Skip to main content
hse logo

Homeowner Duties: The CDM Regulations Explained

On 6th April 2015 the Government introduced the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), putting additional obligations on householders having construction work carried-out.  This might include alterations, extensions or other similar types of work.

The CDM 2015 defines a ‘domestic client’ is somebody who has construction work carried-out which is not in connection to a business.  For example, this might be work on their own home or the home of a family member.  It is important to realise that whilst the CDM 2015 places full responsibility on ‘commercial clients’, the duties of ‘domestic clients’ are normally assigned to specific third parties depending on the following factors.

Which Type of Project Do You Have?

The CDM 2015 defines domestic client responsibilities for two types of project:

  1. Single Contractor Projects:  These are likely to be smaller projects such as an electrician undertaking an electrical re-wire or a plumber replacing a boiler.


  1. Multiple Contractor Projects:  A good example might be a house extension which would require bricklayers, carpenters, roofers, plumbers and electricians.


Construction Client Duties


Single Contractor Projects

For projects which only involve one contractor, the client duties specified in the CDM 2015 must be carried-out by the contractor.  Essentially, the contractor will be required to undertake these duties in addition to their own duties as a contractor.

Domestic clients should ensure that the contactor is aware of their duties under the CDM 2015, which will also include the client duties for which they are responsible.  The client should ask for examples of how this was done on previous projects.  In addition, it is advisable to request a health & safety method statement from the contactor.


Multiple Contractor Projects


Principle Designer

For projects which will require more than one contractor, the client must appoint a ‘Principle Designer who will assume responsibility over the pre-construction phase.


When selecting a designer for your project it is advisable to check they have sufficient experience to conduct the work.  If you intend to have your design created by an architect, it is recommended to ensure they are are accredited by a reputable organisation such as RIBA.


It is important to realise that where a Principle Designer is not appointed in writing, the client duties are automatically passed to the Principle Contractor (explained below).


Principle Contractor

The main contractor will need to be appointed as the ‘Principle Contractor’ to oversee health and safety responsibilities in relation to the construction phase.  The client should apply the same due diligence when appointing a Principle Contractor (explained under ‘single contractor projects’).


These appointments must be made as earlier as practically possible to allow health and safety measures to be effectively implemented.  However, the CDM 2015 acknowledges that most domestic clients will not be familiar with design or construction and the related legislation.


Principle Designer & Principle Contractor Responsibilities


  • Ensure that construction work can be carried out safely
  • Make sure that suitable welfare facilities are available on site (toilet, drinking water etc)
  • Provide all relevant information to contractors in the project (drawings, structural calculations etc)
  • The Principle Contractor must prepare a Construction Phase Health & Safety Plan
  • The Principle Designer must prepare a health & safety file to give to you at the end of the project (multiple contractor projects only)
  • Notify Health & Safety Executive of projects likely to last longer than 500 person days or last longer than 30 days with 20 or more people


Project Completion

Domestic clients should archive health & safety files and make them available to relevant third parties when required.  Upon selling the related property, domestic clients must provide the health & safety file to the purchaser.


If you are unsure about any of the abovementioned issues, feel free to contact us to discuss your project in more depth.  Alternatively, you can contract the Public CSM Helpline which gives impartial advice on 0333 088 2015.