Who is the Principal Designer?

The Principal Designer can be an organization, or individual designer appointed by the client to carry out the specific requirements of the role. A Designer, quite simply, designs. This can range from interior to architectural design and Designers must be sure that when preparing designs all due safety measures must be taken, and must work to remove or alleviate all potential risks arising both during construction and maintenance once the project is complete.

The Principal Designer functions somewhat in the role of an advisor. He assembles information from the pre-construction phase to help facilitate the others to carry out their duties. He also takes charge of environmental risks and safety issues and sees to it that these are either eliminated or reduced as much as possible.

It is important to note that though 2015 CDM replaced the previous CDM Coordinator with a Principal designer, the two roles are not at all the same. The Principal Designer deals heavily in pre-construction planning while the CDM Coordinator of yesteryear was in charge of many of the duties which have now been dropped into the Client's court. What is interesting, however, is that instead of completing these client duties, one of the Principal designer's tasks is to ensure that the Client knows his. In other words, the role has switched from action to oversight. The role is, in many ways, the glue that holds the framework of CDM regulations together by ensuring that everything happens the way it's supposed to, specifically with regards to pre-construction production. Of course, it is also the Client's job to make sure that the the other two duty holders are not shirking their responsibilities, and in this way the CDM 2015 regulations have effectively built up an accountability structure into their very fabric.

Pre Construction Information

CDM 2015 stipulates that pre construction information must be provided to every Contractor and Designer in the project as soon as is practical. If there is more than one Contractor, it becomes a requirement that the Principal Designer help to compile this information.

Pre-Construction Information consists of any knowledge concerning the project either possessed or attainable by the client with regards to Construction work, and the risks and hazards involved. Basically, if it's related to construction or the health and safety file, all other Contractors and Designers are required to know about it too. Pre-Construction Information will usually include details on the project itself, any information that currently exists on the Health and Safety file, as well as a details regarding any plans heretofore compiled, and managerial specifications.

The utility of such information is easily apparent. Suppose, you were trying to hire a designer for a particular project, but bidding designers had no idea beyond the broad concept of what your project would entail. It would become rather difficult to choose between bids. Compile pre-construction information, and include it in the work proposal, however, and bidding designers can begin to draw up designs for their bids, work out plans of action and it becomes far easier to discern who is fitted to the task. Pre-Construction information is also vital during every stage of the construction process, allowing designers to modify plans as things go to prevent risks and reduce potential hazards. In light of this, the information cannot merely be compiled at the beginning, it must be constantly updated with the input of both the Principal Contractor and Designer.