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CDM Approved Code of Practice (ACoP)


This topic relates to the CDM 2007 regulations which were revoked when CDM 2015 came into force on 6th April 2015.

Please see Guidance on CDM 2015 for CDM 2015 related information.


The HSE's Approved Code of Practice (ACoP), L144, Managing Health and Safety in Construction, gives practical advice on how the law is to be complied with. It states that if you follow the advice given you will be doing enough to comply with the law as far as the CDM regulations are concerned. If you are prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Approved Code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a Court will find you at fault.

The ACoP came into force in April 2007. This edition is a complete re-write from the original and revised ACoP's that were written for the CDM regulations 1994. The notes you are reading have been updated to accommodate the HSE's changes to both format and content. These changes are significant and should be read in conjunction with the HSE document.

The ACoP, which includes the text of the CDM Regulations 2007, is available to view, purchase or download from:

The ACoP content is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Application of the Regulations
  • Definitions
  • Notification
  • Co-ordination and Co-operation
  • Taking Account of the General Principles of Prevention
  • Summary of the Duties under the Regulations
  • Chapter 1: Clients
    • Who are clients?
    • What clients must do for all projects
    • Additional things clients must do for notifiable projects
    • Completion and handover (All projects)
    • What clients don't have to do
  • Chapter 2: The CDM co-ordinator (Notifiable projects only)
    • Appointing the CDM co-ordinator
    • What CDM co-ordinators should do
    • The CDM co-ordinator and the construction phase
    • Health and safety file
    • What CDM co-ordinators don't have to do
  • Chapter 3: Designers
    • What designers should do for all projects
    • Making clients aware of their responsibilities
    • Preparing a design
    • Providing information
    • Co-operation
    • Additional duties where the project is notifiable
    • What designers don't have to do
  • Chapter 4: The principal contractor (Notifiable projects only)
    • What principal contractors must do
    • Co-operation and co-ordination
    • How many principal contractors can there be for each project?
    • Planning and managing health and safety in the construction phase
    • Controlling access onto sites
    • Site induction, training and information
    • What principal contractors don't have to do
  • Chapter 5: Contractors and the self-employed
    • What contractors must do on all projects
    • Planning and managing construction work
    • Site induction, information and training
    • Additional duties for notifiable projects
  • Chapter 6: Competence and training
    • How to assess the competence of organisations
    • How to assess the competence of individuals
    • Assessing the competence of individual designers and CDM co-ordinators
  • Chapter 7: Worker engagement and communication
    • What you are required to do for all projects
    • Additional arrangements for notifiable projects
  • Chapter 8: The health and safety file (Notifiable projects only)
    • What you must do
    • The contents of the health and safety file
  • Appendix 1: The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
  • Appendix 2: Pre-construction information
  • Appendix 3: Construction phase plan
  • Appendix 4: Competence
  • Appendix 5: Guidance on assessing competence of a CDM co-ordinator for a larger or more complex project, or one with high or unusual risks
  • Appendix 6: Development of competence - timeline for an unskilled construction worker
  • Appendix 7: The principles of prevention

What the ACoP 2007 Says

The revised and completely re-presented ACoP has been written to complement the CDM regulations 2007. It states in the introduction that the key aim of CDM 2007 is to integrate health and safety into the management of the project and to encourage everyone involved to work together to:

  • Improve planning and management of projects from the beginning
  • Identify risks early so they can be eliminated or reduced at the design or planning stage and the remaining risks can be properly managed
  • Target health and safety effort to where it can do the most good
  • Avoid unnecessary bureaucracy (Manage the risks not the paperwork)

The regulations are intended to focus attention on planning and management and to ensure that health and safety considerations are treated as an essential part of the project and not an afterthought or bolt on extra.

The effort invested in planning and managing health and safety should be proportionate to the risks and complexity of the project. All focus should be on the actions necessary to reduce and manage risk. Unnecessary paperwork which adds little to risk management can be a dangerous distraction from the real business of risk reduction and management.

Application of the Regulations

The regulations are divided into 5 parts;

  1. Part 1 deals with matters of interpretation and application.
  2. Part 2 covers general management duties which apply to all construction projects including those which are non notifiable.
  3. Part 3 sets out additional management duties which apply to notifiable projects (projects where the construction phase has a total duration of more than 30 working days or the construction processes involves more than 500 person days or shifts.)
  4. Part 4 of the regulations apply to all construction work carried out on construction sites, and covers physical safeguards which need to be provided to prevent danger. Previously contained within the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996, which were revoked by CDM2007.
  5. Part 5 of the regulations covers issues of civil liability; transitional provisions which will apply during the period when the regulations come into force, and amendments and revocations of other legislation.

Definition of Construction Work in the CDM Regulations 2007

The carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes:

  • the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure;
  • the preparation for an intended structure, including site clearance, exploration, investigation (but not site survey) and excavation, and the clearance or preparation of the site or structure for use or occupation at its conclusion;
  • the assembly of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly of prefabricated elements which, immediately before such disassembly, formed a structure; the removal of a structure or of any product or waste resulting from demolition or dismantling of a structure or from disassembly of prefabricated elements which immediately before such disassembly formed such a structure; and
  • the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure;

but does not include the exploration for or extraction of mineral resources or activities preparatory thereto carried out at a place where such exploration or extraction is carried out.

Construction work is performed on structures, which are also defined by the Regulations as:

  • Any building, timber, masonry, metal or reinforced concrete structure, railway line or siding, tramway line, dock, harbour, inland navigation, tunnel, shaft, bridge, viaduct, waterworks, reservoir, pipe or pipeline, cable, aqueduct, sewer, sewage works, gasholder, road, airfield, sea defence works, river works, drainage works, earthworks, lagoon, dam, wall, caisson, mast, tower, pylon, underground tank, earth retaining structure, or structure designed to preserve or alter any natural feature, fixed plant and any other structure similar to the foregoing;
  • Any formwork, falsework, scaffold or other structure designed or used to provide support or means of access during construction work.

The following are not defined as construction work within the ACoP:

  • Putting up and taking down of marquees/tents designed to be re erected at various locations
  • Tree planting and general horticultural work
  • General maintenance of fixed plant (except when part of other construction work or when involving substantial dismantling or alteration of fixed plant which is large enough to be a structure in its own right for example structural alteration of a large silo complex, chemical plant; power station generator or large boiler
  • Positioning and removal of lightweight movable partitions, such as those to divide open plan offices or create exhibition stands or displays
  • Work to or on vessels such as ships and mobile offshore installations
  • Surveying- this includes taking levels, making measurements and examining a structure for faults
  • Off site manufacture of items for later use in construction work
  • Fabrication of elements which will form parts of offshore installations
  • The construction of fixed of offshore oil and gas installations at the place where they will be used

If the construction work involves some of the above, the overlap between the construction and non construction work should be addressed in the management arrangements and the construction phase plan.

Co-ordination and Co-operation

Even if a project is not notifiable there is a requirement in regulations 5 & 6 for co-operation and co-ordination between all members of the project team.

Paragraph 21 of the ACoP states that if the risk is medium to high for example where the work involves the following;

  • Structural alterations;
  • Deep excavations and those in unstable and contaminated ground;
  • Unusual working methods or safeguards;
  • Ionising radiation or other significant health hazards;
  • Nearby high voltage power lines;
  • Risk of falling into water which is, or may become fast flowing;
  • Diving;
  • Explosives;
  • Heavy or complex lifting operations;

then something closer to the construction phase plan will be needed.

When carrying out demolition, regulation 29 requires those in control of the work to produce a written plan showing how danger will be prevented.