CDM 2015 Duty Holder Guide
Client

cdm 2015 Client

CDM 2015 defines a client as anyone for whom a construction project is carried out. The regulations apply to both domestic and commercial clients, and all construction projects no matter who they are carried out for.

Commercial Clients: A commercial client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out in connection with a business, whether the business operates for profit or not. Examples of commercial clients are schools, retailers, landlords and developers. This guide is aimed at commercial clients.

Domestic Clients: You are a domestic client if you are having work carried out which is not connected with running a business. Usually, this means arranging for work to be carried out on the property where you or a family member lives. If you are a domestic client, some of the client duties will transfer to other members of the project team.


Pre-Construction

Appoint a principal designer

If more than one contractor will be working on your project you must appoint a principal designer. If you do not do this then you take on this role and associated legal duties yourself.

The principal designer manages health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project, and will liaise with the principal contractor and manage ongoing design work through the construction phase.

A principal designer is the designer with control over the pre-construction phase of the project. This is the very earliest stage of a project from concept design through to planning the delivery of the construction work.

The principal designer is an organisation (or on a smaller project they can be an individual) that has:

  1. Technical knowledge of the construction industry relevant to the project
  2. The understanding and skills to manage and coordinate the pre-construction phase, including any design work carried out after construction begins

The principal designer should be appointed as early as possible to help prepare and plan your project. They also have a range of duties to perform before work starts on site, and will help you comply with your client duties.

The principal designer will work with you to agree a format for the pre-construction and health and safety file CDM documents for the project.

The principal designer must be appointed in writing and it is important you keep a record of this appointment.

Prepare your client brief

You should prepare a client brief to explain your project requirements and to help carry out your duties under CDM. The client brief should outline your health and safety expectations, to set standards and communicate these to the project team.

The client brief is a way for you to share your expectations so that other duty holders can accommodate your requirements. It could be a verbal discussion but it is a good idea to put it in writing so that it may be referred back to as the project develops.

The client brief should include details of:

  • The reason for the project
  • The main function and operating requirements of the finished building or structure
  • Your expectations during the project
  • The design direction you have in mind
  • A single point of contact for client queries or discussions during the project
  • A realistic timeframe and budget

Don't forget to include your health and safety expectations in your client brief.

Appoint a principal contractor

If more than one contractor will be working on your project you must appoint a principal contractor in writing. If you do not do this then you take on this role and associated legal duties yourself.

The principal contractor manages the construction phase of a project. This involves liaising with the client and principal designer throughout the project, including during the pre-construction phase.

One of the main client duties is to ensure that those you appoint are able to demonstrate they can deliver the project for you safely and without damage to health.

The principal contractor (and any Contractors or Designers) you appoint should:

  • Have the necessary capabilities and resources
  • Have the right blend of skills, knowledge, training and experience
  • Understand their roles and responsibilities when carrying out the work

The principal contractor is the contractor in overall charge of the construction phase. The principal contractor is normally a contractor so will also have CDM contractor duties, however there should only be one principal contractor for a project at any one time.

The principal contractor must be capable of carrying out the role and have the right skills, knowledge, training and experience. This will depend upon the nature of the work and the range and nature of health and safety risks involved.

The principal contractor must be appointed in writing and it is important you keep a record of this appointment.

Provide project information

As the client, you must provide relevant information which you may already have, or that can be obtained by sensible enquiries, for example any surveys or the results of other investigations.

This pre-construction information is required on all projects. The client has the main duty for providing pre-construction information.

It is one of your client duties to provide this information, and you must provide pre-construction information as soon as is practicable to every designer and contractor appointed, or being considered for appointment.

On projects with more than on contractor, you will have appointed a principal designer who will assist with the production of the pre-construction information. You can expect to receive help from the principal designer in putting this information together as they have a duty to assist you in this.

Allow time and resources

Clients have a duty to allocate sufficient time and other resources. Even the simplest tasks, such as arranging routine maintenance or minor building work, require adequate time to plan and manage the work safely.

Create a schedule of of key activities for the project, and ensure that sufficient time is is allowed to complete the key activities.

