Principal Designer Role

The revision of the CDM Regulations in 2015 created a new duty holder to replace, in part, the previous function of CDM Co-ordinator during the design phase.

The Principal Designer is classed as the ‘individual or business in control of the Pre-Construction Phase’. Often this role will be assigned to the lead designer on a construction project.

The Principal Designer is responsible for the planning, managing, monitoring and co-ordination of health and safety aspects of the design during the Pre-Construction Phase, fully taking into account the ‘principles of prevention’ at all stages. These duties were previously performed by the CDM Co-ordinator.

A Principal Designer must be appointed on any construction project where it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be involved.

The general duties of a CDM 2015 Principle Designer remains relatively unchanged, with the focus being on identification and elimination of risk in the first instance, followed by reduction and control of residual risk arising from a design where this is not practicable.

The new role of the Principal Designer will require the design consultant to take on board significant additional duties in relation to the Health and Safety management of not only their own design, but that of other design disciplines and the proposed development site and its surroundings.



The HSE recognise that those appointed as Principal Designer may not have the requisite in-house skills to fully satisfy this responsibility on all types of projects, and may therefore want to appoint an external organisation such as C-MIST as a sub-consultant to undertake or assist them with discharging the required Principal Designer services.

C-MIST has an enviable track record of providing construction risk management solutions since the inception of the CDM Regulations some 20 years ago, on a wide range of projects across a variety of sectors.

We are ideally placed to support you in discharging your duties as the Principal Designer for any size of project providing a clear, concise and auditable risk management process trail that is compliant with ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001.


Principal Designers Duty:

The Principal Designer must plan, manage and monitor the Pre-Construction Phase and co-ordinate matters relating to Health and Safety such that, so far as reasonably practicable, the project is carried out without risk to Health or Safety.

The Principal Designer must identify and eliminate or control foreseeable risks to the health and safety of any person:-
• Carrying out or liable to be affected by construction work.
• Maintaining or cleaning a structure.
• Using a structure designed as a workplace.

Ensure that all designers comply with their duties under Regulation 9.

Ensure that all persons working in relation to the Pre-Construction Phase co-operate with the Client, Principal Designer and each other.

Assist the Client with provision of Pre-Construction Information. Provide Pre-Construction Information promptly and in a convenient form to every designer and contractor appointed or being considered for appointment.

Liaise with the Principal Contractor for the duration of the Principal Designer’s appointment to ensure the co-ordination of health and safety matters during the construction phase.

C-MIST will provide the Principal Designer with a management plan for the project detailing how Health and Safety aspects of the design will be monitored during the Pre-Construction Phase.

C-MIST will initiate and chair design risk workshops at agreed project work stages, as required. The number and frequency of workshops can be varied, at your discretion, dependent on the size and complexity of a project.
A co-ordinated design risk register will be produced by C-MIST showing identified risks. This will be a live auditable document updated at agreed intervals allowing the Principal Designer to demonstrate their risk analysis process.

C-MIST will ensure the design risk workshops address all design disciplines, ensuring they are identifying and eliminating the risks arising from their design.

C-MIST’s facilitation of design risk workshops will ensure that co-operation and co-ordination is achieved in addition to regular design team meetings held between the Client and Project Team.

C-MIST can compile the Pre-Construction Information on behalf of the Principal Designer and the Client. This will include the appraisal of existing survey information such as asbestos surveys. C-MIST will provide a comprehensive, cohesive document which can then be issued to the design team and tendering contractors at the relevant time.

Regular design progress meetings should be sufficient to cover these duties. However, should any issues arise during the construction phase, C-MIST will be on hand to assist the Principal Designer in addressing these issues alongside the Principal Contractor.