One notable difference between the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) and CDM 2015, which came into force on 6th April last year, is that the new regulations specify duties for domestic clients. However CDM 2015 makes a clear distinction between domestic and commercial clients.
Commercial clients are those who commission construction work as part of their business and should be familiar with design and construction projects and associated legislation.
Domestic clients on the other hand are individuals who have construction work carried out on their home, or the home of a family member, that’s not done as part of any business. The client duties under CDM, in the case of a domestic client, will normally pass by default to the contractor (for a single contractor project) or principal contractor (for projects involving more than one contractor) who must take on the legal duties of the client as well as their own.
In practice, particularly for single contractor projects, this should mean little more than what they normally do to manage health and safety risks. Where multiple contractors are involved, if the domestic client doesn’t specifically appoint a principal contractor, the duties must be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction work.
If a domestic client has appointed an architect or other designer on a project involving more than one contractor, they can ask them to manage the project and take on the client duties instead. In this case there must be a written agreement with the domestic client, confirming they have agreed, as principal designer under CDM 2015, to take on the client duties as well as their own responsibilities.
Any designer in charge of coordinating and managing a project is assumed to be the principal designer but if they do not have a written agreement with the domestic client to confirm they are taking on the client duties, the principal contractor will automatically take over project management responsibilities, including those duties.
In brief, the client duties on a domestic project are;
- Notifying HSE of the Project using the F10 form: Under CDM 2015, HSE must be notified of the project if it will last longer than 30 days and involve more than 20 workers at the same time or if it will exceed more than 500 person days
- Provision of Welfare Facilities: The following welfare facilities have to be provided on a domestic project: adequate toilet and washing facilities, a place for preparing and consuming refreshments and somewhere for storing and drying clothing and personal protective equipment.
- Writing a Construction Phase Plan before the work starts: This document records how health and safety will be managed for the project and should reflect the complexity of the job – if the job is simple, then keep the plan simple!