principal designer

Three ways your principal designer adds value to your project

7th April 2022   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

Following the introduction of CDM Regulations 2015, the role of principal designer became compulsory on all construction projects involving more than one contractor.

Does that mean the role becomes merely an exercise in compliance? Or, can the appointed principal designer add value and enhance your return on investment?

What the Health & Safety Executive says about principal designers

According to the Health & Safety Executive, “A principal designer can be an organisation or individual who is appointed by the client (commercial or domestic) 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.”

There are very few instances when CDM Regulations will not apply to your construction project. 

With that in mind, should you appoint anyone with the required qualifications? Or is it worth being more selective about the appointment? 

Click here to read more about the principal designer’s role. However, this article looks at three ways fulfilling this compulsory role can add value and enhance return on investment when you choose the right partner. 

Supporting you develop pre-construction information

The pre-construction phase of a project begins when an idea for a project is conceived. Producing high-quality pre-construction information will pay dividends later in the project.

The principal designer is responsible for managing the pre-construction phase on your behalf. However, it’s not unusual for the principal designer role to be filled much later, with the start date on site planned for as soon as a pre-construction information pack is produced. 

Appointing a principal designer at this late stage creates difficulties in demonstrating that the Client has given sufficient priority and consideration to project planning and management. The whole team, including the principal designer, must work together throughout the pre-construction process to ensure that legal duties are ‘ticked off’ and that those obligations are robustly complied with.

Vital design information relating to residual Health & Safety risks may be overlooked by appointing later in the pre-construction phase. They will still need to be addressed, by which point required changes may negatively impact the budget and programme.

Collaborative team approach

Your appointed principal designer forms part of the project’s professional team and works to build a collaborative approach with the appointed contractor(s). They will ensure a smooth information flow with the principal contractor and directly influence the earliest stages of heath & safety design. 

Your appointed principal designer is responsible for discharging your legal obligations under the CDM regulations, which means it’s essential to appoint someone with whom you can build a good working relationship. At Evolution5, we strive to ensure that you have a single point of contact throughout the project, ensuring consistency of service and a deep understanding of the specifics of your project.

Reducing project risk from cradle to grave 

At the core of CDM is reducing H&S risk throughout every project phase. This includes design, construction, maintenance and even the eventual demolition. Choosing a principal designer partner with a background in the contracting side of construction affords your project the additional benefit of hands-on practical experience. 

In addition to completing the statutory requirements of CDM legislation to ensure your project is compliant, Evolution5’s principal designers draw on their extensive contracting backgrounds bringing a deeper understanding of the cradle to grave challenges to overcome. This experience supports proactive exercises in design risk management and designing out risk in projects. 

How can Evolution5 help you?

Evolution5 is an award-winning professional consultancy offering principal designer, project management, quantity surveying, employer’s agent, and contract administration services for projects across London and the South East.

If you have a construction project and want to explore how the team can help you, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.