In 2015, several key changes were made to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, aiming to improve health and safety on construction sites across the UK. These regulations continue to apply to all types of construction work, and affect nearly all construction, engineering or development projects to date. Even though these regulations were implemented in 2015, it is important to remind your clients of these regulations, as disregarding them can result in costly consequences.

To summarise, the key changes introduced in the 2015 CDM regulations are:

1. Abolishing the role of the CDM Co-ordinator

A Principal Designer a new role is now to be appointed by the client instead of the pre-existing CDM Co-ordinator. A Principal Designer is required to plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of any project.

Design decisions in this pre-construction phase have significant influence in ensuring the health and safety wellbeing of everyone affected by the work, including the public. The Principal Designer must work with the appointed Principal Contractor to create and provide a health and safety file which is accessible to all.

2. The distinction between commercial and domestic clients

A domestic client is defined as an individual who has construction work carried out on their home, or the home of a family member, that is not done as part of any commercial business. Under the 2007 Regulations domestic clients were exempt but this exemption has now been removed. However, their individual burden is minimised, due to the regulations passing the health and safety duties to other parties – the contractor, principal contractor and principal designer. Domestic clients are still required to provide a safe site for construction workers to work on, but they have less legal responsibility as the contractor is required to take on the legal duties of both the client and the contractor.

3. No Approved Code of Practice

The 2007 Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) gave practical advice to clients and contractors on how to comply with the law with on a construction site. Following the advice given would ensure that construction workers were complying with the law as far as the CDM regulations were concerned. Therefore, if a company was prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it was evident that they did not follow the relevant provisions of the Approved Code, they would have to demonstrate that they had complied with the law in another way or the Court would have found them at fault. The ACOP was abolished because it was felt that this was too lengthy and difficult to follow. It has been replaced with the HSE Guidance L153.

The key area that these 2015 changes highlighted is that the legal responsibility of those working on construction sites has not only increased, but that the position has become significantly more unclear because the 2015 Regulations are not prescriptive which leaves things open to interpretation. A CDM 2015 survey published in May 2017 stated that only 24.5% were following the regulations correctly. Therefore, it is vital that your construction-based clients are aware of these regulations, and the laws that surround working on construction sites. Failing to do so can result in expensive court cases if companies are sued for negligence, and in the most extreme circumstances, can result in imprisonment if found guilty.

Irrespective of whether there is a court case involved, any breach is likely to involve the Health and Safety Executive. From 1stOctober 2012 the HSE introduced the Fee for Intervention to recoup the costs of carrying out its regulatory functions. They can now recover the costs of their investigation from the guilty party and such costs are not recoverable under standard policy cover.

For more information about the Construction (Design and Management) 2015 regulations, please visit the Health and Safety Executive website:

Miles Smith London Market Broking are able to provide quotations to cover the costs of Fee for Intervention (FFI), as an add-on when we are quoting the contractor’s liability policy. For more information, please contact:

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