Fri, July 10, 2015


​In light of the recently introduced Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), FMA Process Engineering Ltd., of Lichfield, looks at some of the changed responsibilities now faced by organisations embarking on construction projects.

“After speaking to several organisations, we were concerned that they were either unaware of the new regulations or unaware of the new  responsibilities facing them since the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 were revoked on 6 April 2015,” comments FMA’s Engineering Director, Geoff Fisher.


“With that in mind, we thought it worthwhile to consider the key changes brought about by CDM 2015 and how they might impact on organisations and their construction projects. It is essential that organisations are fully aware of their new duties and adhere to them. There is a transitional period for the new requirements that runs until 6 October 2015, but only applies to projects started before 6 April

Introducing the Principal Designer

Under the CDM 2015 Regulations, the role of CDM Co-ordinator (under CDM 2007) has been removed and a new Principal Designer role created (a role that can be held by an individual or an organisation). The responsibility for planning, managing, monitoring and co-ordinating the pre-construction phase of a project now lies with that new entity – the Principal Designer.

However, the client must take steps to ensure those appointed are competent and that they carry out their duties accordingly. This includes making suitable arrangements for managing the project in question, providing all necessary pre-construction information, including the preparation of a project or client’s brief, and ensuring that proper welfare facilities are provided.

In essence, the 2015 CDM Regulations recognise the influence and status of the client as the head of the supply chain and, in doing so, give that individual or organisation ultimate responsibility for setting, controlling and maintaining standards throughout the project. Put simply, the client (the individualororganisation) is now directly accountable for the impact of its decisions on – and approach to – project health, safety and welfare.

Integrating health and safety considerations into the design process

“Principal Designers are required to co-ordinate all the designers on a project, to lead design review meetings, to liaise with the Principal Contractor, to obtain and collate the pre-construction information and to develop and prepare the health and
safety file,” says Geoff Fisher. “In other words, the Principal Designer function is intended to integrate health and safety considerations into the design process, balancing and co-ordinating health and safety and design from the initial design stage.”

Construction phase plan

Unlike CDM 2007, where projects that weren’t notifiable were exempt, written construction phase plans are now required for all construction projects. The Principal Contractor has the responsibility of producing the construction phase plan, relevant sections of which must be issued to all contractors before or at the point of tender. The level of detail should be proportionate to the risks involved in the project. 


CDM 2015 has also brought a change to the notification threshold for projects. The responsibility for notification under the regulations now lies with the client, with a project only becoming notifiable if the work is expected to last longer than 30 days –and have more than 20 individuals working simultaneously on the project at any point or exceed 500 person days in duration. Clients should notify the HSE as soon as they can. See:

Greater scrutiny

FMA Process Engineering highlights the fact that competence is also put under greater scrutiny in CDM 2015. It is now split into the following component parts: skills, knowledge, training and experience and – when relating to an organisation – organisational capability. This change has been made to provide clarity and help ensure that project teams have the right capabilities to deliver safe and healthy projects.

“I urge any client company that is about to embark on a new project to appoint a Principal Designer as soon as possible and, when doing so, take the necessary steps to ensure the Project Designer’s competence in all relevant disciplines,” adds Geoff Fisher. “In our sector, competence could include process design, civils, electrical and mechanical engineering. With a carefully chosen Principal Designer in place at the pre-design stage, you will be in a much better position to release documents for tender that contain all the necessary pre-construction information,” he concludes.

FMA: ensuring compliance with CDM 2015

Offering more than 30 years’ expertise in providing innovative consultancy, project management and project solutions, FMA Process Engineering has thoroughly reviewed the new 2015 CDM Regulations and put systems in place in order to provide its clients with the assurance that it is fully qualified to act as Principal Designer and Principal Contractor for a wide range of projects.

Under CDM 2015, the duty holders are:

  • Client
  • PrincipalDesigner
  • PrincipalContractor
  • Designers
  • Contractors
  • Workers 
When appointed as Principal Designer, FMA Process Engineering can:
  • Advise and assist clients in developing the project brief
  • Advise and assist clients in identifying, obtaining and collating the
  • Advise a client on any shortfalls in project information and how to address those
  • Provide the pre-construction information to designers and the principal contractor
  • Lead design review meetings
  • Ensure that designers comply with their duties
  • Prepare and develop a health and safety file

To discuss the implications of CDM 2015 and how they might affect your projects, please contact FMA Process Engineering on +44 (0)1543 255152, or email:

About FMA Process Engineering
Founded in 1981, FMA provides innovative consultancy, project management and project solutions across the global brewing & drink, dairy, food, healthcare and sustainability sectors. A leading provider of automation and control services, as well as mechanical and electrical installations, FMA offers unrivalled expertise in liquid processing, with a particular focus on the brewing and dairy industries. Totally independent, FMA takes pride in creating bespoke solutions and offers expertise across all stages of project life cycles, including: masterplan development, feasibility studies, capital justification, front-end engineering and detailed design, right through to full turnkey project


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