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19th October, 2015

CDM 2015 What Does A Principal Designer Do?

The 2015 updates to the CDM Regulations (CDM 2015) introduced the role of the Principal Designer, and many of the questions our team are asked surround this new role.

We recently posted about who the Principal Designer is, and how to appoint the correct person or organisation for this role.

But what is it that the Principal Designer does?

The clue, in this case, really is in the name.

For many who are familiar with CDM 2007, will know and understand the role of Principal Contractor. The Principal Contractor controls the construction phase and manages all the other contractors on the project. While there can be many contractors, there can only be one Principal Contractor appointed on the project at any one time.

Similarly, we now have the Principal Designer. The Principal Designer controls the pre-construction phase (the design and planning phases - basically everything leading up to work starting on site) and manages all the other designers on the project.

While there can be many designers, there can only be one Principal Designer appointed on the project at any one time.

As a member of the design team, the Principal Designer will have the designer duties, just like all the other designers (for projects will multiple design elements, e.g. structural, mechanical, electrical etc).

The Principal Designer must also carry out some additional duties which include:

  • Planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase
  • Coordinating matters relating to health and safety during the pre-construction phase
  • Manage design decisions surrounding design, technical and organisational aspects
  • Identify and eliminate or control foreseeable risks to the health or safety of any person constructing, maintaining or using the structure
  • Ensure all the other designers also comply with their duties
  • Ensure that all persons working in relation to the pre-construction phase cooperate with the client, the principal designer and each other
  • Assist the client in the provision of the pre-construction information
  • Provide the pre-construction information to every designer and contractor appointed, or being considered for appointment
  • Liaise with the principal contractor for the duration of their appointment
  • Share with the principal contractor information relevant to the planning, management and monitoring of the construction phase and the coordination of health and safety matters during the construction phase
  • Assist 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
  • Prepare the health and safety file
  • Ensure the health and safety file is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised from time to time to take account of the work and any changes that have occurred

So as you can see, the Principal Designer takes on quite a number of additional duties on top of the normal CDM designer duties.

What does a Principal Designer do under CDM 2015? Quite a bit!

This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and a degree in construction management. She is NEBOSH qualified and a member of IOSH.

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