CDM 2015 – New Responsibility For Clients

What Duties Does The Client Have Under The CDM Regulations 2015?


Client’s Duties under CDM 2015.

A domestic client has no duties under Health and Safety at Work Law or CDM 2015. When working for a domestic client i.e. a householder, the responsibility to ensure that the project is carried out safely and in accordance with the requirements of CDM 2015 falls to the designer (Principal Designer) (PD) and the builder (Principal Contractor) (PC).

What are ‘Domestic’ and ‘Non-Domestic’ Clients?

It is necessary therefore, to determine whether or not the client is actually a “domestic client”. Under CDM 2015, a Domestic Client is a person having works done on their own property for their own / their family’s personal use. If someone is having a workshop or garden office built they are not a domestic client.

A Non – Domestic Client is a person or a company who is having the works done as part of a commercial enterprise. That could be a business building a new factory or office extension, or a residential or commercial landlord refitting some of their rental properties. Building an office at the end of your garden in order to work from home would make you a non-domestic client. As a rule – if the client will get a business income from the works, they are a non-domestic client.

Duties of a Non-Domestic Client.

On all non-domestic projects (i.e. business or commercial), the Client now has far more legal duties than before:

• The client is now required to make sure that health and safety has been factored into the project, and that sufficient funding has been allowed in the budget for this.

• The client must appoint, in writing, a PD to oversee the design and planning of the project, to put in place all the health and safety procedures, and to create (or at least organise) the Health and Safety File.

• The client must give the PD all the information needed for the builder, the PC, to be able to write the Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan.

• Part of the PD’s role is to make sure that proper welfare facilities have been organised. For instance, it is no longer acceptable, even on the smallest jobs, to not have proper toilet facilities available. However, as the person in overall control of the project, it falls to the client to make sure that Health, Safety and Welfare have been attended to.

• The client must appoint a PC to build and/or manage the works on site.

• The client must ensure that both the PD and PC are competent to carry out their role.

• The client must review and approve the Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan using information supplied by the PD.

If the client doesn’t appoint either a PD or PC, the duties of both will become the client’s by default, so it really is in the client’s best interest to surround themselves with suitably qualified professionals to help them through the process.

The client doesn’t need to go through this all alone, and instead can bring in external advisors. A good source of competent advice would be a former CDM Coordinator. The CDM Coordinator can help with all of the pre-start information, and can help the client make sure they are asking the right questions of the right people.

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