Last edited 15 Apr 2015

CDM 2015 designer duties

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (the ‘CDM Regulations’) are intended to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development so that the risk of harm to those who have to build, use and maintain structures is reduced. They were introduced in 1994 and revised in 2007. A further revision came into force on 6 April 2015.

The 2015 CDM regulations include duties for:

The duties of designers have changed slightly from the 2007 regulations.

Designers are defined in the 2015 CDM Regulations as ‘…an organisation or individual, who prepares or modifes a design for a construction project (including the design of temporary works); or arranges for, or instruct someone else to do so.’

Designs include drawings, design details, specifications, bills of quantity and calculations.

Designers include architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, interior designers, surveyors, technicians or anyone who specifies or alters a design. This can include contractors, principal contractors, specialist contractors, and commercial clients who become actively involved in design. It also includes those who select products for use in construction, and if a product is purpose-built, those who prepare the specification and manufacturers if they develop a detailed design.

Designers must be provided with pre-construction information by the client or by the principal designer where one is required. The principal designer has responsibility for co-ordination of health and safety during the pre-construction phase. They are appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. Pre-construction information is information in the client’s possession or information which is reasonably obtainable by or on behalf of the client, which is relevant to the construction work.

The designer’s duties apply as soon as designs are prepared which may be used in construction work, including concept design, competitions, bids for grants, modification of existing designs and relevant work carried out as part of feasibility studies.

The duties of designers include:

  • Ensuring they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience.
  • Not commencing work unless they are satisfied that the client is aware of their duties under the regulations.
  • Cooperating with others involved with the project or any project on an adjoining site.
  • Reporting instances where they or others are working in a way that puts them or anyone else in danger.
  • Providing information to other members of the project team to help them fulfil their duties.
  • Taking account of the general principles of prevention and the pre-construction information, with the aim of eliminating foreseeable risks. Where this is not possible, taking steps to reduce the risks or control them through the design process, and providing information about the remaining risks to other dutyholders.
  • Where it is not possible to eliminate health and safety risks when preparing or modifying designs, designers must ensure appropriate information is included in the health and safety file about the reasonably practicable steps they have taken to reduce or control those risks.
  • Agreeing with the principal designer the arrangements for the sharing of information to avoid omissions or duplicated effort.
  • Ensuring that any information they provide is easy to understand and provided in good time.

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