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Guidance from Callsafe Services Limited

This guidance has been prepared by Callsafe Services Limited, on behalf of Foundations to provide an understanding of the requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM2015) for organisations and personnel involved in Home Adaptations.

Guidance on the CDM Regulations for Home Adaptations

What are the CDM Regulations?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations were first introduced in 1994 to improve the health and safety of construction projects.

The CDM regulations have been revised a few times since, but they still have the same purpose — to ensure the safety and welfare of all people involved in construction projects. The latest changes were in 2015, so the regulations we know and adhere to now are known as the CDM Regulations 2015.

In this guide, we summarise the regulations to help you better understand what the CDM Regulations are, why they’re important and particularly how they apply to home adaptation projects.

Definitions

Structure

A “Structure” is defined in the regulations as:

  • Any building, timber, masonry, metal or reinforced concrete structure, railway line or siding, tramway line, dock, harbour, inland navigation, tunnel, shaft, bridge, viaduct, waterworks, reservoir, pipe or pipeline, cable, aqueduct, sewer, sewage works, gasholder, road, airfield, sea defence works, river works, drainage works, earthworks, lagoon, dam, wall, caisson, mast, tower, pylon, underground tank, earth retaining structure, or structure designed to preserve or alter any natural feature, fixed plant;
  • Any other structure similar to the foregoing; and
  • Any formwork, falsework, scaffold or other structure designed or used to provide support or means of access during construction work;

Construction work

Construction work” is defined in the regulations as:

  • The carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes:
    • The construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure;
    • The preparation for an intended structure, including site clearance, exploration, investigation (but not site survey) and excavation (but not pre-construction archaeological investigations), and the clearance or preparation of the site or structure for use or occupation at its conclusion;
    • The assembly on site of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly of prefabricated elements which, immediately before such disassembly, formed such a structure;
    • The removal of a structure or of any product or waste resulting from demolition or dismantling of a structure or from disassembly on site of prefabricated elements which immediately before such disassembly formed such a structure; and
    • The installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure;

But does not include the exploration for, or extraction of, mineral resources, or preparatory activities carried out at a place where such exploration or extraction is carried out.

Home Adaptations could include:
  • Fitting a stairlift or a banister on the stairs;
  • Adding a bath lift, walk-in shower or a rail you hold to pull yourself out of the bath (grab rail);
  • Widening doorways;
  • Lowering kitchen worktops;
  • Putting in an outdoor ramp or step rail; and/or
  • Security, such as outside lights and intercom systems;

All of which are “Construction Work” and would require “Pre-Construction Information” (PCI) and a “Construction Phase Plan”. These documents should be proportionate to the complexity of the work and the risks involved.

Project

A “Project” is work involving a specific objective and includes construction, from initial design and planning to construction completion. An adaptation of a property involving a bathroom adaptation being done by a builder and a stairlift being fitted later by a specialist installer would be a single project, even if the work is separately contracted and/or performed at different times.

Client

The “Client” means a person or organisation who seeks or accepts the services of another for the performance of a construction project on his behalf; or carries out a project himself. A “Domestic Client” is the person who wants the construction work done who is not a commercial client, e.g. the homeowner or tenant;

A Home Improvement Agency would be the Client if the work involved is organised by them. If a Local Authority only supplies a grant of money to the homeowner, the homeowner would be a Domestic Client. Where a Local Authority provides an agency service to design and supervise the work, the CDM2015 Domestic Client’s duties would normally be performed by the Home Improvement Agency.

Designer

A “Designer” is any person or organisation (including a Client, Contractor or any other person referred to in the Regulations) who:

  • Prepares or modifies a design; or
  • Arranges for or instructs any person under his control to do so;

Relating to a structure or to a product or mechanical or electrical system intended for a particular structure. This then means that the HIA would have to comply with the CDM2015 Designer’s duties. Where an Occupational Therapist identifies a need, such as the requirement for a lift or stairlift without specifying the particular type or manufacturer they would not be a designer.

The “Principal Designer” is the person or organisation who is appointed by the client to manage health and safety during the pre-construction phase, but only required if more than one contractor will work on the Project.

Contractor

A “Contractor” is any person (including a Client, Principal Contractor or other person referred to in the Regulations) who carries out or manages construction work. This then means that the Home Adaptations agency would have to comply with the CDM2015 Contractor’s duties, whether managing or performing the work.

