Preparing your business for the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 – coming into effect on 6 April

As you may be aware, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (“CDM 2015”) comes into effect on 6 April 2015. From the same date, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (“CDM 2007”) is no longer in force.

If you are involved in the construction sector, it is likely that the new regulatory framework will affect your business and it is therefore important that you are prepared for the changes. Below we set out some of the key points to note about the new provisions.

Principal Designer

The most significant change from CDM 2007 is that the role of CDM Coordinator has been abolished. In its place, the role of Principal Designer has been created. Where CDM 2015 applies to a project, the client must appoint a “designer with control over the pre-construction phase” as the Principal Designer.

The crux of the Principal Designer’s role is to ensure that all the designs come together in a way that delivers a project that can be built and used safely.

The Principal Designer is the party that coordinates the handover of a safely designed project to the Principal Contractor in such a way that the Principal Contractor can then safely build that project. This leads into the duty to create, maintain and complete the health and safety file.

Transitional Provisions

For projects that have commenced prior to 6 April 2015 there is a six month period (between 6 April 2015 and 6 October 2015) during which transitional provisions apply.

By 6 April 2015, if the client has not appointed a CDM Coordinator, then if the construction works phase has not commenced, the client must appoint a Principal Designer as soon as practicable. If the construction phase has commenced, the client may appoint a Principal Designer (but is not required to do so).

If the client has appointed a CDM Coordinator by 6 April, then it must appoint a Principal Designer by 6 October 2015. If it fails to do so, the client will have to fulfil the role of Principal Designer. Until then, the CDM Coordinator’s role will continue with revised duties to reflect CDM 2015. A CDM Coordinator who is transferred from CDM 2007 to CDM 2015 in this way does not have to demonstrate that it is a designer with control over the pre-construction phase of the project.

Under the transitional provisions, the CDM Coordinator can continue until the end of the project if this will be before 6 October 2015.

Going Forwards

Stakeholders in the construction sector should be aware that they will need to update their standard documentation in preparation for the changes brought in by CDM 2015.

It is particularly important that the appointment of any CDM Coordinator is updated to account for the changes brought about by CDM 2015, in order that both the client and the CDM Coordinator are afforded proper protection. However, you should be mindful that other documents such as building contracts and appointments for members of the professional team will also need to be amended.

DWF LLP’s Construction, Infrastructure & Projects team has a wealth of experience advising clients on all areas of construction law including procurement advice, negotiation and agreement of contracts including joint venture, development, project, concession, and maintenance agreements as well as construction documentation including appointments, performance bonds, parent company guarantees, direct agreements and collateral warranties.

If you would like any assistance updating your standard documentation, or have any queries arising out of this article, please contact Tom Lister, Solicitor in DWF’s Construction, Infrastructure & Projects team –, 0161 603 5085.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Paul Barge


I am a Partner in DWF’s Manchester office and Head of the Construction & Infrastructure team in the North West.