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The Health and Safety File [H&S File] is a Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 [CDM15] legislative requirement on all notifiable construction projects involving more than one contractor.

The H&S File is a vital document that must be presented as part of achieving Practical Completion on a project.

It is distinct from the Building Manual and contains information to facilitate future operation, cleaning, maintenance, alterations and demolition activities, to be carried out safely.

It is a powerful tool to protect those who are working on current and future construction projects.

Key Responsibilities
The Client:
The client’s duty is to ensure the principal designer (or nominated specialist provider) prepares the H&S File on a project and is reviewed and updated as the project progresses. At project completion, the client must retain the file and ensure it is made readily available for anyone who may need it. If the building is sold, the client must handover the file to the individual or company that takes on the client duties.
Principle Designer:
The principle designer is responsible for preparing the Health & Safety file on behalf of the client or where an external consultant is appointed, providing final sign-off of the completed file. The principle designer will liaise with the client and agree the content and structure of the file at the project outset. At project completion, the principle designer must present the updated file to the client.
Principle Contractor:
The principal contractor plays a secondary role in ensuring the H&S File is fit for purpose. They must supply the principal designer (or appointed specialist provider) with any information deemed necessary for inclusion in the file. If the principle designer’s appointment finishes before the end of the project, the contractor must deliver the file along with any other documents stipulated in the EIRs, directly to the client at project completion.


person on crane

What information is required in an H&S File?
The scope, structure and format of the file should be agreed between the client and the principal designer at the start of the project.

A fully CDM15 compliant Health and Safety File will typically include the following;

  • Any hazards not eliminated through the design and construction processes and how they have been addressed, i.e. surveys or other information concerning asbestos or contaminated land
  • Key structural principles and safe working loads for floors and roofs
  • Hazardous materials used i.e. special coatings and lead paints
  • Information regarding removal and dismantling of installed plant and equipment
  • Health and Safety information about equipment provided for cleaning or maintaining the structure
  • The nature and location of significant services i.e. underground cables, gas supply equipment etc.
  • Information and as built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment


“Createmaster have been very helpful with their assistance in the production of the O&M Manuals and Health & Safety Files on our behalf.”
Senior Design Manager – BAM Construction

What can be excluded from an H&S File?
The file shouldn’t include any information that has no relevance in planning future construction work, such as;
  • Pre-construction information or the construction phase plan
  • Construction phase risk assessments, method statements and COSHH assessments
  • Details for the normal operation of the completed structure
  • Construction phase accident statistics
  • Contractual documents
  • Information about structures or parts of structures that have been demolished unless there are any implications for remaining or future structures like voids
  • Information contained in other documents, although relevant cross references should be included
At project handover
The updated Health & Safety File must be presented to the client at the end of the project. It is important the client understands the structure and content of the file and its significance for any future project.

The client has a duty to retain the Health & Safety file and make it available to anyone who may need it for as long as it remains relevant. If the building is sold it should be passed on to the new owners and updated for any future works.

Format for handover
The file should be kept as a live document, typically over the course of a building’s life. Because this will likely be decades, we recommend hosting electronically in the cloud. This prevents the typical problems associated with paper copies such as loss or damage, whilst ensuring the file is easily updated and accessible.

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