We’ve provided an overview of the health and safety aspects to consider when dealing with hazardous materials below but this is no replacement for our full CDM 2015 Guidance on General Materials which is available for download.

Hazardous materials have the potential to cause serious ill-health, and present a risk to workers in any construction project. Know how to recognise them, and how to deal with them.

Every construction project involves the transporting, bringing-together and placing of materials. When those materials are hazardous they can cause serious health problems for those who come into contact with them.

The risks

Hazardous materials have the potential to cause serious ill-health to those who come into contact with them. Their effects can be cumulative (chronic) or immediate (acute).

Sources of hazardous materials

It is important for designers to identify all potential sources of hazardous material. Some contaminants may already exist on the site while others may emerge during the construction process. Pre-existing hazards and those arising from the construction process should both be identified and highlighted to the contractor where appropriate.

Controlling hazards by design

Hazards can be controlled during the detailed design stage. You should assess which hazardous materials are present or likely to be created during the construction process and the possible risks they might pose.

Taking care with chemicals

If you are specifying chemicals within a design then make sure to familiarise yourself with their risks first. You can do this by consulting the manufacturers’ material data sheets. You can then advise the contractor of these risks and take steps to reduce them where possible.

Sharing information about residual risks

A designer may create a design with risks and it is essential that you convey information about these to the contractor to enable them to be managed effectively.

Download the full guide:


Other useful SID CDM 2015 Guidance:

  • Asbestos survey and management
  • Lead-based paint survey and management
  • Excavations
  • Demolition, dismantling and decommission
  • Management of the works: the health and safety plan
  • Management of the post-project information: the health and safety file