CDM 2015 Regulations – Frequently asked questions

09 - CDM 2015 FAQIn this article, Mike Webster provides a summary of published discussions on key issues and answers to frequently asked questions relating to the CDM 2015 Regulations.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are the primary regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of all construction projects in Great Britain. CDM 2007 has been replaced, and CDM 2015 came into force on 6 April 2015.

Since CDM 2015 came into force, a range of organisations has published discussions on key issues and answers to frequently asked questions.  For ease of reference, we have collated these sources and provided links to them in this post.

Frequently asked questions and discussions

Beale and Company Solicitors LLP published a discussion of the Association of Project Safety Forms of Appointment and address a series of CDM 2015 frequently asked questions covering:

  • Do the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) apply to services carried out in Great Britain for a project overseas?
  • Are all the principal designer’s duties qualified?
  • Can the principal designer be novated to the contractor on a Design and Build (“D&B”) project?
  • Can consultants refuse to be appointed as principal designer?
  • Who can be a designer/principal designer under the CDM 2015?
  • Can you sub-contract the role of principal designer?

They also ran a webinar and published a set of slides covering:

  • Recent Developments – Possible Changes?
  • Who can be a Principal Designer?
  • Are the PD’s duties qualified?
  • CDM 2015 and Design and Build
  • Can you refuse to take on the PD role?
  • Can the PD role be sub-contracted?
  • PD and Construction Phase
  • Temporary works
  • CDM 2015 and Ground Investigation
  • What if a Designer appoints a Contractor?
  • Could there be two PDs/PCs on a site at the same time?
  • CDM and Contracts
  • Sentencing

Burges Salmon LLP published a discussion on the Lexology web site covering the following issues:

  • How much of the design is the principal designer responsible for?
  • How long is the “construction phase” and when do projects “come to an end”?
  • Alignment of CDM and contractual obligations

Fladgate LLP published a discussion covering the following issues:

  • Does the lead designer have to be the principal designer?
  • Does the lead designer automatically become the principal
  • Can there still be a CDM co-ordinator on a project?
  • Can CDM co-ordinators act as principal designers?

HSE provided answers to the following:

  • Does CDM 2015 apply to all maintenance work?
  • I have a term contract with a maintenance or FM contractor (Typically 1-3 years). Do I need to notify this as a project under CDM 2015?
  • How does CDM 2015 apply to Self Build projects?
  • What is the threshold for notification and what implications does it have for other duties under CDM 2015?
  • Can duty holders other than the client notify the project?
  • Why does the F10 have no facility for identifying persons other than the client as notifier?
  • Are ‘CDM Advisers’ required by CDM 2015?
  • What if a prospective Principal Designer does not possess all the requisite skills, knowledge and experience (SKE) to undertake health and safety coordination?
  • What should a construction client do if a prospective PD appointee intends to buy in health & safety coordination advice?
  • What if a construction client wishes to get CDM advice?
  • Is independent health and safety advice prohibited under CDM 2015?
  • What is the purpose of the principal designer?
  • Who can carry out the role of the principal designer?
  • Does CDM 2015 require the principal designer to be a member of the project design team?
  • Can a client carry out the role of the principal designer?
  • What if a domestic client fails to appoint a principal designer?
  • Is there a requirement to appoint a principal designer (PD) on a design and build (D&B) project?
  • What if the D&B contractor is the only contractor involved on the project?
  • Are there situations where there could be more than one PD appointed during a D&B project’s life?
  • If a D&B contractor takes over the PD role from A.N. Other, would they be responsible for ensuring the initial PD had met their duties under CDM?
  • Can a D&B contractor meet the requirements to be appointed as both PD and PC?
  • What if the D&B contractor refuses to take on the PD or PC role?

Thanks go to Philip Poynter for collating these into one document on his web site.

Some of these issues are discussed by Pinsent Masons LLP.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP published a discussion covering:

  • Who can be appointed as principal designer?

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has published the following amendment:

  • ACE Agreements 2009 Edition, Second Revision Amendment Sheet May 2015 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The Landscaping Institute has agreed its guidance with HSE and has  published the following amendments to accommodate CDM 2015:

  • JCLI Contracts Amendments: CDM Regulations 201

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the following briefing notes:

  • Briefing note 1 – Overview of the New Regulations
  • Briefing note 2 – The Principal Designer
  • Briefing note 3 – The Principal Designer Dispelling Myths

Osborne Clarke has published the following article in the IOSH magazine:

  • What repair and maintenance jobs fall under the new regulations? Fewer than we thought.

If you know of other discussions or FAQs published by reliable sources, and you think it would be useful to list them here, drop me a line at

Further information

A brief summary of eight key changes to the CDM 2015 Regulations from CDM 2007 and what those changes mean in practice is provided in this post.

A series of articles providing information on key issues regarding the CDM 2015 Principal Designer duties are collected together for ease of use in this post.

Detailed clause-by-clause comparisons of the changes between the CDM 2015 Regulations and CDM 2007 are available on the MPW R&R web site for Clients, Designers and Principal Contractors / Contractors.

I gave a 25-minute presentation at the Institution of Structural Engineers Small Practitioners Conference on 26 June 2018 on understanding the CDM 2015 Designer Duties as they relate to civil and structural engineers.  The video of my presentation and the accompanying slides are available in this post.

An overview of the issues involved in CDM 2015 Designer Duties – Designing for maintenance are discussed in this post and the guidance available to civil and structural engineers on contemporary industry practice is highlighted.

Permanent works designers may not be aware of the range of guidance available to help them consider temporary works in their designs.  To address that, this article provides an overview of the issues and signposts to the guidance available to civil and structural engineers, much of which is free to download.

The HSE web site contains a range of information on CDM 2015 including the guidance on the regulations, a short guide for clients and a guide on construction phase plans.

The CITB web site contains industry guidance for each of the duty holders.

About the author:

Dr Mike Webster is a chartered civil and structural engineer (FICE, FIStructE) with over 30 years’ experience.  He specialises in construction and structural safety, CDM and risk, and founded MPW R&R to provide Consulting, Forensic and Expert Witness services in those areas.

Mike has worked on the design, inspection, appraisal and site supervision of building, bridge and car park structures.  He has developed guidance for assessing the safety of existing structures.  Mike led an independent review of CDM 1994 and the independent evaluation of CDM 2007.  He also led the review of the use of CDM 2007 in the construction of London 2012.

Mike has been instructed as an expert witness by both defence and prosecution teams in cases involving allegations of gross negligence manslaughter, breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the CDM Regulations and the appeal of enforcement notices.  These cases have involved the construction, maintenance and demolition of a range of building, bridge and industrial structures.

Mike is the author of around 20 published reports and papers on construction health and safety and the CDM Regulations.  He is also the author of a range of articles on CDM 2015.   He is a member of Structural-Safety and the Institution of Structural Engineers Health and Safety Panel.

For more information email Mike at or give him a call on 07969 957471.



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