Health and 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 factors may charge an additional fee to cover contract management costs - check your Written Statement of Services).

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 and Safety Executive Public Register of Enforcement Notices
  • asking to see the firm's health and safety policy (if they have more than five 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.

Are you 'domestic clients' - the position of landlords and shop owners

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 led by an owner-occupier, then you are all classed as domestic clients. Others argue that because one owner is a commercial client, the whole group of owners is 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