Principal Designer Services


Principal Designer & Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)


What is a Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer can be an organisation or individual. They are appointed by the client to take the lead role in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating Health and Safety during the pre-construction phase (Design & Planning stage) of a project.

They do not have to carry out actual design work on the project.

Why is a Principal Designer important?

A Principal Designer has an important role in influencing how the Health and Safety risks are managed and incorporated into the wider management of a project.

Design decisions taken during the pre-construction phase can have a significant effect on whether a project is delivered in a safe manner. The principal designer's role involves close cooperation with the client and the Principal Contractor, and coordinating the work of others in the project team to ensure that significant and foreseeable risks are managed throughout the design process.

Which projects require a Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer must be appointed in writing by the client where a project involves, or is likely to involve, more than one contractor.

When should a Principal Designer be appointed?

A Principal Designer should be appointed by the client as early as possible in the design process, and where practicable, at the concept stage of the project.

How long should a Principal Designer be appointed for?

The duration of a Principal Designer's appointment should consider any design work which may continue into the construction phase or any issues that may arise during construction involving the need to make suitable modifications to the designs.

A Principal Designer should be in place for as long as there is a need for their role to be performed, but where their appointment finishes before the end of the project, they should fully brief the Principal Contractor on matters arising from designs relevant to any subsequent construction work.

Who can be a Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer must be able to demonstrate they have the Health and Safety skills, knowledge and experience (SKE), and where they are an organisation, the organisational capability, to carry out the work they are being appointed for. The level of SKE should be proportionate to the complexity of the project and the range and nature of the risks involved.

Construction Project phases Explained…

Pre-Construction Phase The pre-construction phase refers to the phase prior to any construction work commencing and is intended to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development and planning so that the risk of harm to those who construct, use and maintain structures is reduced to an acceptable level.

Construction Phase The construction phase refers to the phase when construction works starts ending once all construction works are completed. During the construction phase designs may be created, amended and/or removed.

Post Construction Phase Although there is no specific definition of “post construction phase” in the CDM regulations, there are duties that must be carried out at or after project completion, this is therefore generally referred to as the post construction phase.

During this phase the health and safety risks which remain from use, maintenance and cleaning must be assessed. The client must be provided with any relevant information of the project including construction materials used.

Information on critical structural details which may affect future alterations and planned demolition, or dismantling must also be provided.

This information must be provided within the Health and Safety file.

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