Last edited 08 Oct 2020

CDM 2007 Health and safety file

The CDM regulations were revised in 2015 and this article is no longer current. It is provided here for historical reference only.

For information about the CDM 2015 health and safety file, see Health and safety file.

On projects that are notifiable to the HSE, (that is, the works are likely to last longer than 30 days or involve more than 500 person days of construction), the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM regulations) require that the CDM co-ordinator:

'...prepare, where none exists, and otherwise review and update a record (“the health and safety file”) containing information relating to the project which is likely to be needed during any subsequent construction work to ensure the health and safety of any person, including the information provided in pursuance of regulations 17(1), 18(2) and 22(1)(j).',

At the end of the construction phase, the CDM co-ordinator must pass the health and safety file to the client (NB where there is partial possession or sectional completion of the works, the health and safety file may be required before all the works are complete in order to inform ongoing work).

Before work starts on site the CDM co-ordinator should discuss with the client the scope, format, structure and content of the health and safety file, as well as who should provide information, and when. There may be separate files for different premises, or one overall file, and the file can be combined with the building log book, or building owner's manual. However, the health and safety information must be easy to find, if a file is created that simply contains all information about the building then genuinely important safety issues may be overlooked.

The health and safety file need only include information important to enable future construction work to be carried out safely (including cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment, alterations and eventual demolition). It should contain content that is useful and it should be in proportion to the risks involved in the project.

It does not need to include information about the construction process (which may be included in the construction phase plan), unless it may affect future works. It does not need to include contractual information, pre-construction information or information about the normal operation of the completed structure (which may be included in the building owners manual or the building log book, ref Managing health and safety in construction, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, Approved Code of Practice page 60).

The contents of the health and safety will vary depending on the nature of the works being carried out, however, it may contain:

The health and safety file must be kept up to date, and clients must ensure that the file is available for inspection in the event future work. If work is done to premises where a health and safety file already exists, the health and safety file should be updated if necessary (and any gaps filled), even if the work is not notifiable.

The health and safety file is normally kept for the lifetime of the building, meaning that it should be passed on to the new owners if the building is sold, and the new owners should be informed of its purpose and importance.

There are no restrictions to the format that it has to be kept in, but it would be wise to ensure it is backed up.

If the premises, or part of it are leased, then the health and safety file to must be made available to the leaseholder. If there are multiple leaseholders, then those parts of the health and safety file relevant to the part of the building leased by each leaseholder must be made available to them. In multi-occupancy situations, for example where a housing association owns a block of flats, the owner should keep and maintain the file, but ensure that individual flat occupiers are supplied with health and safety information concerning their home.

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