Confusion About Who Can Be A “Principal Designer”

Confusion About Who Can Be A “Principal Designer”

The following extracts are taken from the text on the HSE webpage regarding the HSE Q&A article of 31st October which relates to the role of Principal Designer:-

Who is a principal designer?
A principal designer can be an organisation or individual who is appointed by the client to take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety during the pre-construction phase (design and planning stage) of a project involving, or likely to involve, more than one contractor.

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. However, they do not have to carry out actual design work on the project.

What skills, knowledge and experience does a principal designer need to carry out their duties in a way that ensures health and safety?
A principal designer must be a designer as defined, and must be able to demonstrate they have the health and safety skills, knowledge and experience (SKE), and where they are an organisation, the organisational capability, to carry out the work they are being appointed for. The level of SKE should be proportionate to the complexity of the project and the range and nature of the risks involved.

This will involve having:
the technical knowledge of the construction industry relevant to the project
the ability to understand, manage and coordinate the pre-construction phase (including ensuring that significant and foreseeable risks are managed through the design process) and any design work carried out after construction begins

Why is a principal designer important in ensuring construction is carried out in a way that avoids harm?
A principal designer has an important role in influencing how the risks to health and safety should be managed and incorporated into the wider management of a project. Design decisions taken during the pre-construction phase can have a significant effect on whether a project is delivered in a way that secures health and safety. The principal designer’s role involves close cooperation with the client and the principal contractor, and coordinating the work of others in the project team to ensure that significant and foreseeable risks are managed throughout the design process.

Keelagher Okey Klein have long been a Registered Practice of the Association for Project Safety, however we have recently undertaken the Association for Project Safety’s new assessment for Principal Designer and CDM Advisor practices and passed with zero “minors” or advisory comments.

Our PD and CDMA services have been thoroughly developed through close consultation with our Clients to ensure that we provide a service that exceeds both legal compliance and Client expectations. This is reflected in the assessor’s comment that our Practice “performs exceptionally” in these areas.

In addition to our company accreditation, all of our Construction Health and Safety Professionals have extensive experience in providing CDM services and have all passed the APS’s individual assessment for CDM2015 giving them the new IMaPS status (Incorporated Member of the Association for Project Safety).
If you require Principal Designer or CDM Advisor services, or advice relating to these services or CDM2015, please contact John Okey or one of our team on 01925 654158.