A Client’s Responsibilities

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 is the main set of regulations for managing health, safety and welfare of construction projects. CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.

These regulations, which came into effect in April 2015, place responsibility for managing health and safety of a construction project on three main duty holders;


Principal Designer

Principal Contractor

The Client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project. As such, the Client must make suitable arrangements to ensure that, throughout the planning, design and construction of a project, adequate consideration is given to the health, safety and welfare of all those affected and involved in the construction work. In order to meet these obligations, the Client is supported by the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. For the successful delivery of a project, good working relationships between the duty holders are essential from the start.

CDM 2015 defines a Client as ‘anyone for whom a construction project is carried out’. A Client can be a commercial or domestic client;

A commercial client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out in connection with a business, whether the business operates for profit or not. Examples of commercial clients are schools, retailers and landlords.

You are a domestic client if you are having work carried out which is not connected with running a business. Usually, this means arranging for work to be carried out on the property where you or a family member lives.

If more than one contractor will be working on your project then, as the Client, you must appoint a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor in writing. If you do not do this, then you take on these roles and associated legal duties yourself.

A Principal Designer should be appointed at the earliest opportunity to help prepare and plan your project and help ensure you meet your Client obligations under CDM 2015. You should also get involved so you can give your views as and when required.

Even the simplest tasks, such as arranging routine maintenance or minor building work, require adequate time to plan and manage the work safely.