The “Principal Contractor” means the person, normally an organisation, appointed as the Principal Contractor for the Project by the Client, but only required if more than one contractor will work on the project. If the homeowner is organising the work as a Domestic Client, the main contractor will be assumed to be the Principal Contractor. The Principal Contractor ensures that the construction site and processes are properly planned and performed for effective health and safety management. The appointment of the Principal Contractor can be changed if contractors work in sequence; but the new Principal Contractor will be required to produce their own Construction Phase Plan.

Reasonably practicable

Reasonably practicable” – Most of the duties under CDM2015 are qualified by the term “so far as is reasonably practicable”. This is a judgement in which the quantum of risk is weighed against the cost to eliminate or reduce the risk. Where the risk is high, then the resources used to overcome that risk may also be considerable.

Reasonably Practicable graphic showing the balance of risk against cost

This balance judges the risks to the health and safety of people against the costs involved in eliminating, reducing or controlling those risks.

This means that having identified a risk associated with project or work on the completed structure(s) the project team does not necessarily have to eliminate it or even reduce it. The practice should be to balance the health and safety matters against all other project and design criteria.

The risks to those who build, use and maintain the particular structure should be balanced against cost, fitness for purpose (in its literal sense), aesthetics, buildability and environmental impact. The issues of safety and health are in no way paramount.

Whoever makes a decision regarding the project and structures has to be able to show that the matters relating to health and safety had been considered and, if risk is accepted, that on balance, the cost, aesthetics or other considerations outweighed the requirements for health and safety.

Practicable

Practicable” – Some of the duties under CDM2015 are “as soon as is practicable”. This is a mandatory requirement that is only limited by what is possible. Cost is not relevant.

Official CDM2015 Guidance

The main guidance on CDM2015 produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is L153, Managing health and safety in construction, which also contains the Regulations.

The HSE have published two other guidance documents:

Industry guidance

Industry Guidance is available for the five duty holders under CDM2015, plus one for the workers. These documents have been written by the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) and approved by the HSE. This guidance is available for free download, as follows:

  • Industry guidance for Clients
  • Industry guidance for Principal Designers
  • Industry guidance for Contractors
  • Industry guidance for Designers
  • Industry guidance for Principal Contractors
  • Industry guidance for Workers

Covers of CITB CDM guidance documents

These documents can be downloaded, free of charge, from the CITB website.

General principles of prevention

All of the duty holders must comply with the general principles of prevention.

The general principles of prevention are required to be applied by CDM2015, but are enshrined into UK law through the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The principles to be followed in hierarchical order are

  1. avoiding risks;
  2. evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided;
  3. combating the risks at source;
  4. adapting the work to the individual, especially as regards the design of workplaces, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work-rate and to reducing their effect on health;
  5. adapting to technical progress;
  6. replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous;
  7. developing a coherent overall prevention policy which covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment;
  8. giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures; and
  9. giving appropriate instructions to employees.

Project notification

Projects must be notified to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), by the Client, if the construction phase will:

  • Last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  • Involve more than 500 person days or shifts;

The Client, or someone on the client’s behalf, must notify the project, in writing to the HSE as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins.

The notice must contain the particulars specified in Schedule 1, but if the notification is performed through the HSE website all of the requirements are included in the fields to be completed.

If necessary, due to changes to project scope, timescales and/or project team, the project notification (F10) should be updated.

The project notification must also be clearly displayed in the construction site office in a comprehensible form where it can be read by any worker engaged in the construction work.

It is unlikely that this would be required for work normally performed during home adaptation projects but could apply to more larger schemes such as home extensions.

CDM Flowchart

The CDM2015 Client’s duties

The Client is defined as “any person for whom a project is carried out, whether it is carried out by another person or is carried out in house”. The Client’s duties are applied to Domestic Clients, however see the next section for when this applies for home adaptation projects.

The main duties of the client all construction projects are to:

  • Verify the capability of all organisations and internal teams the client appoints to the project
  • Make and maintain suitable arrangements for managing the project and welfare facilities for the project
  • Ensure sufficient time and resources are allowed for all stages of the project
  • Provide the pre-construction information to the designers and contractors
  • Do not allow construction to commence unless the contractor or principal contractor has prepared a construction phase plan
  • Ensure co-operation and co-ordination between the client’s employees and client contractors with the project contractors where the client’s work activities overlap the construction work
  • Notify the project to the HSE, if the project is notifiable

On projects with more than one contractor the client’s additional duties are to:

  • Select & appoint a capable principal designer as soon as practicable
  • Select & appoint a capable principal contractor as soon as practicable
  • Verify that principal designer prepares a compliant health and safety file
  • Ensure that the principal designer complies with the duties
  • Ensure that the principal contractor complies with the duties
  • Subsequent to receipt of the health and safety file from the principal designer, maintain the information up to date and provide access to any person who needs to see it for health and safety purposes
  • Pass the health and safety file onto any new owner of the structure

 

Domestic clients

A Domestic Client is someone who has construction work done on their own home, or the home of a family member, which is not done in connection with a business. Local authorities, housing associations, charities, landlords and other businesses may own domestic properties, but they are not a domestic client for the purposes of CDM2015. If the work is in connection with a business attached to domestic premises, such as a shop, the client is not a Domestic Client.

