Monthly Archives - July 2017

What is a Principal Designer?

What Is The Role Of Principal Designer?

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.

Safer Sphere offer a full range of CDM services delivered across the North West and nationally. We can advise and assist on projects of any size.

Is my project notifiable under CDM regs?

Is My Project Notifiable?

Notification of building projects has been a requirement of health and safety law since the 1961 Factories Act, Section 127. This Act was repealed by the 1994 CDM Regulations. Notification became the duty of the CDM Coordinator in the 2007 CDM Regulations and in the 2015 revision of the CDM Regulations, the role of CDM Coordinator was removed and the duty to notify a project became that of the Client. CDM15 applies to all construction projects, irrespective of size, whether they be commercial or domestic construction projects. Some of these projects will be notifiable in writing to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before the Construction Phase begins. Relevant information can be supplied to HSE via their online notification portal https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/lfserver/external/f10

Regulation 6 of CDM15 states that a project is notifiable if the construction phase is scheduled to:
Last longer than 30 working days, and has more than 20 workers on site at any one time; and or
Last longer than 500 person days.

A person day is one individual site worker, including plant operators and labourers, who carries out construction work for one normal working shift, supervisors, managers and specialist workers, who may not be directly involved in the construction process, operating plant or carrying out manual work, all must be included as a person day. A working shift is any part of the day on which construction work takes place, even if construction work is carried out for a short part of that day, the whole day counts towards the person day tally during the Construction Phase. Working days include any work carried out on weekends and bank holidays.

Before CDM15, notification was the responsibility of the CDM Coordinator, notification triggering the need for a Principal Contractor & CDM Coordinator to be appointed, this is no longer the case. Where previously connected, appointment and notification processes are now divorced from one another, the client is accountable for their actions irrespective of who carries out the duties on the clients behalf.

Notification under CDM15 is the client’s responsibility, although it is common practice for the client to commission a competent professional to execute this responsibility on behalf of them. The duty remains with the client although where the client is domestic, the responsibility for notification is passed to the Contractor or Principal Contractor where more than one contractor is present including sub-contractors. Safer Sphere can provide this service as part of our Client CDM Support, gathering all the information required for notification and completing the necessary documentation to comply with CDM15 Regulation 6 and CDM15 Schedule 1, details of which are provided below.

1. The date of forwarding the notice.
2. The address of the construction site or precise description of its location.
3. The name of the local authority where the construction site is located.
4. A brief description of the project and the construction work that it entails.
5. The following contact details of the client: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
6. The following contact details of the principal designer: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
7. The following contact details of the principal contractor: name, address, telephone number and (if available) an email address.
8. The date planned for the start of the construction phase.
9. The time allocated by the client under regulation 4(1) for the construction work.
10. The planned duration of the construction phase.
11. The estimated maximum number of people at work on the construction site.
12. The planned number of contractors on the construction site.
13. The name and address of any contractor already appointed.
14. The name and address of any designer already appointed.
15. A declaration signed by or on behalf of the client that the client is aware of the client duties under these Regulations.

To be legally compliant, notification, once completed and updated as necessary, should be clearly displayed in the site office where anyone involved in the construction phase can have access to it.

Safer Sphere offer a full range of CDM services across the North West for construction projects of all sizes.