CDM Regulations


The Health & Safety File is a requirement under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (usually referred to as the CDM Regulations).

The CDM Regulations are aimed at improving the overall management and co-ordination of health, safety and welfare throughout all stages of a construction project to reduce the large numbers of serious and fatal accidents and cases of ill health which occur every year in the construction industry.

The CDM Regulations place duties on all those who can contribute to the health and safety of a construction project.  The Regulations place duties upon clients, designers, contractors and planning supervisors, and require the production of certain documents - the Health & Safety Plan and the Health & Safety File.

The Health & Safety File

The Health & Safety File is a record of information for the client or the end user, which focuses on health and safety.  The information it contains will alert those who are responsible for the structure of the key health and safety risks that will need to be dealt with during subsequent maintenance, repair and construction work.

The amount of detail needed in the Health & Safety File and the time and effort required to prepare it should be in proportion to the scale and complexity of the structure.  Structures with minimal health and safety risks will call for simple, straightforward files.  Large structures or those involving significant risks will need more detail.

Preparing the Health & Safety File

The Principal Designer is responsible for ensuring the Health & Safety File is prepared.  Putting together the Health & Safety File is a task, which should ideally be a continual process throughout the project and not left until the construction work is completed.  Early on in the construction project the Principal Designer may find it useful to discuss the Health & Safety File with the client.  This will help determine what information the client requires and how the client wishes the information to be stored and recorded.

When the client's requirements are known, procedures may need to be drawn up by the Principal Designer so that all those who will be contributing to the Health & Safety File (e.g. designers and contractors) are aware of:

1. What information is to be collected;

2. How the information is to be collected, presented & stored.

The Principal Designer may find it useful to detail in the pre-tender stage Health & Safety Plan requirements on how and when the information for the Health & Safety File is to be prepared and passed on.

The Principal Contractor may also find it useful to include similar procedures in the Health and Safety Plan for the construction phase.  Throughout the project those who carry out design work (including contractors) will need to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that information about any feature of the structure which will involve significant risks to health and safety during the structure's lifetime are passed to either the Principal Designer or to the Principal Contractor.

Providing this information on drawings will allow for amendments if any variations arise during construction.  It will also allow health and safety information to be stored on one document, therefore reducing the paperwork.

The Principal Designer may need to obtain details of services, plant and equipment, which are part of the structure from specialist suppliers and installers, e.g. mechanical and electrical contractors, and pass this information on.  Contractors have a specific duty in the CDM Regulations to pass information for Health & Safety File to the Principal Contractor, who in turn has to pass it to the Principal Designer.

This information should include ‘final construction' and 'as installed' drawings as well as operation and maintenance manuals.  At the end of the project the Principal Designer (or if his services have been concluded the Principal Contractor) has to hand over Health & Safety File to the client.  In some cases it might not be possible for a fully developed file to be handed over on completion of the project. This may happen because the construction work was finished rapidly to meet a tight deadline and completion of the Health & Safety File was impossible.

Clearly a common sense approach is needed so that the Health and Safety File is handed over as soon as practical after a completion certificate or similar document has been issued. 

Participation Statement

“We believe in early participation so that there is no rush at the end to complete the manuals to facilitate a timely release of the CMGD”