There are three main roles within the CDM Regulations that have responsibility for health and safety. The Client, The Principal Contractor and the Principal Designer. While the Client has overall responsibility, the Principal Designer and Principal Contractor have responsibilities depending on the phase of the project. CDM15 introduced us to the new role of Principal Designer while saying goodbye to the CDM Coordinator role.
Every project must have a Principal Designer appointed where required in order to meet the requirements of CDM15.
Any client who requires construction or demolition to be carried out, where more than one contractor is involved, has to appoint a Principal Designer before any design or construction work begins. A Principal Designer must be appointed by the Client in writing, but the role and that of others on site and in design do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.
Principal Designers have an important role in influencing how risks to health and safety are managed throughout a project. Design decisions made during the pre-construction phase have a significant influence in ensuring the project is delivered in a way that secures the health and safety of everyone affected by the work. Ultimately, the responsibility to appoint a Principal Designer falls on the Client. If a Principal Designer is not appointed, then the role is passed to the Client, which would be a difficult role for many to fulfil.
Non-compliance regarding the appointment of a Principal Designer could result in criminal proceedings, so appointing a competent Principal Designer is important. People who had been CDM Coordinators under CDM07 might not be able to fulfil the role of Principal Designer, although the definition of designer under CDM15 is open to interpretation. If you are not sure about this then contact Safer Sphere for more information on our Client Advisor & Principal Designer Advisor services.
The Principal Designer must have overall control of the pre-construction period (design and planning stage) of a relevant project and be involved in the preparation of project designs and in instructing other specialists and designers. The Principal Designer will have a technical knowledge of the Construction Industry and will know how to apply health and safety to the design process, relevant to the project.
Principal Designer Roles:
- Advise the client of their duties and assist them with the formulation of the Client CDM Brief.
- Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase. In doing so they must take account of relevant information (such as an existing health and safety file or surveys) that might affect design work carried out both before and after the construction phase has started.
- Ensure other designers comply with their duties
- Take account of the general Principals of prevention.
- Help and advise the client in bringing together pre-construction information, and provide the information that designers and contractors need to carry out their duties.
- Work with any other designers on the project to eliminate foreseeable health and 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.
- Liaise with the Principal Contractor, keeping them informed of any risks that need to be controlled during the construction phase.
- Identify, eliminate or control foreseeable risks to health and safety during the pre-construction phase
- Collate and prepare the health and safety file for completion of the project
A Principal Designer will influence the way Health and Safety risks are controlled and how these controls are incorporated into the project overall. During pre-construction, the Principal Designer must plan and manage matters relating to Health and Safety as well as overall monitoring of the project and co-ordinating to ensure that principles of prevention are followed and the project is carried out without risk to health or safety.