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This section has CDM and Health and Safety Plans towards the end.

Any works for a new build or any UK commercial jobs (not home-owner jobs) will have to have a full set of Health and Safety documentation. Your main builder will sort this out as they are the contractor responsible for it.

The Architect will also make sure all legislation is complied with. If you break down a job and do the project management yourself, you are overall responsible as the 'main contractor'.

These regulations have got a lot stricter in 2007. It is a complex field, and documents are better - less risk! - if produced by a specialist company. We used to produce a method statement and a standard list of risks on a building site - from cuts and bruises to getting stuck in a hole - which was monitored by the contractors. This is no longer good enough as full risk assessments have to be in place before any quotes.

A comprehensive site Construction Phase Health and Safety Management System is required. Many companies now provide this as a service, as builders and architects find it too complex and too risky to handle themselves. This has led to an increase in project delays and bureaucracy, as a slow (since not part of the project team) third party company now has to assess and pass everything before even quoting can start.

The problem with these levels of bureaucracy and 'inspection mania' is that people will cheat - which will lead to fraud and corruption. It also squeezes out small companies as the overheads get too high - and so it suits the big house builders who can just employ a new department to deal with it all.

As a minor example, we had a small insurance job, a crack in a wall in a recess of a chimney breast; the work description is a sentence or two, and some measurements. Since it was an insurance job, the CDM laws had to be followed. The CDM documentation for this job was about 30 pages, which is always attached on every iteration of the paperwork. This has wasted about 90-150 (at least) pages of A4 printer paper, and the energy associated with it. One copy will then be filed by the recipients, and the rest recycled, as it is too much to store.

Generally, the more that wonderful regulations are invented to improve things, the more they result in a vast waste of resources, as the processing of the paperwork, the bureaucracy and red tape, use a huge amount of energy in themselves.

So we will give you some lists here, make sure you check your CDM responsibilities thoroughly before any works are started as you will be responsible for any accidents. There are links at the end to useful sites.

Health Safety CDM Building DIY Book cover

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (superceding 1994 regs) - CDM

Building owners (or land owners starting works) have legal responsibilities in for the Health & Safety of design, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings they own or building works they commission. The aim of the new regulations is to:

The CDM 2007 Regulations apply to most common building, civil engineering and engineering construction work. You must notify the Health & Safety Executive of the site if the construction work is expected to either:

HSE should be notified in writing before construction work starts (use form F10). Your notification should be sent to the HSE office nearest to the proposed site.


All work on fixed electrical installations and gas or water systems has to comply with relevant standards; this means works should be done by a registered and qualified technician who can self-certify, or you have to submit plans to the local Council for Building Regulations.

This principle also applies to electrical and plumbing work. Anything to do with boilers has to be signed off by a Corgi registered plumber. Electrical work standards are controlled by the IEE - Institution of Electrical Engineers. NICEIC Certification is required for domestic works. This is because these systems can be fatal if not properly installed and tested. However changing bulbs, or even sockets, or taps etc, count as DIY as they do not affect the basic system. See part P of the Building Regulations January 2005.

[CDM also stands for Clean Development Mechanism, an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol]

Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health - COSHH

Varies according to the type of build. Most low rise eco builds are safer than high tech steel and glass builds. A lot of eco builds use a lot of new technologies which usually have large use of resins, laminates, etc, which might have specialist H&S requirements.

For example, low energy bulbs (and fluorescent lights) are dangerous as they contain high levels of mercury. If a box was smashed, the area would have to be cleared due to a risk of mercury poisoning.

Construction (Design and Management) - CDM

This type of analysis is needed for all building, construction or maintenance works, for:

Health and Safety Plan

A full Health and Safety plan for the construction phase of a project might include risk analysis and documentation for:


Government Health & Safety Executive


Electrical and Gas safety