project management – your guide to CDM – what needs to happen

For all projects both non-notifiable and notifiable there are key actions that the Client must ensure need to happen.

Non-notifiable Projects

Appoint the right people
Competent CDM Principal Designer and Principal Contractor results in you getting what you want within budget with the work carried out safely.

Allow adequate time
Allow enough time for the design, planning and construction phases of the work to be undertaken properly – a rushed project is likely to be unsafe, of poor quality and may cost more in the long run.

Provide information to your team
To help your team to plan, budget and work around potential problems it is important that you pass on key information about what you want, how you will use it, the site and existing structures or hazards.

Ensure you and your team communicate and co-operate
For an efficient project, discuss issues affecting the ability to build, usage and maintenance of the finished structure with your team. This promotes safe working practices and eliminates unexpected costs because issues were not properly considered.

Ensure suitable management arrangements are in place
A CDM Principal Designer and Principal Contractor will ensure that suitable management arrangements are in place for complex and high risk activities to be carried out safely throughout the whole project.

Ensure adequate welfare facilities on site
Adequate welfare facilities for construction workers need to be in place right from the start of the project before work starts.

Ensure workplaces are designed correctly
Your designer needs to ensure that if your project is for a new workplace or alterations to an existing workplace (e.g. a factory or office), they must meet the standards set out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Notifiable Projects

For notifiable projects, you as the Client have to do the following…

Appoint a CDM Principal Designer
Your CDM Principal Designer is there to advise and assist you with your CDM duties on notifiable projects.

They will:

  • Advise you about selecting competent designers and contractors
  • Help identify what information will be needed by designers and contractors
  • Coordinate the arrangements for health and safety during the planning phase
  • Ensure that HSE is notified of the project
  • Tell you if the initial construction phase plan is suitable
  • Prepare and maintain a health and safety file for your future use

You should appoint the CDM Principal Designer as soon as possible, but no later than the initial design/preparation stage.

Appoint a CDM Principal Contractor
Where there will be more than one contractor working on the construction project in addition to the Principal Designer, a Principal Contractor will also be required.

The Principal Contractor is there to plan, manage and coordinate work while construction work is being carried out on notifiable projects. They are usually the main or managing contractor for the work.

To ensure that the Principal Contractor is involved in initial discussions about issues affecting the ability to build, usage and maintenance of the finished structure, it is wise to appoint them at the earliest opportunity.

Ensure a health and safety plan is in place
Work should not start onsite until there is an adequate plan produced for the construction phase health and safety – this is carried out by the Principal Contractor outlining the key arrangements to ensure that the work is carried out safely.

Keep the health and safety file
The CDM Principal Designer will prepare and maintain a health and safety file during the course of the project and will pass this on to you at the end of the project.

The file is a record of useful health and safety information and will help you manage health and safety risks during any future maintenance, repair, construction work or demolition. The file needs to be kept safe, made available to anyone who needs to alter or maintain the building and updated if circumstances change.