project management – your guide to CDM – client responsibilities

When planning to extend, build or demolish buildings, including machinery modifications and installations, building works, civil and engineering works – the Construction (Design and Management) [CDM] Regulations 2015 place legal and specific duties on you and almost everyone involved in the project.

The Regulations are designed to improve the health and safety of the construction industry, an industry that is still one of the most dangerous to work in. Like many regulations, they are complex, require compliance and are legally binding.

roles and responsibilities


principal designer

The principal designer must be a qualified designer and take control of the pre-construction phase of the construction project.

The principal designer plans, monitors, manages and coordinates the health and safety in the preconstruction phase of a construction project. The role of principal designer extends to the construction phase through the principal designer’s duties to liaise with the Principal Contractor and ongoing design work.


For commercial projects the Client can be a person or an organisation where a construction project is carried out for a business.

The Client’s role is a pivotal one and must ensure suitable arrangements for managing the construction project are in place so that it is arranged and carried out from start to finish in a controlled, compliant and legal manner with due consideration to the health and safety of those involved.

principal contractor

The Principal Contractor is the Client appointed contractor in overall control of the construction phase on projects with more than one contractor.

The Principal Contractor plans, monitors, manages and coordinates the construction phase of a project. This involves liaising with the Client and the principal designer throughout the construction project, including during the pre-construction phase and coordination all of the works and site personnel.

An extension, building or demolition project often encompasses an array of people from many different disciplines – the CDM Regulations form a vital role in the integration of all their skills and services from the planning and design stages through the management and contractual stages, to the construction and final completion stages of the project.