Posted by: David Cant | September 20, 2008

CDM Client duties and responsibilities explained

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 – Duty Holder Duties
Part One – Duties of Client
Who are Clients?

A client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out. Clients only have duties when the project is associated with a business or other undertaking (whether for profit or not). Domestic clients are a special case and do not have duties under the CDM Regulations 2007.
If there is doubt as to who the client is, take into account who:

  • Decides what is to be constructed, where, when and by whom.
  • Commissions the design and construction work.
  • Initiates the work.
  • Is at the head of the procurement chain.
  • Engages the contractors.

What Clients must do for all Projects (Part 2 of the Regulations) –
Clients must make sure that:

  • Designers, contractors and other team members are competent (or work under the supervision of a competent person), adequately resourced and appointed early enough for the work they have to do.
  • They allow sufficient time for each stage of the project, from concept onwards.
  • They co-operate with others concerned in the project so that other duty holders can comply with their duties under the regulations.
  • They co-ordinate their own work with others involved with the project in order to ensure the safety of those carrying out the construction work, and others who may be affected by it.
  • There are reasonable management arrangements in place throughout the project to ensure that the construction work can be carried out, so far as is reasonably practical, safely and without risk to health.
  • Contractors have made arrangements for suitable welfare facilities to be provided from the start of the project, and throughout the construction phase.
  • Any fixed workplaces (e.g. offices, shops, factories, schools) which are to be constructed will comply, in respect of their design and the materials used, with any requirements of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
  • Relevant information likely to be needed by designers, contractors or others to plan and manage their work is passed to them in a timely manner in order that they can comply with regulations.

Additional Duties for Clients for Notifiable Projects (Part 3 of the Regulations) –
In addition to the duties set out above, clients must:

  • Appoint a CDM Co-ordinator to advise and assist with their duties and to co-ordinate the arrangements for health and safety during the planning phase.
  • Appoint a Principal Contractor to plan and manage the construction work – preferably early enough for them to work with the designer on issues relating to buildability, usability and maintainability.
  • Ensure that the construction phase does not start until the Principal Contractor has prepared a suitable health and safety plan and made arrangements for suitable welfare facilities to be present from the start of the work.
  • Make sure the health and safety file is prepared, reviewed, or updated ready for handover at the end of the construction work. This must then be kept available for any future construction work or to pass on to a new owner.

What Clients don’t have to do – Clients are not required or expected to:

  • Plan or manage construction projects themselves.
  • Specify how work must be done.
  • Provide welfare facilities for those carrying out construction work (though they should co-operate with the Principal Contractor to assist with his arrangements).
  • Check designs to make sure that the Regulations have been complied with.
  • Visit the site (to supervise or check construction work standards).
  • Employ third party assurance advisors to monitor health and safety standards on site (though there may be benefits to the client in doing so).
  • Subscribe to third party competence assessment schemes (though there may be benefits from doing so).

Return to Duty Holders Main page

Sources & References:
Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007


  1. what client,Qs,Architect, Contractor and the others responsibility in Development costs?

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