Following the introduction of the new Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 Mark Fairhurst Architects successfully completed a course run by the RIBA to encourage architects to carry out the new role of Principal Designer since then we offer this service alongside our architectural services.

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.

A principal designer is ‘a designer who is an organisation or individual (on smaller projects) appointed by the client to take control of the pre-construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor’.

Principal designers must:

  • 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) that might affect design work carried out both before and after the construction phase has started
  • help and advise the client in bringing together pre-construction information, and provide the information designers and contractors need to carry out their duties
  • work with any other designers on the project to eliminateforeseeable 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

On a domestic client project where the domestic client does not appoint a principal designer, the role of the principal designer must be carried out by the designer in control of the pre-construction phase. When working for a domestic client, the client duties will normally be taken on by another duty holder (often the principal contractor on projects involving more than one contractor). However, the principal designer can enter into a written agreement with the domestic client to take on the client duties in addition to their own.

If you are looking to commence a new construction project and you are looking to appoint an Architect who can offer advice on the appointment of a Principal Designer please contact Mark Fairhurst Architects on T: 020 7407 7070 or E: [email protected] to arrange a free consultation.

HSE guidance on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). Describes the law that applies to the whole construction process on all construction projects.