Health and safety onsite in construction is a big issue and very often smaller building companies don’t seem to think it affects them. However, back in 2015 things changed and the builder on your domestic project is now very much responsible for the health and safety.

This article runs through the responsibilities they have so you can ensure the firm you hire takes the required actions. It is also a reminder that as a domestic client (homeowner/anyone hiring a builder for personal not business use) you should make yourself aware of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) so you can understand your role in hiring an appropriately experienced and responsible builder.

Why did the regulations get brought in?

This happened because most of the time domestic clients don’t have any experience in building projects and how to manage one or what is and isn’t acceptable practice. So CDM 2015 was introduced to take the onus off of the client and onto other dutyholders. 

So, who IS responsible for the health and safety on my project?

The dutyholders mentioned above can be one the following: the contractor if it is a single contractor, the principal contractor if there is more than one, or in cases of multiple contractors the client may choose someone to project manage the whole thing such as an architect or designer. In the case of a project manager/designer they will have a written agreement to be in charge and take on the client’s duties and are named the principal designer. 

What is my role?

You still play a role and need to do your best to choose someone who can come in and do the work without causing anyone undue harm. You can do this by asking some questions about a firm’s track record in managing risk in health and safety on previous projects and allowing enough in the budget and agreed timescale for work to be carried out safely.

What is the role of the principal contractor or designer?

Under the regulations they take on the responsibility of the domestic client for health and safety on the project and ensuring no person comes to harm. 

They should do this by: 

  • sensibly planning the work so the risks involved are managed from start to finish
  • having the correct people for the right job at the appropriate time
  • coordinating and cooperating their work with others
  • having up-to-date risk assessment information 
  • efficiently communicating information on the risks and how to manage them to those who need to know
  • engaging and consulting with workers about the risks and how they are being managed.

Overall, the main factor is engaging a firm on your behalf who you are confident can take responsibility for the health and safety on your project. It may feel like health and safety gets a rough ride sometimes as its reputation gets taken out of context by people, but the bottom line is you want the work being carried out to be done safely and with no unnecessary risk, choose carefully and use some due diligence. 

More information can be found at this helpful Government website Health & Safety Executive here  

If you want to speak to a construction firm that understands health and safety onsite and knows how to get it right, please call KT5 Construction on 0845 053 7224 or drop us an email at

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