If you are planning to undertake work, plan to do it safely. Engage the services of a professional. As a private residential client having work  carried out on your own home you are not expected have any knowledge of the Construction Design & Management ( CDM ) 2015 Regulations, neither do you have any duties and responsibilities. However, the professionals you engage, the architect, architectural designer, building surveyor, and/or builder must provide you with professional advice that protects your welfare and that of your neighbours and visitors and workers. That duty of care exists in law.  Who ever is appointed to carry out the design work for you, usually an architect or other suitably qualified professional has duties under the CDM regulations. This they must fulfil. These duties include at design stage assessing potential risks to health from hazardous materials (asbestos), Silica dust, Radon ( if new build ) contaminated ground etc,  and providing advise to the client of any action required to determine the existence of materials and why. This would always be in the form of a pre construction phase survey.

Some grades of asbestos was banned from use in building in 1985 and it was not until 1999 that all products using asbestos were banned in the UK. It is unlikely that properties built after 2000 will have any asbestos products, but in order to be on the safe side an architect or architectural designer will advise the client to have a Type 3 Survey before any building works commence.. This will ensure the welfare of the building occupants, visitors, neighbours and builders workforce, be they directly employed or otherwise.

When designing, the architect, or architectural designer, has a duty as a ‘designer’ to consider and assess existing potential hazards and wherever possible take steps to eliminate or wherever possible significantly reduce the risk. The client needs to be aware that they may appoint the architect or architectural designer (Designers) to take on the role of Principal Designer to coordinate information that is to be shared with other designers and contractors.  

How the information is communicated is also important so that it is more likely to be reliably passed onto to any number of builders or sub contractors that may be invited to provide quotations and ultimately be engaged to carry out the works.

IN SUMMARY: Working as a designer for a domestic client is no different to working for a commercial client. However, the domestic client’s legal duties are normally taken on by the contractor (or the principal contractor on projects involving more than one contractor) and the designer must work to them as ‘client’ under CDM 2015. Alternatively, the domestic client can ask the principal designer to take on the client duties, although this must be confirmed in a written agreement. Where the project involves more than one contractor and the domestic client does not appoint a principal designer, the role of the principal designer must be carried out by the designer in control of the pre-construction phase.