Do I need a CDM consultant?

CDM Regulations are an essential to the safe management of a construction project, however they are often a source of confusion for clients. Many companies covered by CDM do not consider themselves part of the construction industry and are not always aware that they have obligations as duty holders.

A CDM consultant can play a useful role in helping to interpret the rules and responsibilities of each duty holder but it’s important to understand their limitations and make sure the consultant has the relevant skills and experience to carry out the role.

In this article we’re explaining:

  • What is CDM?
  • CDM duty holders
  • The pros and cons of employing a CDM consultant
  • How we can help

What is CDM?

CDM Regulations, or Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, outline the health, safety and welfare duties legally required for people involved in a construction project. They apply to all construction work, including new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, repair and maintenance.

Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries to work in and encompasses an array of people from different disciplines. CDM Regulations form a vital role in integrating their skills and services from initial planning and design stages, right through to construction and completion.

CDM 2015 outlines the following duty holders:

  • Client – the person/business commissioning the project. While they aren’t responsible for managing the project itself, they still have important responsibilities
  • Principal Designer – required on all projects where there is more than one contractor. PDs are responsible for the pre-construction phase of the project
  • Principal Contractor – required when there is more than one contractor working on a construction project and responsible for overseeing the construction phase

CDM 2015 duty holders – what’s the difference?

What’s the problem with CDM consultants? 

A CDM consultant can be a useful source of information and support in helping you comply with your CDM responsibilities as a duty holder. However, it’s important to be careful when employing one.

In the previous version of the CDM regulations (CDM 2007), there was a designated CDM Co-ordinator role (CDM-C). This role was designed to be independent and filled by someone who had the knowledge and experience to co-ordinate safety considerations.

However, external consultants quickly identified the CDM-C role as an opportunity to make money which weakened its accountability and had a negative impact on the safety of projects.

As a result, the CDM-C role was removed from CDM 2015 and replaced with the Principal Designer role. This was intended to make the client more accountable and improve the overall safety of works.

External CDM consultants still exist, despite no longer having a formal role within the regulations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does mean there is a risk of clients employing them and relying on their guidance without them offering any level of responsibility or liability.


  • Can advise your project team on their responsibilities as duty holders
  • Offer assistance with preparation of health and safety files and construction phase plans
  • Can oversee documentation to ensure it is correct


  • No real responsibilities under CDM 2015 – i.e. not a recognised role
  • Have no liability if something goes wrong
  • Not required to have adequate skills, knowledge, training and experience (SKATE)


guide to dry filtration systems

How FEG can help

Often, the client is best placed take on all three duties and could be deemed by HSE to be responsible for them – particularly in production-based projects using overseas contractors and equipment.

This is because the overall process specification and design is ultimately overseen by the client. Installation involves complete interaction with normal factory life and adherence to site rules, contractor protocols and safety documents are usually absorbed into existing systems and training arrangements. In live factories where the existing site protocols have to be followed and control of access, contractors and liaising with the workforce is critical, the client will essentially be controlling the duties anyway.

However, we know many clients are concerned about taking on Principal Contractor and Designer role and we are happy to offer support in these areas to help you meet your obligations.

Remember, the guidelines dictate that whoever is appointed the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer roles must have the adequate skills, knowledge, training and experience (SKATE) to carry out the role.

At FEG, we have worked on numerous projects carrying out Principal Contractor duties across multiple sectors and have the technical skills and experience required to ensure the risks and safety of your project are managed in accordance with CDM 2015 Regulations. This means we are qualified to act as Principal Contractor and Designer, as well as offering the traditional consultancy that a CDM consultant can provide.

While we can’t take away from your responsibilities as a duty holder, we can provide support and guidance, giving you peace of mind that you are being supported by a qualified and experienced team.

Our qualifications and experience include:
Featured Project
£650k CDM project for General Mills

FEG managed the multi function project team, provided site management, liaised with business neighbours and the local authority to ensure the project was completed on time and budget under CDM regulations.

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Looking for a CDM consultant? We can provide the right level of technical expertise and experience required for your CDM 2015 project.