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CDM Regulations 2015 – 3 Key Documents

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 are applicable to all construction projects regardless of the size, duration, commercial or domestic (residential).

What is classified as ‘Construction Work’ – the CDM Regulations 2015 define “Construction work means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes (a) the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commission, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure

The CDM Regulations require 3 key documents for projects where there is more than one contractor and they are:

  • Pre-Construction Information
  • Construction Phase Plan
  • Health and Safety Plan


Pre-Construction Information

Pre-construction information can include information such as surveys, drawings, services, relevant information for the project.  It is the Principal Designers responsibility to co-ordinate health and safety information at the pre-construction stage, therefore it is important the Principal Designer is appointed as early as possible in the project.

The Principal Designer needs to be appointed on all construction projects where there is more than one contractor.  The Principal Designer has a wide range of duties to discharge before any work can commence on site and is responsible for managing health and safety during the pre-construction phase.  It is the Principal Designers role to provide advise to the Client about information required for the Pre-Construction Information which will be issued to all designers and the Principal Contractor.

On domestic projects, if the Client does not make the appointment in writing the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project is the Principal Designer (this appointment is automatic).

On commercial projects (construction projects in connection with any business) if the Client does not make the appointment in writing, they are automatically the Principal Designer and are responsible for all the duties and requirements of the role.

The Principal Designer will also need to structure the format and gather the required content for inclusion in the Health and Safety File which will be finalised and handed to the Client at the end of the project.


Construction Phase Plan

The Construction Phase Plan (or sometimes referred to as the Construction Health and Safety Plan) is required by CDM Regulations on all projects regardless of size, duration or complexity).  The Construction Phase Plan must be must be prepared before any work commences.

The Construction Phase Plan is a document detailing how health and safety will be managed throughout the duration of the project and will include details of work to be carried out, project management team and emergency arrangements.  The content of the Construction Phase Plan will be specific to the project and should include the following key headings:

  • Project Description – scope of works and key project information such as project team (Client, Principal Designer, Principal Contractor, Designers, & other consultants) and sub-contractor details
  • Management of the Project – Details of management arrangements for work to be carried out. The management structure should be detailed and include information on key procedures such as induction, training, welfare, security, accident reporting and investigation (including RIDDOR) and liaison and communication between all parties on site.  This section should also include project safety goals, site rules and emergency information (nearest accident and emergency, First Aider contact details etc.)
  • Arrangements for controlling safety risks – risks should be identified, and details of control measures and arrangements required such as arrangements for dealing with services, structures, fragile materials, excavations, plant and equipment operation, pedestrian/vehicle management and segregation, lifting operations etc. Consideration should be given to storage areas, deliveries to site, traffic management and routes and risks to the general public.
  • Health Risks – management arrangements and health risks should be identified, and consideration given to any activities that are likely to put the health of operatives, visitors, or members of the public at risk (e.g. Asbestos, hazardous substances, contaminated land, radiation). Activities such as exposure to dust, vibration, noise and manual handling activities should be covered in this section.
  • Health and Safety File – information regarding the arrangements for gathering of information for inclusion in the Health and Safety File, the proposed layout and format and storage arrangements for information available to be detailed in this section.


The Construction Phase Plan should be reviewed and updated as necessary throughout the duration of the project and as the work progresses and develops.  Some details (project team, scope of works, all risks) may not be known or finalised at the point when the Construction Phase Plan is being developed, therefore the document should be viewed as a ‘live document’ and updates as required to ensure it is up to date and reflective of the construction work being carried out.

Where appointed the Principal Contractor will have overall control of a construction project and must prepare and develop the Construction Phase Plan.  If there is only one contractor on site, they must prepare and develop the Construction Phase Plan.


Health and Safety File

The Health and Safety File is an important document required by CDM Regulations 2015 and is required on projects where there is more than one contractor.

The Health and Safety File is prepared by the Principal Designer and will contain all relevant Health and Safety information needed to allow future construction work and future use (cleaning and maintenance) of the building to be carried out safely.

Information for the Health and Safety File is gathered off all CDM Duty Holders including the Client, Principal Contractor and other contractors working on the project.

The Health and Safety File should be proportionate to the project, larger more complex projects will require more information than a relatively small straight forward project.

The CDM Regulations 2015 require certain information to be included within the Health and Safety File (the exact information to be included will depend on the size, and complexity of the project).  Generally, the Health and Safety File should include the following:

  • Description of project including details of the site, project team and key dates
  • Information on residual hazards which remain and how they can be managed (ground conditions, asbestos, fragile materials, access/egress to maintain equipment etc.)
  • Safe Working Loads of structures and key structural principles
  • Details of hazardous materials
  • Health and Safety information relating to installed plant and equipment (removal, dismantling in future)
  • Location and nature of significant services (underground services)
  • As-built drawings of the structure, plant and equipment.


The Health and Safety File should not be padded out with irrelevant information (information that will have no impact on the future safe use of the structure or future construction works).  Information that should not be included within the Health and Safety File includes the pre-construction information, normal operational procedures that have no impact on health and safety, construction phase accidents statistics, contractual documents or information regarding demolished structures.

Some items are that not required to be included within the Health and Safety File under the CDM Regulations may be useful to the Client (e.g. operation and maintenance manuals).  It is good practice to include reference to the operation and maintenance manual within a the Health and Safety File.

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