CDM Services: CDM Principal Designer

Why do I need a Principal Designer?
All construction projects involving, or likely to involve, more than one contractor legally require a “Principal Designer” to be appointed under the CDM Regulations. The Principal Designer is a health & safety appointment with responsibility to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate project health & safety during the pre-construction phase.

When should a Principal Designer be appointed?
The principal designer should be appointed by the client as early as possible in the design process, and where practicable, at the concept stage of the project.

Why Choose Keenan CDM?
Keenan CDM has over 25 years CDM Regulations experience plus the necessary and demonstrable Skills, Knowledge and Experience and ‘designer’ classification to successfully fulfil the role of Principal Designer for your construction project (part duration or entire project).  Read more on the About and Experience pages. You will receive a quality service at a competitive rate with attention to detail at all stages of your project, from pre-construction stage to project completion and Health & Safety File delivery.

Why is a Principal Designer important?
A principal designer has an important role in influencing how the risks to health and safety should be managed and incorporated into the wider management of a project. Design decisions taken during the pre-construction phase can have a significant effect on whether a project is delivered in a way that secures health and safety. The principal designer’s role involves close cooperation with the client and the principal contractor, and coordinating the work of others in the project team (designers) to ensure that significant and foreseeable risks are managed throughout the design process.

Who can be the Principal Designer?
A principal designer can be an organisation or individual who is appointed by the client to take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety during the pre-construction phase (design and planning stage) of a project involving, or likely to involve, more than one contractor.

A principal designer is the ‘designer’ (as defined in the Regulations) with control over the pre-construction phase, in health & safety terms, who has the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to carry out all the functions of this health & safety management role. However, despite the misleading title of “Principal Designer” they do not carry out actual design work on the project in this role – this is purely a health & safety management role.

A common misconception is that the Principal Designer role must be undertaken by the Architect or lead designer on the project but this isn’t the case. Clients can appoint anyone they wish to act as Principal Designer so long that Principal Designer meets the criteria and can demonstrate the necessary H&S Skills, Knowledge and Experience required.

Keenan CDM meet all requirements so the ideal candidate to be your Principal Designer!

What are the Principal Designer’s Duties?
The key duties of a Principal Designer include:

  • Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health & safety in the pre construction phase of the project
  • Help and advise the client in bringing together the pre construction information – by preparing the Pre Construction Information Pack and providing it to others who need it
  • Work with the designers on the project to eliminate foreseeable health & safety risks to anyone affected by the work and, where that is not possible, take steps to reduce or control those risks
  • Ensure that everyone involved in the pre-construction phase communicates and cooperates, coordinating their work wherever required in terms of health & safety
  • Liaise with the principal contractor, keeping them informed of any risks that need to be controlled during the construction phase
  • Prepare the H&S File during pre construction phase and pass to Client at the end of the project or to Principal Contractor if appointment ends earlier

NOTE: For more information see the HSE Principal Designer website page.