There should be regular dialogue between the client, the principal designer and principal contractor to ensure they have the time and resources to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the pre-construction and construction phases.

Notify the HSE

Projects exceeding the notification thresholds must be notified to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The notification should be submitted as soon as practical before the construction phase begins.

The F10 notification form is a form that must be submitted to the HSE for all notifiable projects.

The notification thresholds are where the project will:

  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

You can use our free CDM notification calculator to find out if your project is notifiable.

All duties under CDM 2015 apply regardless of whether the project is notifiable or not.


Construction

Check the construction phase plan

All construction projects must have a construction phase plan in place before works commence, and the client has a duty to check that this document has been developed.

The principal contractor is responsible for creating the construction phase plan on every project, regardless of size, nature or duration.

Where there is no principal contractor (because there is only one contractor appointed), then the sole contractor must produce the construction phase plan for the project.

The construction phase plan outlines the health and safety arrangements for the project including site rules and specific health and safety measures concerning the work.

You must ensure that the construction phase plan has been prepared for the project before the construction phase begins.

Check the welfare facilities

All construction project must have appropriate welfare facilities provided for those completing the works.

It is the principal contractors duty to ensure that suitable and sufficient welfare facilities are provided and maintained on site. However, the client has a duty to ensure that the required welfare facilities are provided on site.

You should check that they are in place from the very start of the site work, you can do this by:

  • Agreeing that your existing welfare facilities are made available to those carrying out the work
  • Carrying out a site visit
  • Asking for confirmation from the principal contractor what facilities are being provided

You are not required to provide the welfare facilities, but you do need to ensure that welfare facilities are being provided.

Check principal designer duties

The client must take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal designer complies with their duties under CDM 2015.

You must ensure that the arrangements made for managing health and safety during the pre-construction phase are working successfully.

You should satisfy yourself that the principal designer is complying with their own CDM duties. Progress meetings provide a good way of ensuring the project runs in line with your expectations and complies with CDM requirements.

This could also take place through site visits or inspections, documentation or records and verbal or via written updates.

Check principal contractor duties

The client must take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor complies with their duties under CDM 2015.

You must ensure that the arrangements made for managing health and safety during the pre-construction phase are working successfully.

You should satisfy yourself that the principal contractor is complying with their own CDM duties. Progress meetings provide a good way of ensuring the project runs in line with your expectations and complies with CDM requirements.

This could also take place through site visits or inspections, documentation or records and verbal or via written updates.

Completion & handover arrangements

Part of the clients duties includes the need to make suitable arrangements for managing a project, and this includes completion and handover.

Completion and handover arrangements are important to ensure that all parts of the structure are safe for occupation and ready to be used.

This could include a phased handover, such as you taking partial possession of finished parts of the building and checking that agreed measures are in place to ensure the health of safety of those in the areas that have been handed over.

Suitable arrangements for commissioning the new building and equipment and any associated training or handover of information for operation and maintenance should be included in the completion and handover arrangements.


Post-Construction

Check the health and safety file

At the end of the project, the principal designer will provide you with the health and safety file. On projects where the principal designer’s role has finished before the end of the project, the principal contractor will have taken on responsibility for the file and for handing it over to you.

You must ensure you receive a copy of the health and safety file.

The health and safety file is only required on projects with more than one contractor, as it is the principal designers duty to develop the file.

The health and safety file contains the information needed to ensure the health and safety of anyone carrying out future construction, demolition, cleaning or maintenance work on the building or structure.

Before it is provided on project completion, the health and safety file should have been reviewed and updated to ensure it contains all the necessary information. You may wish to ask for an explanation of what the completed file contains, such as any key risks that need to be managed in the future.

Maintain the health and safety file

The client or owner of the building must keep a copy of the health and safety file and it should be made available to anyone who may need information from it.

The health and safety file could be kept in electronic or hard copy format.

The health and safety file should be kept separate from other building information to avoid misplacing or losing information that may be needed quickly.

If responsibility for the building or structure is passed on or shared, a copy of the health and safety file must be given to each new owner and made available to leaseholders. They must be made aware of the nature and purpose of the file.

Get all the documents in this guide plus CDM training in the CDM Client Pack.