Everyone in the construction industry is obliged to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). These regulations set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves – and anyone the work affects – from harm. These regulations also apply to self builders although the degree to which they apply depends on the type of project.
If a self builder is building a home they will live in and it is not being constructed part of a business they are classed as a ‘domestic client’.
If the self builder is carrying out the work for a business purpose, or because they intend to sell the property on, they are not a ‘domestic client’ and the whole of CDM 2015 applies to them.
Self Build scenarios
- The self builder does it all himself, employs no contractors, and uses the structure constructed as a home to live in afterwards. This will be a DIY project because no-one involved is ‘at work’ in the meaning of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The self builder appoints an architect or designer as Designer or Principal Designer and that person or business to take on the client duties on behalf of the self builder. In this instance the Principal Designer may also be appointed as Principal Contractor. In this case the self builder has no legal duties beyond the appointment of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor
- The self builder employs a contractor to carry out construction work, and then appoints that contractor as Principal Contractor. In this case the self builder again has no legal duties beyond the initial appointments of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor
- The self builder acts as their own project manager, employing individual trades at different times. In this instance the self builder steps out of the DIY arena, because they are taking control of construction work. Where a self builder controls the way in which construction work is carried out, by a person at work, they must comply with Part 4 of CDM 2015 This requirement is set out in Regulation 16 of CDM 2015. The HSE will expect self builders to demonstrate sufficient health and safety capability to meet the requirements of the regulations. Individual contractors will be expected to advise the self builder on specialist matters within their own work activities. HSE’s expectation of a self builder in this position will be one of co-ordination and management, not of direct supervision of contractors on site. The self builder is entitled to expect contractors to plan, manage and monitor their own work in compliance with CDM 2015.