To begin with. Who is a principal designer?
A principal designer can be an organisation or individual who needs to be appointed on all construction projects involving more than one contractor, including subcontractors, take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety during the pre-construction phase (design and planning stage).
A principal designer is the designer (as defined in the Regulations) with control over the pre-construction phase who has the relevant skills, knowledge and experience and where they are an organisation, the organisational capability to carry out all the functions of the role.
Which projects require the appointment of a principal designer?
A principal designer must be appointed in writing by the client where a project involves, or is likely to involve, more than one contractor.
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. Early involvement saves a lot of time down the line.
What the regulations state….
“5.—(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 designer with control over the pre-construction phase as principal designer;
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Appointment of the principal designer and the principal contractor.”
How long should a principal designer be appointed for?
The duration of a principal designer’s appointment should take into account any design work which may continue into the construction phase or any issues that may arise during construction involving the need to make suitable modifications to the designs.
What if you don’t appoint a principal designer?
Under CDM it’s the duty of the client to appoint a principal designer. If you don’t appoint a principal designer, there’s a couple of different scenarios depending on if the client is domestic or commercial.
On domestic projects, if the client does not make the appointment in writing, the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project is the principal designer, and this appointment is automatic.
On commercial projects (construction projects in connection with any business), if the client does not make the appointment, they are automatically the principal designer, and responsible for all the duties and requirements of that role.
As many projects require expertise from different trades, even small projects will usually need to appoint a principal designer. If you would like to understand your requirements in more detail please get in touch with a member of the Spectra team.