UK: The Construction (Design And Management) Regulations 2007

Last Updated: 7 June 2007
Article by Joanne Ryan and David Beckenham

Although the number of fatalities in the construction industry has been fluctuating, there is no consistent trend in the last four years. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 2.2 million people work in Britain’s construction industry, making it the country’s biggest industry and, as has been widely reported, one of the most dangerous. In the last 25 years, there have been over 2,800 fatalities with many more injuries or resulting illnesses.

The government has responded by a major revision of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDMR 1994), introducing new regulations, which will have a significant impact on the industry and on the way new projects are controlled. The message from the HSE to employers embodied within the new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (the Regulations) is to establish a clear command and control regime for construction type activities.

The main changes under the new Regulations are the replacement of the planning supervisor, whose role was largely ineffective, with the CDM co-ordinator and the shift of responsibility for health and safety responsibilities onto the party with the most influence – the client. Despite extensive debate on the Regulations, the HSE is convinced that this will lead to reduced red tape and bureaucracy, effective co-ordination between parties, the deployment of competent people and a focus on effective planning and management of risk.


The Regulations have a very wide application. They apply to all "construction works" which is very broadly defined and includes fitting out, maintenance, redecoration and cleaning works. The term also encompasses preliminary investigations and explorations (though not site survey). A "client" is anyone seeking or accepting the services of another to be used in the carrying out of a project. This definition is wide enough to encompass small companies and one-off clients who may not even be aware of the Regualtions, yet they have to comply with specific and extensive duties.

Duties which apply to all projects General duties include:

  • Competence: duty holders must not appoint a CDM co-ordinator, designer, principal contractor or contractor unless they are competent to undertake the activity. The Approved Code of Practice (AcoP) defines competence as having:

(i) sufficient knowledge of the specific tasks to be undertaken and the risks which the work will entail; and

(ii) sufficient experience and ability to carry out the duties and to recognise any limitations and take appropriate action in order to prevent harm to those carrying out construction work.

  • Co-operation and co-ordination: every duty holder must seek the co-operation of any other party involved in the construction work and those parties must coordinate their activities to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people carrying out the construction work.
  • Prevention: every duty holder must adhere to the general provisions of prevention (see Schedule 1 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) including avoiding risks and evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided.

The Regulations also identify specific duties of certain duty holders. Examples include:

  • Clients are required to check the competence and resources of all appointees.
  • Designers are required to eliminate hazards and reduce risks during design.
  • Contractors are required to plan, manage and monitor their own work and that of their workers and check the competence of all appointees and workers.

Duties for notifiable projects

There is an extra layer of duties in respect of projects which are notifiable to the HSE – i.e. projects likely to last more than 30 days or involving more than 500 person days of work. Most notably, the planning superviser is replaced by the CDM co-ordinator whose role has evolved to become a key adviser to the client and to manage the communication between the client, designers and contractors.


The client is under a duty to provide the designers and contractors with all information in its possession, or which is reasonably obtainable, that is relevant for each of them in ensuring health and safety (the preconstruction information). The obligation is strict in the sense that it is not information which the client reasonably thinks is relevant, therefore the client should undertake to disclose all information in its possession relating to the site, works, timing and any information in any existing health and safety file.

In respect of notifiable projects, a health and safety file is required which must contain the information necessary for the construction work to be carried out safely. It is the duty of the CDM co-ordinator to prepare and update the file as the project progresses, but duty holders have a duty to supply the information necessary to compile and update the file.

Again on notifiable projects, the principal contractor must, before the start of the construction phase, prepare a construction phase plan, which effectively replaces the health and safety plan under the CDM 1994, but relates to ensuring that the work is properly planned and carried out safely.

Consequences of breach of the Regulations

Any breach of health and safety regulations may give rise to civil and criminal liability. Most prosecutions for breaches of health and safety legislation tend to be brought under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and a successful prosecution can result in a fine of up to £20,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment if the matter is dealt with in the magistrates’ court or, the Crown Court can impose an unlimited fine and/or 2 years imprisonment. There are also powers for directors to be struck off for up to 15 years.

Transitional provisions

The Regulations apply to construction projects that were already in progress when they came into force. As an example of the transitional provisions in effect for such projects, if a planning supervisor or principal contractor has already been appointed under CDM 1994, they will be deemed to be the CDM coordinator or principal contractor, but they must ensure that they acquire the new competencies within 12 months, if they are not already competent.


  • The ACoP should be read and followed. It has special legal status and if complied with, a court will be unlikely to find you at fault if you are prosecuted for a health and safety breach.
  • All concerned, especially clients, need to consider their working practices and procedures. Practical compliance is not enough; procedures must be carefully documented in writing as evidence of compliance should anything go wrong during the project. Moreover, procedures should be in place to monitor compliance and to ensure such compliance is ongoing.
  • Everyone concerned in a project should understand the Regulations and how they affect their business. The HSE has commented that they will take a targeted and proportionate approach to enforcement focusing on deliberate breaches that lead to real risks. They have also stated that they will also be focusing on competence of the parties involved in the project.
  • Employers, contractors and consultants should make sure that all the contracts, appointments and warranties cover the new duties and obligations contained in the Regulations and reflect the changes in terminology.
  • An extensive due diligence process should be undertaken by clients at the very inception of the project to identify and obtain all the documents it needs to pass on to designers and contractors.

Concluding remarks

The Regulations force a rethink as to how projects are organised, planned and delivered. Taking a hands-off approach will fail to impress regulators from now on. Clients have to consider creating a carefully designed system to ensure that their wider obligations are discharged not only within the letter but the spirit of the law. With 50% of start-up companies apparently folding within their first year and a further 25% in their second (Business Link) coupled with the massive fines imposed on high profile companies such as Rail Track and Network Rail, can employers really afford not to plan and co-ordinate their work? If you have any queries on the issues raised in this article, please contact the authors.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.