Construction Design and Management – Clients Duties

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

Who is the client?

The client is the person or company who wants the construction work to be completed. The work has to be in relation to business activities and therefore CDM client responsibilities do not normally apply to private householders have work done on their own homes.

Key responsibilities

The responsibilities are more vigorous for larger notifiable projects but in essence any construction related activity will now be covered by CDM. But the client has more responsibilities for those larger contracts.

One of the first responsibilities is to appoint a competent person as the CDM Co-ordinator and a competent contractor as the Principal Contractor.

The client has to be reasonably satisfied that the CDM Co-ordinator, Designer and Contractor are competent to comply with their statutory obligations and will make adequate provision for health & safety and have adequate resources to be able to fulfil their obligations. There are standards and criteria in the new regulations to assist in this process and avoid excessive paperwork here which was highlighted in the previous version of CDM.

If a contractor of CDM< co-oridnater are just nominated without any planning or consideration, the client could be held to account if accidents and breaches of H&S legislation occur even during the contraction stage. The emphasis is on good management starting with the client. Could this be a case of making them practice what they preach ? Rather than setting unrealistic deadlines for contractors to work to?

The ensure those involved in the project know exactly what they are dealing with the client must pass on relavant pré-construction information . This should not be excessive long, as some of the previous pre tender plans were. But should  focus on what the contractor really needs to know, i.e. is the site on a busy high street? Is it next  to a school? Is the site likely to be contaminated with lead? It is major issues such as these which needs to be included.

New Duties

The client will now also have some responsibility with the construction risks to ensure they are managed. The Project must be managed SFAIRP to avoid risks.

The client must ensure that sufficient resources for the planning and preparation of each stage of the project. This may have an impact as clients could be held liable if they appoint a contractor and then pressurise them to undertaken work before proper planning has been undertaken.

The contractor needs to provide suitable welfare facilities but the client needs to check they are actually available.  Likewise they must ensure  and stuctures are safe at all times. These additional new requirements make it important for the client to have an ongoing interest in the project rather than just ensuring the contractor is appointed.


Example: The client believes that there may be asbestos present so commissions an asbestos survey prior to the start of refurbishment of a 1960’s office building. The results were included in the pre tender information so the potential contractors can consider how they are going to manage these risks on site.