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7th March, 2016

CDM 2015 principal designer duties explained

CDM 2015 introduced the role of principal designer, and with this new role comes new duties. What are these new duties? Here are the CDM 2015 principal designer duties explained.

CDM 2015 defines the principal designer as the designer with control over the pre-construction phase of the project.

The pre-construction phase is everything up to work starting on site. This is when most of the design and planning takes place, so it makes sense that the principal designer should lead this process.

Principal designers are responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase of the project.

One of the principal designer duties is to coordinate matters relating to health and safety during the pre-construction phase.

This includes preparing and providing relevant information to other duty holders, identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks, ensuring designers carry out their duties and liaising with the principal contractor to help in the planning, management and monitoring of the construction phase.

Ensuring designers carry out there duties should be more than a tick box exercise of gathering information, but also managing design decisions surrounding design, technical and organisational aspects.

Principal designers must therefore not only identify eliminate or control foreseeable risks in their own design but also make sure this risk management is applied to all elements of the design.

The principal designer is also required to assist the client in the provision of the pre-construction information, which will include gathering existing information relating to the site, and filling any gaps.

It is also the principal designer's duty to provide the pre-construction information to every designer and contractor appointed, or being considered for appointment. This is important information that will include site specific hazards, and help others plan to ensure their work and involvement in the project is carried out safely.

The principal designer duties don't end at the pre-construction phase of the project, duties throughout the construction phase include liaising with the principal contractor and sharing information relevant to the planning, management and monitoring of the construction phase and the coordination of health and safety matters during the construction phase.

This will also include assisting the principal contractor in preparing the construction phase plan by providing to the principal contractor all information the principal designer holds that is relevant to the construction phase plan.

The principal designer is also responsible for the preparation of the health and safety file. This should be initially drafted and the format agreed at the start of the project and reviewed, updated and revised from time to time to take account of the work and any changes that have occurred.

Where the principal designers appointment continues to the completion of the project, they are responsible for handing over the health and safety file to the client, or, should the appointment terminate prior to completion of works on site, they must hand over the health and safety file to the principal contractor.

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