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CDM 2015: Duties of a Principal Designer and how Embark can help you

What is a Principal Designer?

A Principal Designer is a duty holder listed in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. If a construction project involves more than one contractor, the Client must appoint a Principal Designer. The Principal Designer will then take control of the pre-construction phase of the project and is required to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety.

Commercial Clients must appoint a Principal Designer in writing as early as possible in the design process. The Client has other duties to fulfil under CDM too, we have created a blog named CDM Advisor – Client Duties which goes into this further.

For now, let’s split the Principal Designer role to explain exactly what it involves:

Design Health and Safety decisions

As a Principal Designer, it is imperative that you eliminate, and if not control health and safety risks. Early identification of risks is key!

An expert at Embark will create a bespoke Risk Register for your project in order to identify and ‘design out’ prevalent hazards. The risk register is then shared and applied to all elements of design – including design work carried out by others. As you can see, there is a common theme here of sharing of information.

Construction Health and Safety decisions

Construction decisions such as selecting materials or components of a building can affect risks involved in the construction of the building and the maintenance after it has been built. Whilst fulfilling the principle designer role, Embark will also assist the principal contractor in making competent construction decisions.

Managing designers and ensuring they comply

It is important that Principle Designers recognise the need to ensure other designers comply with their CDM duties. Embark always make sure other designers involved in the project manage decisions surrounding design, technical and organisational aspects.

Cooperating with the Principal Contractor

The Principal Designer will work with the Principle Contractor to prepare a Construction Phase Plan. This assists the Principle Contractor in carrying out the construction work safely. The Construction Phase Plan is a record of arrangements for managing significant health and safety risks associated with construction and is the basis for communicating those arrangements to those involved in the construction phase. We don’t like to show off here at Embark but we certainly know our way around a Construction Phase Plan!

Providing health and safety information

The Principal Designer is responsible for the preparation of the health and safety file. A health and safety file contains relevant health and safety information to be taken in to account during any subsequent project. This information will protect people who undertake construction projects in the future. Embark always draft and agree the format of the health and safety file at the start of any project. It is important it is reviewed and updated throughout the project.

At the end of the project, the health and safety file is handed over to the client.

If you need help carrying out the Principal Designer role under CDM, do not hesitate to give Embark a call. It would be our pleasure to help you.

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