If construction work is arranged by a Home Improvement Agency, then the agency becomes the Client for the purposes of CDM2015. The home owner or tenant may still be sign the building works contract and directly employ the contractors, but it is the agency who is predominantly controlling the Project and takes on the Client responsibilities under CDM 2015.

For home adaptations work a homeowner or tenant would only usually be a Domestic Client where they have made their own application and the local authority are only providing the grant funding.

A Domestic Client is not required to carry out the duties placed on commercial clients in regulation 4 (client duties for managing projects), regulation 6 (Notification) and regulation 8 (General duties).

Where the project involves only one contractor, the client duties must instead be carried out by the contractor.

Where the project involves more than one contractor, the client duties must instead be carried out by the principal contractor. If the domestic client has not appointed a principal contractor, the duties of the client will be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction work.

Domestic clients may engage an architect or other designer to produce possible designs for them. The domestic client has the flexibility of agreeing (in writing) with their designer that the designer coordinates and manages the project, rather than this role automatically passing to the principal contractor. Where no such agreement is made, then the principal contractor will automatically take over the project management responsibilities.

The CDM2015 Principal Designer’s duties

This is a person, who is appointed by the client to control the pre-construction phase of the project. The principal designer is only required to be appointed on Projects that have more than one contractor, and has the duties to:

  • Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the pre-construction phase of the project
  • Ensure that designers from their own organisation and/or designers they appoint are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure that all designers identify, and attempt to eliminate or reduce, risks
  • Ensure that everyone working on the pre-construction phase co-operate with each other, and the designers comply with duties and co-ordinate their designs
  • Ensure that the designers provide information about the risks which cannot be satisfactorily addressed by their designs
  • Identify what is needed for the pre-construction information, advise the client on additional information required and assist the client in obtaining it, then provide it to anyone who needs it
  • Prepare the health and safety file, or review and update an existing health and safety file, and pass it the client at the end of construction or to the principal contractor to complete if the principal designer appointment does not extend to the end of construction

The CDM2015 Designers’ duties

The main designers’ duties on all construction projects are to:

  • Ensure that the client is aware of the client’s duties prior to commencing any design work
  • Ensure that personnel allocated to their design team from internal resources are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure that any designers or contractors that are engaged by them on the project are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure that the design and the designers’ duties are complied with by any designers engaged by them, including any designers who are based outside Great Britain
  • Eliminate or reduce safety and health risks to constructors, users, maintainers, repairers, commissioners, testers, cleaners, demolishers, etc. when preparing the design, taking into account the principles of prevention
  • Co-operate and communicate with other designers, including temporary works designers, to ensure adequate co-ordination of the design
  • Provide information about the risks which cannot be satisfactorily addressed by their designs to the client, other designers and contractors

On projects with more than one contractor the designers’ additional duties are to:

  • Co-operate with the principal designer for the verification of design and designer compliance and the co-ordination of the design
  • Co-operate with the principal contractor and contractors for design clarification and design during construction
  • Provide any information requested by the principal designer or principal contractor for the health and safety file

The CDM2015 Principal Contractor’s duties

The principal contractor has the major responsibility for safety and health during the construction phase of projects. The principal contractor is only required to be appointed on projects that have more than one contractor, and has the duties to:

  • Ensure that personnel allocated to their team from internal resources are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure that any designers or contractors that are engaged by them on the project are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate the construction phase and ensure that other contractors manage their own work, including inspections and audits
  • Prepare, develop, communicate, implement and amend the construction phase plan
  • Ensure the provision of adequate welfare facilities and site inductions, prevent unauthorised access to the site, prepare and enforce the site rules and manage effective co-operation and co-ordination between contractors
  • Make available to the other contractors key documents, e.g. health and safety file information, site surveys, designers’ information, risk assessments and the construction phase plan
  • Inform other contractors of their mobilisation time, which should be sufficient
  • Ensure the workforce is consulted on health and safety matters and provided with suitable inductions, information and training
  • Liaise with the principal designer for any design undertaken during the construction phase and provide information for the health and safety file.
  • Display the project notification on the site

