Health & Safety

You have a legal responsibility to consider health and safety matters on every building contract. If you employ a professional to manage building work, they will take over all these responsibilities.

Proper health and safety procedures need to be considered in every building contract.  If you have a property manager (factor) this will be their responsibility to arrange. (Some may charge an additional fee to cover contract management costs – check your Written Statement.)

If you have employed an architect or surveyor to specify and manage your building contract, they will undertake all the practical and regulatory work.

If you are a domestic client and letting a contract of any size, you are responsible for making reasonable inquiries about the firm’s knowledge of health and safety risks and their track record in managing risk. 

Checking out contractors for health and safety

Checks should include:

  • checking the  Health & Safety Executive Public Register of Enforcement Notices
  • asking to see the firm’s health and safety policy (if they have more than 5 employees)
  • asking to be shown any required licenses - electricians must be Part P approved by one of the electrical bodies such as NICEIC, NAPIT, or ECA; gas installers must be on the Gas Safe register
  • asking the contractor what risk assessment they have carried out

These responsibilities come from the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. 

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM)

These regulations aim to make sure a construction project is safe to build, use and maintain.  The regulations also say who is a domestic client and who is a commercial client. Commercial clients have to take a much more prominent and active role in health and safety management.

The regulations are quite clear if everyone in the block is an owner-occupier – you are all domestic clients.  If an owner is a landlord or shopkeeper, then the construction is being carried out in connection with a business and the landlord or shop keeper is classed as a commercial client. 

If you are a mixed group of owners and landlords or shop owners, the situation is less clear.  Some people say that if the project is being lead by an owner-occupier, then you are all classed as domestic clients.  Other argue that because one owner is a commercial client, the whole group of owners is a classed as a commercial client. 

Appointing an architect or surveyor or your property factor as the “Principal Designer”  in the  health and safety process will take the burden of these responsibilities away from you as owners.

Further information

Your role as a domestic client under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

Health and Safety Executive Guidance on the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015