, including safe access to the construction site and every place construction work is carried out.

construction safety signs

18. Good order and site security

Construction sites must be kept in good order, including hoarding and signage. Requires a reasonable state of cleanliness and prohibits projecting nails and similar sharp objects.

18.—(1) Each part of a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, be kept in good order and those parts in which construction work is being carried out must be kept in a reasonable state of cleanliness.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Regulation 18

19. Stability of structures

All new and existing structures must be protected from collapse, and be able to withstand foreseeable loads.

20. Demolition or dismantling

Arrangements for demolition and dismantling must be recorded in writing and planned to prevent danger and reduce risk.

21. Explosives

Explosives must be stored, transported and used safely and securely, with suitable steps in place to keep people safe when using explosives.

22. Excavations

Steps must be taken to prevent excavations from collapsing and prevent people, equipment, or materials from falling into the excavation. Includes requirements for supports, inspections and preventing overloading.


23. Cofferdams and caissons

Requirements for the design and construction of cofferdams and caissons, including inspection and maintenance.

24. Reports of inspections

Contains the requirements for inspection reports for inspections completed under regulations 23 and 24. Details the information to be included and storing copies.

25. Energy distribution installations

The locating of energy distribution installations (including overhead and underground cables), and marking, checking, isolation and protection measures.

  1. Where there is a risk to construction work from overhead electric power cables—
  1. they must be directed away from the area of risk; or
  2. the power must be isolated and, where necessary, earthed.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Regulation 25

26. Prevention of drowning

Steps necessary to protect people from falling into water or other liquids- includes prevention and rescue requirements.

27. Traffic routes

Producing a construction traffic management plan? The requirements for traffic route size and number, separation of vehicles and pedestrians and signage are found here.

Regulation 27 details the need to organise construction sites and provide adequate traffic routes to keep people safe. This regulation requires sufficient separation between vehicles and pedestrians.

28. Vehicles

Vehicles must be used and moved safely on construction sites. This regulation considers operator and vehicle safety.

construction digger vehicle

29. Prevention of risk from fire, flooding or asphyxiation

Sufficient steps must be taken to prevent the risk of injury from fire, explosion, flooding or asphyxiation.

30. Emergency procedures

Requires arrangements for dealing with foreseeable emergencies, considering the site hazards and work carried out. These arrangements must be communicated and tested.

31. Emergency routes and exits

Emergency routes and exits must be provided on the site that leads to a place of safety. Just like any workplace, suitable signs and lighting as necessary, are required.

emergency exit sign

32. Fire detection and fire-fighting

Suitable fire detection and fire fighting equipment are necessary on construction sites. These must be examined, tested, and properly maintained, with training provided.

32.—(1) Where necessary in the interests of the health or safety of a person on a construction site, suitable and sufficient fire-fighting equipment and fire detection and alarm systems must be provided and located in suitable places.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Regulation 32

33. Fresh air

Construction sites must have sufficient fresh or purified air. Any plant required for this purpose must have visual or audible warning alarms in the event of failure.

34. Temperature and weather protection

The temperature of indoor areas must be reasonable. People working in outdoor areas must have protection from adverse weather.

35. Lighting

Construction sites and their traffic routes must have suitable and sufficient lighting, which as far as practical be natural light. Includes the need for secondary lighting where artificial lighting may fail.

If you weren’t aware of the CDM requirements above and beyond duty holders, and particularly if you carry out construction work, it may be worth having a recap of the CDM regulations and giving extra attention to Part 4. If you are a contractor, you certainly need to know about it. Part 4 of the CDM regulations shouldn't be a secret. Hopefully, we have helped you uncover this sometimes forgotten section.

Unsure what you need to do to comply with CDM? Read our free CDM duty holder guides.

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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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