How To Appoint A Principal Designer Under CDM 2015 header image

1st May, 2015

How To Appoint A Principal Designer Under CDM 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) introduced a new role of principal designer, as an important duty holder that must be appointed on all projects with more than one contractor.

It is the clients duty to make this appointment, but how do you appoint a principal designer and comply with CDM 2015?

Identifying the correct person to carry out this role is key to complying with the new regulations.

Rather than a straight swap for the former role of CDM coordinator, the principal designer should be a designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project.

Whereas before (under CDM 2007), additional duty holders were only required on notifiable projects, under the new regulations, notification is not the trigger for additional appointments.

All key appointments must be made on any project with more than one contractor.

Even a small none-notifiable refurbishment project with a plumber and a decorator should, therefore, have a principal designer appointed under the new regulations.

5. Appointment of the principal designer and the principal contractor

(1) Where there is more than one contractor, or if it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project at any time, the client must appoint in writing—

(a) a designer with control over the pre-construction phase as principal designer; and

(b) a contractor as principal contractor.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The CDM 2015 regulations specify that the appointment of both the principal contractor and principal designer must be made in writing.

This is especially important if you have more that one designer working on your project, as this written appointment gives a clear instruction on who is taking on the additional requirements of the principal designer role.

Of course, all designers will have duties under CDM 2015, however, the principal designer has duties in addition to their duties as a Designer, including taking control of health and safety at the pre-construction phase of the project, and assisting the Client with CDM requirements.

When choosing your principal designer, it is important to remember that the principal designer must be a designer on the project and be in a position to have control over
the design and planning stage.

The principal designer must have the right skills and experience to be able to perform the role.

The principal designer will usually be an organisation or, on smaller projects, an individual with:

  • a technical knowledge of the construction industry, relevant to the project
  • an understanding of how health and safety is managed through the design process
  • the skills to be able to oversee health and safety during the pre-construction phase of the project and the ongoing design.

As a client, your duty under CDM regarding the principal designer does not end at appointment. You must also take reasonable steps to ensure the principal designer complies with the principal designer duties.

This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

Need CDM Help?

Get CDM support on your construction projects with our free guides and support packs for all duty holders.

CDM Support

Recent posts like this...

CDM Planning Period And How Much Time You Need

The CDM regulations say that clients must allow sufficient time for each stage of the project, in fact it's the first client duty. How much time should be allowed for the planning and preparation period of a construction project, to comply with this duty under CDM?

Read Post

CDM 2015 Principal Contractor Duties Explained

CDM 2015 requires a principal contractor to be appointed by the client on any construction project with more than one contractor. The role of principal contractor carries additional CDM duties and responsibilities. Here are the CDM 2015 principal contractor duties explained.

Read Post

Can The Principal Contractor Be The Principal Designer?

A question we are often asked regarding CDM and the new CDM 2015 regulations is, can the principal contractor be the principal designer? The principal designer should be the designer in overall control of the pre-construction phase of the project. This is usually the architect.

Read Post

HASpod makes health and safety simple.

Learn More