The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 – are you ready?


The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 came into force on the 6th April 2015 replacing the 2007 version. These regulations put in place arrangements to manage risk to the health & safety of persons in carrying out maintenance, cleaning, use and future alteration of construction works.

All professionals involved in construction projects need to have at least a general awareness of the new regulations and need to act now to ensure compliance. The regulations are available from the UK Government website and guidance notes have been published by the HSE and CITB. Professional bodies such as ICE and RIAS are providing training programmes for their members, with amendments to standard forms of construction contracts expected to be published in due course.

CDM 2015 will have a broad application in terms of almost all construction projects, including residential, in Scotland, England and Wales and the project participants.


A project must be notified to the HSE before works commence if it will exceed 30 construction days with 20 or more workers working simultaneously or if the project exceeds 500 person days.


  • Projects that start after April 2015 will be required to follow the new CDM 2015 regulations.
  • For projects starting before 6th April 2015, if the construction phase of the project has not commenced and a CDM Co-Ordinator has not been appointed, a new Principal Designer must be appointed as soon as practicably possible.
  • For projects starting before 6th April 2015 where a CDM Co-Ordinator has already been appointed, a Principal Designer must be appointed to replace them by 6th October 2015, unless the project comes to an end before then.
  • There is a six month grace period during which transitional arrangements will apply in relation to projects commencing prior to 6th April 2015. 

Principal Designer (PD)

One significant change within the new regulations is the introduction of the role of “Principal Designer” for certain projects in place of the current CDM Co-Ordinator role. The CDM Co-Ordinator role was itself introduced under the 2007 regulations to replace the Planning Supervisor role.

The PD will be appointed by the client if more than one contractor is likely to work on a project. This is a change from the 2007 regulations which required a CDM Co-Ordinator if the project was notifiable.

Despite the name change the PD does not have the responsibility to design anything with their main duties defined by the CITB as:

  • assisting the client in identifying, obtaining and collating the pre-construction information
  • providing pre-construction information to designers, principal contractors and contractors
  • ensuring designers comply with their duties and co-operate with each other
  • liaising with the principal contractor for the duration of your appointment
  • prepare the health & safety file.

At present there is some uncertainty as to which current duty-holder i.e. the designer or the existing CDM Co-Ordinator is most suitably qualified to be appointed to undertake the new role. What can be said with certainty is that the role is somewhat different to the existing CDM Co-Ordinator role.

It was probably envisaged at the consultation stage of the new regulations that the lead designer i.e. the architect or engineer would fulfil the role of PD as they have the required skill set to coordinate the design. It is believed however, that surveyors are also preparing to perform the role as are existing CDM Co-Ordinators who believe they can fulfil the function once the regulations take effect. It could also be that the design team still appoint a separate CDM Co-Ordinator to assist in discharging their new obligations as PD if they do not have the necessary skills in house to perform the role.

Professional indemnity insurance

To date we have not seen any insurers asking specific questions or imposing rating implications around the new Principal Designer role, although reference to the same may start to appear in proposal forms going forward. What firms should obviously ensure (and what insurers would expect) is that either their own employees, or external consultants performing the role on their behalf, have the necessary technical knowledge, skills and training for the work being carried out in order to provide services compliant with the new regulations.

If you have any further questions concerning your firm’s involvement in the new Principal Designer role please do get in touch with your account handler at Bluefin.