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CDM Duty Holders - Who Are The New Duty Holders? What Are The New CDM Duties?

CDM Duty Holders: What's Changed?

Guide to CDM duty holders and their new responsibilities

The Construction Design & Management Regulations (CDM) 2015 replaced CDM 2007 6 April 2015. Below is an outline of all parties involved in a construction project and their CDM duties.


Clients are organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out. Clients are responsible for making suitable arrangements for managing a project. This includes making sure:

  • Other CDM duty holders are appointed
  • Sufficient time and resources are allocated
  • Relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders
  • The principal designer and principal contractor carry out their CDM duties
  • Welfare facilities are provided

Domestic clients

Domestic clients are people who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not.

Domestic clients are in the scope of CDM 2015, but their duties as a client are normally transferred to the contractor on a single contractor project, or the principal contractor, on a project involving more than one contractor. However, the domestic client can choose to have a written agreement with the principal designer to carry out the client duties.

Designers are those, who as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work.

  • When preparing or modifying designs, to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction, and the maintenance and use of a building once it is built
  • Provide information to other members of the project team to help them fulfil their CDM duties

Principal designers

Principal designers are designers appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. They can be an organisation or an individual with sufficient knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the role. The principal designer's role has absorbed the main part of the CDM coordinator's role.

They must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project. This includes:

  • Identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks
  • Ensuring designers carry out their CDM duties
  • Prepare and provide relevant information to other duty holders
  • Liaise with the principal contractor to help in the planning, management, monitoring and coordination of the construction phase

Read more information on our course for principal designers.

Principal contractors

Principal contractors are contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor.

They must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the construction phase of a project. This includes:

  • Liaising with the client and principal designer
  • Preparing the construction phase plan
  • Organising cooperation between contractors and coordinating their work, ensuring:
    • Suitable site inductions are provided
    • Reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access
    • Workers are consulted and engaged in securing their health and safety
    • Welfare facilities are provided


Contractors are those who do the actual construction work and can be either an individual or a company. Their duties include:

  • Plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety
  • For projects involving more than one contractor, coordinate their activities with others in the project team, in particular, comply with directions given to them by the principal designer or principal contractor
  • For single-contractor projects, prepare a construction phase plan


Workers­ are the people who work for or under the control of contractors on a construction site. Workers must:

  • Be consulted about matters which affect their health, safety and welfare
  • Take care of their own health and safety and others who may be affected by their actions
  • Report anything they see which is likely to endanger either their own or others’ health and safety
  • Cooperate with their employer, fellow workers, contractors and other CDM duty holders

All CDM duty holders

A structural simplification of the Regulations - focus on small to medium projects involving SMEs.

The ACoP was substituted with the L153 Guidance on Regulations (available on the HSE website); it provides clear guidance on the duties and legal requirements for CDM 2015

Competence requirements are separated into skills, knowledge, training and experience (and organisational capability if an organisation).

Learn more about CDM 2015 with an Astutis CDM course

Astutis offers a choice of CDM courses that provide a flexible way to learn and fully understand the legal requirements of the CDM 2015 Regulations and the roles defined above. The practical approach taken by our courses ensures that you can apply it to your job to achieve compliance. Find out more about our CDM courses.

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