The CDM2015 Contractor’s duties

The main contractors’ duties on all construction projects are:

  • Ensure that the client is aware of the client’s duties before commencing work
  • Ensure that personnel allocated to their team from internal resources are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure that any designers or contractors that are engaged by them on the project are skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and the organisation is capable
  • Ensure the provision of adequate welfare facilities for their workers
  • Manage their own work, including inspections and audits
  • On projects on which they are the only contractor, prepare, develop, communicate, implement and amend the construction phase plan
  • Comply with the requirements of CDM2015, Part 4
  • Communicate and co-operate with the client and designers
  • Consult with their workforce on health and safety matters and provide suitable inductions, information and training
  • Verify that adequate arrangements have been made to prevent unauthorised access to the site

On projects with more than one contractor the contractors’ additional duties are to:

  • Review the relevant parts of the construction phase plan produced by the principal contractor and inform the principal contractor of any perceived problems with the construction phase plan
  • Co-operate with the principal contractor and follow his reasonable directions
  • Co-operate and co-ordinate with other contractors and principal designer
  • Comply with the site rules and procedures
  • Provide the details of any of his sub-contractors to the principal contractor and sub-consultant designers to the principal designer
  • Inform the principal contractor of any perceived problems with the construction phase plan
  • Provide details of risk assessments and health and safety arrangements for his own work to the principal contractor for review
  • Provide information for the health and safety file to the principal contractor either for his completion of the file or for submission to the principal designer

Pre-construction information

The Client must provide information regarding the project, site and other relevant issues to the designers and contractors on all projects. This information will be included within the ‘pre-construction information’. This information will be useful for the designers in their attempts to eliminate or reduce risks by their design decisions, for tendering contractors to properly evaluate the work and the associated risks and the contractors performing the work in their management of health and safety on the site.

On projects with more than one contractor, the ‘pre-construction information’ must also be made available to the principal designer, who should assist the client in the identification, collection and dissemination of this information.

The pre-construction information may be discrete pieces of information in the form of drawings, reports, surveys, etc, either in electronic or hard copy format, with an index provided to all of the project team so that the information available is known to all.

For work performed for Home Adaptations, the following information is likely to form the pre-construction information, depending on the work involved and the location:

  • Address of the work location and type of property;
  • Planned construction commencement and duration;
  • The residents of the home, including children and pets;
  • Property access and egress during the work;
  • Welfare facilities for the residents during the work and the workforce;
  • Any asbestos containing materials that may be disturbed during the work;
  • The details of existing and new electrical, gas, water and waste systems affected by the work;
  • Ground conditions, if relevant;
  • Details of the new installations designed;
  • Any structural elements either added or disturbed by the work, including any temporary supports required;
  • What is required to be included in the Health and Safety File.

Welfare facilities

Each contractor must ensure that adequate welfare facilities are provided for their site personnel. These facilities may be provided by the contractors, but also may be provided by the principal contractor on projects with more than one contractor, or the client. All parties must ensure that they are, and remain adequate, including the requirement to keep them clean and tidy. These are as specified in CDM2015 Schedule 2.

For home adaptation projects the continued provision of welfare facilities to the residents must also be considered when planning the work.

This could involve making arrangements with the property owner, a neighbour or and adjacent commercial concern to use their toilet facilities, or supplying a mobile welfare unit. Work within the property bathroom would require arrangements to be made for the residents in addition to the contractors.

Design

A person is deemed to prepare a design where a design is prepared by a person under their control. In the context of the regulations, the term designer encompasses anyone who:

  1. Carries out design work
  2. Prepares specifications
  3. Prepares bills of quantities

Quite clearly there will be a number of organisations who might contribute to the design process throughout the life of the project. This will include contractors who carry out design as part of their work and will impose duties on those who propose variations for whatever reason.

Design duties are not restricted to the design of the permanent work but are also required by temporary works designers.

Local authority or government officials may give advice and instruction on designs meeting statutory requirements (e.g. the Building Regulations), but this does not make them designers. A designer may have no choice but to comply with these requirements which are a ‘design constraint’. However, if statutory bodies ask for particular features to be included or excluded which go beyond what the law requires, (e.g. stipulating the absence of edge protection on flat roofs where there is no basis in planning law or policies), then they may become designers under CDM2015 and must comply with its requirements.

The person who selects products for use in construction is a designer and must take account of health and safety issues arising from its use. If a product is purpose-built, the person who prepares the specification is a designer and so are manufacturers if they develop a detailed design.

