21st May, 2020

Does CDM Apply To Non-Notifiable Projects?

A question we often get asked is whether the CDM regulations apply to none notifiable projects. Construction projects that do not meet the CDM notification thresholds do not need to be notified to the HSE and are often referred to as non-notifiable. But what does that mean for the CDM regulations?

Does CDM Apply To Non-Notifiable Projects? header image

A question we often get asked is whether the CDM regulations apply to non-notifiable projects. Construction projects that do not meet the CDM notification thresholds do not need to be notified to the HSE and are often referred to as non-notifiable.

And, if you don't want to read the rest of this post, the quick answer is yes. CDM still applies to non-notifiable projects.

So what does non-notifiable mean for the CDM regulations? Well, the CDM regulations apply to every construction project, regardless of size or duration. But you don't need to submit a notification to tell the HSE about certain smaller projects if they don't meet the notification thresholds under CDM.

6.—(1) A project is notifiable if the construction work on a construction site is scheduled to—

  1. last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  2. exceed 500 person days.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Notification

For more information on calculating the notification thresholds, read how to calculate if your construction project is CDM notifiable.

If the project does not meet the notification thresholds, does CDM apply at all? If a construction project is non-notifiable under CDM, it means you don't need to notify the HSE about the project. And under the current version of CDM (2015), that is literally all it means. Other than not needing to notify the HSE, all of CDM applies in full.

In the past, under previous versions of the regulations, non-notifiable projects were treated differently to notifiable projects under CDM. The term non-notifiable actually originates from the 1994 and 2007 versions of the CDM regulations. Under those older regulations, knowing if a project was notifiable changed who you needed to appoint, and what they needed to do.

This is an important difference from the previous 2007 version of the regulations. While CDM would still apply, there were some exemptions for non-notifiable projects. For example, a construction phase plan did not need to produced and the roles of the CDM coordinator and the principal contractor did not need to be appointed.

But that was the old version of CDM.

Under the current CDM 2015 version of the regulations, the construction phase plan needs to be produced on every project, regardless of size, duration, or notification status.

principal contractor
You still need to make appointments on non-notifiable projects

Under CDM 2015, you must appoint a principal contractor on every project with more than one contractor (including subcontractors) even if it’s just for one day. The same applies to the principal designer role.

The only duty you don’t need to carry out if the project is under the notification thresholds is that you don’t need to notify the HSE. And that's the only thing that changes from a notifiable project to a non-notifiable project.

  1. Where a project is notifiable, the client must give notice in writing to the Executive as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins.
  2. The notice must—
    1. contain the particulars specified in Schedule 1;
    2. be clearly displayed in the construction site office in a comprehensible form where it can be read by any worker engaged in the construction work; and
    3. if necessary, be periodically updated.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Notification

So, on a non-notifiable project, the notice does not need to be issued to the HSE, and the notification does not need to be displayed or updated.

electrician
Smaller projects still have risks

But everything else still applies. Because smaller projects still carry risk. Just because a project takes a week rather than a month, doesn't mean high-risk construction work won't take place. Some construction projects might only take a couple of hours, but can still be deadly. So in all cases, you need to apply CDM and plan how you can carry out the work safely, and without risk to health.

It's also important to note here that just because you are not notifying the HSE about the project, doesn't mean they won't inspect your site and check that your work is safe. HSE inspectors have the powers to inspect any site, whether they have been notified or not. And failing to comply with CDM can lead to enforcement, fines and even prison time.

If you are unsure of the notification thresholds (and they have changed slightly in the current 2015 version of the regulations), check out our blog post on how to calculate if your construction project is CDM notifiable. Or you can use our free CDM notification calculator.

But remember, even if your project is non-notifiable, other than regulation 6 (notification), CDM will still apply.


Need help with CDM? Want to know what you need to do on your project? You can use the free CDM duty holder guides to get up to speed with all the requirements and use our free tools and resources to help.

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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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