Principal Designer & CDM Advisor

Principal Designer Team Lifecycle


The Principal Designer role created by the CDM Regulations 2015 is essentially a health and safety practitioners role and can be an organisation or individual who must have technical knowledge of the construction industry relevant to the project; the skills, knowledge and experience to understand, manage and co-ordinate the pre-construction phase, including any design work carried out after construction begins. They must plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate the pre-construction phase by taking into account…

Principles of Prevention

Pre – Construction Information

Co-ordinate the work of others

Eliminate risks

Manage significant and foreseeable risks

Take account of design implications

Plan items or stages of work (simultaneous or sequenced)

Identify likely risks during design and construction

Identify foreseeable risks and anticipated mistakes

Chair regular design meetings

Discuss risks that should be addressed during the pre-construction phase

Decide on control measures to be adopted

Agree information that will help the Construction Phase Plan

Check that designers are dealing with design risk appropriately

Assist Client and Principal Contractor

Where appointed; carry on into the construction phase where design work is carried out

Gather and prepare information for the Health & Safety File


Although this is not a duty holder role or required by law, prospective Principal Designers may not possess all the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to undertake health and safety co-ordination and could therefore buy in the services of a specialist in a particular field i.e. construction, demolition and civil engineering risk management; to ensure that their organisation is resourced with all the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to undertake the role and satisfy the client of their organisational capability.

Those who actually control and lead construction projects are accountable for doing so and are responsible for managing the risks that they create.  The procurement of independent specialist health and safety advice to supplement existing skills, knowledge and experience to support the delivery of quality construction projects may be both necessary and effective, particularly in the short term while further expertise is developed within organisations.