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Guidance on CDM 2015

CDM (GB) Knowledge Base


The HSE's guidance on CDM2015, L153, "Guidance on The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015", gives 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 guidance, 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 new regulations come into force on 6th April 2015. This edition is a complete re-write from the original and revised ACoP's that were written for the CDM regulations 2007. 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 guidance, which includes the text of the CDM Regulations 2015, is available to view, purchase or download from:

The guidance content is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 - Commencement, interpretation and application
    • Regulation 1 Citation and commencement
    • Regulation 2 Interpretation
    • Regulation 3 Application in and outside Great Britain
  • Part 2 - Client duties
    • Regulation 4 Client duties in relation to managing projects
    • Regulation 5 Appointment of the principal designer and the principal contractor
    • Regulation 6 Notification
    • Regulation 7 Application to domestic clients
  • Part 3 - Health & Safety Duties and Roles
    • Regulation 8 General duties
    • Regulation 9 Duties of designers
    • Regulation 10 Designs prepared or modified outside Great Britain
    • Regulation 11 Duties of a principal designer in relation to health and safety at the pre-construction phase
    • Regulation 12 Construction phase plan and health and safety file
    • Regulation 13 Duties of a principal contractor in relation to health and safety at the construction phase
    • Regulation 14 Principal contractor's duties to consult and engage with workers
    • Regulation 15 Duties of contractors
  • Part 4 - General requirements for all construction sites
    • Regulation 16 Application of Part 4
    • Regulation 17 Safe places of construction work
    • Regulation 18 Good order and site security
    • Regulation 19 Stability of structures
    • Regulation 20 Demolition or dismantling
    • Regulation 21 Explosives
    • Regulation 22 Excavations
    • Regulation 23 Cofferdams and caissons
    • Regulation 24 Reports of inspections
    • Regulation 25 Energy distribution installations
    • Regulation 26 Prevention of drowning
    • Regulation 27 Traffic routes
    • Regulation 28 Vehicles
    • Regulation 29 Prevention of risk from fire, flooding or asphyxiation
    • Regulation 30 Emergency procedures
    • Regulation 31 Emergency routes and exits
    • Regulation 32 Fire detection and fire-fighting
    • Regulation 33 Fresh air
    • Regulation 34 Temperature and weather protection
    • Regulation 35 Lighting
  • Part 5 - General
    • Regulation 36 Enforcement in respect of fire
    • Regulation 37 Transitional and saving provisions
    • Regulation 38 Revocation and consequential amendments
    • Regulation 39 Review
  • Schedule 1 Particulars to be notified under regulation 6
  • Schedule 2 Minimum welfare facilities required for construction
  • Schedule 3 Work involving particular risks
  • Schedule 4 Transitional and saving provisions
  • Schedule 5 Amendments
  • Appendix 1 The general principles of prevention
  • Appendix 2 Pre-construction information
  • Appendix 3 Construction phase plan
  • Appendix 4 Health and safety file
  • Appendix 5 Working for domestic clients
  • Glossary of acronyms and terms
  • References
  • Further reading

What the CDM2015 Guidance Says

The CDM2015 guidance has been revised and completely re-presented to complement the CDM regulations 2015. The guidance is for those who have legal duties under CDM 2015. It explains what they must or should do to comply with the law. Any actions required should always be proportionate to the risks in the construction project.

The requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) are clearly defined. These Regulations govern the management of health, safety and welfare when undertaking construction projects. Subject to some transitional provisions which have now elapsed (see paragraphs 181-186), CDM 2015 replaces CDM 2007 from 6 April 2015. From this date, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) - L144 - which provided supporting guidance on CDM 2007 is withdrawn. The aims of the CDM regulations are 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 citation and commencement as well as interpretation of the regulations and their application outside Great Britain.
  2. Part 2 covers the Client duties in relation to managing projects, the appointment of the principal designer and the principal contractor, notification of projects and application to domestic clients.
  3. Part 3 sets out general duties for CDM projects as well as the more specific duties for Contractors / Principal Contractors and Designers / Principal Designers.
  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.
  5. Part 5 of the regulations covers Enforcement in respect of fire, transitional and saving provisions and revocation and consequential amendments.

Definition of Construction Work in the CDM Regulations 2015

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.

For more information regarding how you should manage types of work refer to Part 4 of the CDM2015 guidance (free from HSE Books).

Co-ordination and Co-operation

On all CDM projects there is a requirement for all parties to facilitate co-operation and co-ordination between all members of the project team.

Part 4 of the CDM2015 regulations lists specifics in regard to types of work, in particular medium-high risk works that include:-

  • 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;

If demolition or dismantling involved on the project regulation 20 states:-

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

In all cases the provision of a suitable construction phase plan will be required.