Designers of standard items of plant will have assessed the health and safety implications of their design under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations and will have been UKCA marked and provided with a certificate of conformity or a certificate of incorporation. Only the selection and positioning of the plant is required to be considered by the ‘project’ designer, e.g. the location of a stairlift.

The designers’ duties to eliminate and reduce risks by design, so far as reasonably practicable, will involve designers in detailed discussions internally and externally to ensure that the design takes into account all known, or should be known, information and others designs.

This includes reducing risks to the constructors, users, maintainers, repairers, cleaners and any other persons potentially affected by the design.

Designers are required to effectively co-operate with other designers to co-ordinate their designs, and must communicate design information, including risks that remain and design assumptions to the client, other designers and contractors. If a principal designer and a principal contractor have been appointed, information must also be provided to them.

Construction Phase Plan

On projects with more than one contractor, the Principal Contractor has an absolute duty to prepare the Construction Phase Plan (CPP) prior to construction commencement, and develop, communicate, implement and amend the plan as necessary to maintain its sufficiency to effectively plan, manage and monitor the construction work. On projects with only one contractor, the contractor must prepare the construction phase plan.

This should ensure that the work is performed, so far as reasonably practicable, without risks to health and safety.

A CPP is a document that must record the:

  1. health and safety arrangements for the construction phase;
  2. site rules; and
  3. where relevant, specific measures concerning work that falls within one or more of the categories listed in Schedule 3.

The CPP must record the arrangements for managing the significant health and safety risks associated with the construction phase of a project. It is the basis for communicating these arrangements to all those involved in the construction phase so it should be easy to understand and be as simple as possible.

In considering what information is included, the emphasis is that it:

  1. is relevant to the project:
  2. has sufficient detail to clearly set out the arrangements, site rules and special measures needed to manage the construction phase ; but
  3. is still proportionate to the scale and complexity of the project and the risks involved.

The CPP should not include documents that get in the way of a clear understanding of what is needed to manage the construction phase, such as generic risk assessments, records of how decisions were reached or detailed safety method statements.

The following list of topics should be considered when drawing up the CPP:

  1. a description of the project such as key dates and details of key members of the project team;
  2. the management of the work includes:
    1. the site rules;
    2. arrangements to ensure cooperation between project team members and coordination of their work, e.g. regular site meetings;
    3. arrangements for involving workers;
    4. site induction;
    5. welfare facilities; and
    6. fire and emergency procedures;
  3. the control of any of the specific site risks.

A suggested format for the Pre-Construction Information (PCI) and Construction Phase Plan (CPP) considered appropriate for the majority of home adaptation projects is included below.

Pre-Construction Information and Construction Phase Plan

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology and are in the following formats: .pdf. Request an accessible format.

The Health and Safety File (HSF)

A new HSF is only required to be produced for the structures involved in projects with more than one contractor however, pre-existing HSFs will still need to be amended on projects with only one contractor.

The HSF should contain as-built records, with any inaccuracies being the responsibility of the record producer.

The HSF or HSFs can be in any format, but it is most important that it is convenient to the client. To achieve this the principal designer should, in consultation with the client, determine the format and content of the HSF or HSFs, and any important data requiring verification at a very early stage of the project.

For home adaptation projects a limited HSF should be provided for the home owner and should contain information that is likely to be needed to ensure H&S during any subsequent work such as use, maintenance, repair, cleaning, refurbishment or demolition, possibly including:

  1. a brief description of the work carried out;
  2. any hazards that have not been eliminated through the design and construction processes, and how they have been addressed (e.g. surveys or information concerning asbestos or contaminated land);
  3. key structural principles (e.g. bracing, sources of substantial stored energy – including pre or post-tensioned members) and safe working loads for floors and roofs;
  4. hazardous materials used (e.g. lead paints and special coatings);
  5. information regarding the removal or dismantling of installed plant and equipment (e.g. any special arrangements for lifting such equipment);
  6. H&S information about equipment installed, such as the manufacturer’s instructions for installing, maintaining and cleaning showers and enclosures;
  7. the nature, location and markings of significant services, including underground cables; gas supply equipment; fire-fighting services, etc;
  8. information and as-built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment (e.g. the means of safe access to and from service voids and fire doors).

For home adaptation projects the health and safety file, handed to the home owner, would normally be restricted to as-built drawings, electrical test certificates, building regulations certificates, and manufacturer’s instructions for any installed equipment, such as stairlifts. This would be in hard copy, preferably in an indexed folder.

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