Principal Designer

As of 06 April 2015, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 make the role of CDM co-ordinator obsolete and introduce the Principal Designer.

L153 is the draft guidance issued by the HSE, but this offers offers no situations describing who might be Principal Designer under different procurement models. Also, it does not detail the skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability that will be required.

A Principal Designer must be appointed by the client if there is, or is likely to be, more than one contractor involved on a project.

Regulation 2 of CDM 2015 explains that the Principal Designer is the designer appointed to fulfil certain other Regulations. A designer  is a person (individual or organisation) who prepares or modifies drawings, specifications, etc.  relating to a structure. In a broader sense, they are also any person who arranges for or instructs any person under their control to prepare or modify a design.

What is the role of the Principal Designer?

basically, the Principal Designer “plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase and co-ordinate matters relating to health and safety during the pre-construction phase” (Regulation 11). The Principal Designer has “control over the pre-construction phase of the project”, essentially the design stage, and have the “technical knowledge of the construction industry relevant to the project” and “the understanding and skills to manage and co-ordinate the pre-construction phase.”

So, the Principal Designer has two different functions:

  • they control the design process, and
  • they co-ordinate health and safety matters relating to design


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