CDM 2015 Regulations Explained for Domestic Building Clients

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CDM 2015 Regulations Explained for Domestic Building Clients

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations are intended to ensure the maximum possible safety of all construction projects. A UK statutory instrument introduced in 2015 by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), they update the CDM Regs of 2007. These regulations cover all aspects of construction, from planning and design to building and legislation. The HSE portal offers a wealth of information on the CDM 2015 Regs and any amendments to them.

Who’s responsible?

In general, the Regulations divide the responsibilities for construction safety into various categories of duty holders, as follows.

domestic clients
commercial clients

sole designers
principal designers

sole contractors
principal contractors


Sub-division into sole and principal categories depends largely on the scale of the job. Most domestic building projects, for example, will be the responsibility of one contractor, whereas a large commercial operation may require a principal designer or contractor to be responsible for a number of others. These categories make it clear exactly who is responsible for what in the building process, and what specific duties are allocated to each contributing sector.

Domestic building clients

You’ll be categorised as a domestic client if you decide to carry out any building work on your own home that is wholly unrelated to any business you may have. This also applies to works carried out on any other domestic property inhabited by yourself or a family member.

For domestic building clients, this means that the duty holder under the CDM Regulations is the one physically doing the construction. In the case of minor projects such as repairs or renovations, the homeowner may well carry out the works personally, and is therefore responsible for the safety of the project. For larger projects, it’s usual for the homeowner to delegate the CDM duty of care to a building contractor, generally a sole contractor, who will then have the duty of care for the construction.

The term ‘construction or building works’ under the CDM Regulations is an umbrella term that embraces any kind of building activity, including repairs and maintenance, refurbishment, conversions, extensions and demolition, as well as new build projects. Free guidance on various aspects of the construction process is offered to clients by the HSE.

Delegating duty of care

If the project is a more complex one, then there may be a principal contractor who will be responsible for sub-contracting parts of the work. However, it is also open to a domestic client to pass the CDM responsibilities on to a principal designer, rather than a contractor, if they choose to do so. If this is the case, a written agreement will need to be drawn up with the principal designer, naming them as the official duty holder and giving them permission to carry out the required CDM duties on the client’s behalf.

If you’re considering some domestic building works and find yourself in this position, at WSS, we offer a full range of CDM Support services. We can assist you in making the necessary arrangements.

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