The Principal Designer’s role is to plan, manage and monitor the design process to co-ordinate health and safety.
Except on the smallest projects, the client has a legal obligation to appoint a Principal Designer. The Principal Designer must be a designer and must have control over the design process. As architects, we are ideally placed to fulfil this role and, having provided CDM Co-ordinator services for many years, we have the necessary knowledge and experience.
The role of the Principal Designer was introduced by the 2015 changes to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. Although the duties are similar, a Principal Designer is not a direct replacement for a CDM Co-ordinator, whose role was abolished by the revised regulations.
- Notifies the HSE of the project (on behalf of the client), including updates as required.
The client, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor are together responsible for managing health and safety on a construction project. The client has overall responsibility and the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor take the lead on different aspects of the project.
The Principal Designer’s role covers any period during which design or preparatory work is carried out on a project, which usually continues into the construction stage.
The Principal Designer:
- Assists the client in identifying, obtaining and collating the pre-construction information
- Provides pre-construction information to designers, the Principal Contractor and other contractors
- Ensures that designers comply with their duties and co-operate with each other
- Liaises with the Principal Contractor
- Prepares the Health and Safety File for the client to retain after completion of the project.
To ensure that health and safety are firmly integrated in the project, the Principal Designer must develop close working relationships with the client, the rest of the design team and the Principal Contractor.