What is a Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer (PD) can either be an organisation or individual dependent on the size and complexity of a project and, plays a key part within the project team. The role requires the PD to plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase and coordinate matters relating to Health & Safety, ensuring that so far as is reasonably practicable, the project is carried out without risks to health & safety.

The Importance of a Principal Designer

The changes to the CDM (Construction, Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) place specific duties on the client in terms of the overall management of a project. The Principal Designer must be appointed in writing on any project where there is more than one contractor. If this appointment is not made, the sole responsibilities and execution of these duties will default back to the client.

In some cases, the client may not possess the suitable skills or knowledge necessary to carry out Principal Designer duties in accordance with CDM 2015 and, if any health & safety breaches were to occur, the client runs the risk of exposing themselves to investigation and possible prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Penalties often include heavy fines and it doesn’t stop there; compensation, loss of production, cost of finding additional resources and potential compensation pay-outs are an inevitable fallout, not to mention; the loss of business, reputation and of course the legal costs and fines, which in some cases can be levied against the individual. In the most serious cases, those found guilty can run the risk of a custodial sentence.

Therefore, it is recommended you appoint an external Principal Designer who will advise you of your legal duties and ensure that the health and safety and coordination in design follow the requirements of CDM 2015 and associated legislation, giving you the peace of mind that you are both complying with your duties and that the project is being properly coordinated and managed.

Henry Riley Principal Designers

At Henry Riley, our Principal Designers are fully qualified to coordinate, advise and influence design matters relating to health and safety in the pre-construction phase of your project. They have specialist technical knowledge of the construction industry and can coordinate with the design team to prepare or modify designs to ensure that they comply with the requirements of CDM 2015.

The Principal Designers must:

  • Identify and eliminate or control, so far as is reasonably practicable, foreseeable risks to the health or safety of any person
    a) carrying out or liable to be affected by construction work;
    b) maintaining or cleaning a structure; or
    c) using a structure designed as a workplace.
  • Ensure all designers comply with their duties in regulation 9.
  • Make sure 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 pre-construction information in a prompt and convenient manner to every designer and contractor appointed or being considered for appointment to the project, so far as it is within the principal designer’s control.
  • Liaise with the principal contractor for the duration of the principal designer’s appointment and 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 with the development of the health and safety file.

Contact Henry Riley if your construction project requires an independent Principal Designer. Our Principal Designers provide services to ensure our clients fully meet CDM 2015 and associated legislative requirements.

In addition to the Principal Designer services, we also provide CDM Advisor services; a bespoke role to assist the client in the execution of their specific duties under the requirements of CDM 2015.

Useful Links

  1. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 - http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/index.htm
  1. What do I need to do? –http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/responsibilities.htm
  1. Summary of duties under CDM - http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/summary.htm

  2. Frequently asked questions - http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/faq/index.htm