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compliance – duties on clients


Construction (Design & Management) Regulations.

The client has one of the biggest influences over the way a project is run. They have substantial influence and contractual control and their decisions and approach determine:

• the time, money and other resources available for projects;

• who makes up the project team, their competence, when they are appointed and who does what;

• whether the team is encouraged to co-operate and work together effectively;

• whether the team has the information that it needs about the site and any existing structures;

• the arrangements for managing and co-ordinating the work of the team.

Because of this, they are made accountable for the impact their approach has on the health and safety of those working on or affected by the project. However, the Regulations also recognise that many clients know little about construction health and safety, so clients are not required or expected to plan or manage projects themselves. Nor do they have to develop substantial expertise in construction health and safety, unless this is central to their business. Clients must ensure that various things are done, but are not normally expected to do them themselves.

Web link to responsibilities for clients, designers, principal designers and principal contractors

HSE Advice On CDM 2015 Responsibilities

SUMMARY OF CLIENT RESPONSIBILITIES – always refer to HSE for full list of responsibilities for all parties

  1. Clients will need to appoint a ‘Principal Designer’ for all projects involving more than one contractor (trade contractor) on site at any one time. Designers appointed should not carry out any work beyond initial design unless the Principal Designer has confirmed that the Client is aware of their duties. Addvance recommend AGA who offer a service of discharging both Principal Designer and Client Duties.
  2. The Client must appoint both the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor in writing, otherwise they are deemed to be carrying out these roles.
  3. The Client will need to ensure competence – those that are to be appointed (i.e Designer, Contractor or Principal Contractor and Principal Designer) can demonstrate appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision.
  4. The Client is to ensure a Construction Phase Plan provided by the Contractor or Principal Contractor is in place before any works commence. A Construction Phase Plan is required for all projects.
  5. Notification to the HSE via an F1 is required for projects before works co0mmence if they will exceed 30 construction days with 20 or more workers working simultaneously or if the project exceeds 500 person days.
  6. Provide Principal Designer and Principal Contractor with relevant information about site and existing structures within a Client Brief to include provision of O&M information and identification of risk to include hazardous materials.


a) Preparation: the Client brief.
b) What do you have to do in the pre-construction phase?

  • Make suitable arrangements for managing the project.
  • Select the project team and formally appoint duty holders.
  • Provide information to help with design and construction planning.
  • Notify the project to the enforcing authorities where required.
  • Check that the principal designer is carrying out their duties.
  • Allow sufficient time and resources are allocated.

c) What do you have to do in the construction phase?

  • Ensure the construction phase plan is in place
  • Ensure welfare facilities are in place.
  • Ensure the management arrangements are working
  • Check completion and handover arrangements

d) What do you have to do in the post-construction phase?

  • Check that the health and safety file has been prepared.
  • Maintain and make available the health and safety file.


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