Are you able to demonstrate to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) how well the Principal Designer role is being implemented on your projects?

Rob Dotchin
The role of a principal designer is of the utmost importance, having a significant effect on whether a project is delivered in a way that secures health and safety. It takes specific skills, knowledge and experience to ensure that major and foreseeable risks are managed throughout the design process.

As a key project advisor, you are expected to provide a pivotal role, guiding, advising and influencing others in making good, sound decisions about health and safety on projects.

As a member of the design team you need to influence the design relating to construction and subsequent maintenance issues regarding health and safety and how these can be designed out, as well as ensuring designers understand their roles under the CDM Regulations 2015 i.e. how they address the hierarchy of risk control and the principles of prevention regarding health and safety.

Are you compliant?

Fulfilling the role of principal designer involves cooperation, coordination and collaboration, but are you also able to determine compliance against the following criteria?

  1. Organisational understanding of the principal designer role and how it is delivered.
  2. How the principal designer assists the client for the purposes of developing pre-construction information and assesses its adequacy.
  3. How the principal designer demonstrates that they have the skills, knowledge and experience or organisational capability to accept the principal designer role and assess its adequacy.
  4. Whether the content and provision of pre-construction information for all appointed designers and contractors, or those being considered for appointment, is adequate, prompt and in a convenient form.
  5. An adequacy of the principal designer’s mechanisms through which they ensure all duty holders co-operate and co-ordinate matters relating to health and safety in the pre-construction phase.
  6. Whether the principal designer has an effective process for ensuring designers comply with their duties.
  7. Assess the mechanisms for liaison between the principal designer and principal contractor, and determine whether the information exchange is effective so that the principal contractor has the right information at the right time, to enable effective planning of the construction phase.
  8. Assess how the health and safety implications of late design changes are managed through the liaison arrangements between the principal designer and principal contractor.
  9. Assess whether the principal designer has an effective process for the preparation, revision, updating and handover of the health and safety file.

Do you have the skills and training required to deliver?

Skills, knowledge and experience (SKE) are the three important words that a client, designer and contractor need to remember when considering an appointment under the CDM Regulations 2015.

When accepting an appointment as principal designer, individuals and/or organisations should be able to demonstrate the SKE they have to carry out the work involved and how they keep those capabilities up to date, including understanding of the roles and duties of a designer and principal designer, under the CDM Regulations 2015.

The HSE states the SKE competency level should be proportionate to the complexity of the project and the range and nature of the risks involved.

How can you improve competency?

Simple, enrol on our Principal Designer and Design Risk Management, IOSH -approved, CDM 2015 training course  in Newcastle.

The course will provide you with an awareness and understanding of the roles of a designer and principal designer under the CDM Regulations 2015 and how to undertake successful design risk management during a project.

Who should attend?

Principal designers, designers, clients, contractors, health and safety professionals and those looking to undertake the role of a Principal Designer.

In Summary

Planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety; providing the right information to designers and contractors to help them carry out their duties; and ensuring everyone communicates, cooperates and coordinates requires specific skills, knowledge and experience to implement successfully. Being competent and compliant in these areas ensures the principal designer role eliminates any foreseeable risks on a project and secures the health and safety of all.