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24th May, 2017

Does CDM 2015 Apply To Demolition?

When, and how, does CDM 2015 apply to demolition work? As in, projects that don’t actually involve any new construction, just removal and site clearance.

The simple answer is, yes CDM does apply to these projects.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) apply to construction work sure, but isn't construction work the building of things? So how does it apply to demolition?

Well the definition of construction work under CDM 2015 is far reaching, and one paragraph in particular deals with demolition…


'construction work' means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes — ...

(b)the preparation for an intended structure, including site clearance...

(d)the removal of a structure, or of any product or waste resulting from demolition or dismantling of a structure...

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Oh, and just in case you're thinking a structure only applies to an office, house or other form of standard building. No, the definition of a structure under CDM covers anything from a tramway line, sewer and earthworks, to fixed plant and scaffolding and everything in between and similar.

Essentially, if you are working on a project involving demolition works, you need to apply CDM.

But what if the work will last less than 30 days? CDM still applies in full, the only thing that you may not need to do is notify the HSE (if also under 500 person days). All other duties need to be complied with.

This includes the appointment of the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer where there will be more than one contractor involved on the project (including subcontractors).

A construction phase plan will need to be produced by the Principal Contractor (or contractor if only one) and the pre-construction information will need to be provided from the Client.

Of course, contractors are going to need pre-construction information such as the location of any hazardous materials like asbestos and the presence of any services, particularly underground that may not be immediately obvious.

In fact, in addition to the usual CDM requirements, the regulations have a little something extra to say about demolition work, tucked away in Part 4.

Demolition or dismantling

20.—(1) The demolition or dismantling of a structure must be planned and carried out in such a manner as to prevent danger or, where it is not practicable to prevent it, to reduce danger to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

(2) The arrangements for carrying out such demolition or dismantling must be recorded in writing before the demolition or dismantling work begins.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Nothing especially exciting here, and the first statement fits in well with the normal health and safety requirements to risk assess and apply the principals of prevention.

However, there is a specific requirement to record a demolition plan in writing prior to starting any demolition or dismantling works.

It is clear when looking through the CDM regulations, that demolition work comes well within the scope. This makes sense, since demolition work is one of the highest risk activities in construction.

No matter the size or duration of the project, or what type of structure, yes, CDM 2015 does apply in full to demolition works.

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