• Embark Consultants

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.

131 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Why we make the difference 


Our services are tailored to suit your organisation, to provide the support that really protects your business.


By working in partnership with you, we work toward a common goal of positive changes in your workplace whilst delivering legal compliance.


Our collaborative approach ensures you have industry-leading advice at your fingertips.


Understanding your business needs and goals are key to our effective partnership.


We pride ourselves on our industry knowledge and expertise, established around a team of experienced consultants from various industry backgrounds. Giving you access to consultants who understand your industry and sectors.


Industries evolve, and practices change. To keep pace, all consultants undertake regular Continous Professional Development, ensuring that our knowledge is always up-to-date and relevant.


We help to alleviate the Health and Safety burden. Through the delivery of practical and cost-effective solutions, we enable you to focus on running your business.

By delivering an efficient service, we are here to support you when you need us most, with a flexible and adaptive provision.


Our service enables you to meet your legal responsibilities while continuing to run your business effectively.

Your Health & Safety Team 

when you need us most  

Life as we know it has changed and change is now more important than ever for business. 

With our support and guidance, Embark can help you navigate through red tape demands and ensure your business and workforce are kept safe and well.

Many of our clients consider us part of their team and by working closely in partnership with you, we understand your business risks and the need to make a change in greater detail. Helping you to prioritise and focus your efforts on those areas that require support the most. 

As part of your team, you can flexibly access our expertise when you need it most.  Supporting you both onsite and virtually with clear and concise advice and guidance to suit your business.

Join Our Retained Service



25 Eccleston Place





+44 (0) 203 6374744


The Dairy

Copthill Farm Enterprises




+44 (0) 1780 678 666


Office 404, 

Al Sarah Offices / B

Souk Albahar 

Burj Khalifa District 


+971 800 0120040



Embark Consulting is a limited liability

partnership registered in England

and Wales.

Registered Number: 09356688

Registered Office:

 167-169 Great Portland Street, 

5th Floor, London, W1W 5PE

Copyright © 2021

Embark Consulting Limited

Powered by Embark Concepts

+44 (0)203 637 4744



The Dairy

Copthill Farm Enterprises







© 2021 Embark Consulting Limited