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Role of the Designer

The aim of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 is to improve the overall management and co-ordination of health, safety and welfare throughout all stages of a construction project and therefore to reduce the large number of serious and fatal accidents and cases of ill health which happen every year in the construction industry.

Who is a Designer under CDM 2015?

The Regulations define the role as follows:

“A Designer is an organisation or individual, who:

  • prepares or modifies a design for a construction project (including the design of temporary works); or
  • arranges for, or instructs someone else to do so.”

The term ‘Designer’ has a broad meaning and relates to the function performed, rather than the profession or job title.

Designers are those for whom their work includes:

  • The preparation of drawings
  • Designing detail
  • Preparing specifications
  • Creating bills of quantities
  • Specifying (or prohibiting) articles and substances
  • Analysis, calculating or preparatory work.

They include people such as:

  • Architects
  • Structural engineers
  • Quantity surveyors
  • Building surveyors
  • Mechanical and Electrical engineers
  • Manufacturers and design practices contributing to any part of the design (excluding manufacturers supplying standardised products)
  • Contractors for whom part of their contribution to a construction project involves carrying out design work

Why is the role of the Designer important?

A Designer has a strong influence during the concept and feasibility stage of a project. The earliest decisions can fundamentally affect the health and safety of those who will construct, maintain, repair, clean, refurbish and eventually demolish a building. The health and safety of those who use a building as a workplace may also be affected. Designers are responsible for avoiding foreseeable risks to those involved in the construction and future use of the structure. During the design stage, Designers must eliminate hazards, so far as is reasonably practical, and then reduce the risks associated with the hazards that remain.

What must a Designer do?

On all projects the Designer, or anyone with design responsibility, must ensure that the following duties are met.

Making Clients aware of their duties

A Designer must not start any design work unless they are satisfied the Client is aware of the duties Clients have under CDM 2015. On projects involving more than one Contractor, the task of informing the Client of their duties should normally fall to the Principal Designer. Any other Designers appointed can seek confirmation from the Principal Designer that the Client has been made aware of their duties.

Preparing or modifying designs

When preparing or modifying designs, a Designer must take into account the general principles of prevention and the pre-construction information provided to them. This is all with the aim, as far as reasonably practicable, of eliminating foreseeable risks. Where this is not possible they must take reasonably practicable steps to reduce the risks or control them through the design process, and provide information about the remaining risks to other duty holders.

Providing design information

A designer must provide information to other duty holders using or implementing the design. This includes information for the Principal Designer, other Designers, the Principal Contractor and any other Contractors involved in constructing the design.

Co-operating with other duty holders

Designers should liaise with any other Designers, including the Principal Designer, so that work can be coordinated to establish how different aspects of designs interact and influence health and safety. This includes temporary and permanent works Designers. Designers must also cooperate with Contractors and Principal Contractors so that their knowledge and experience about the practicalities of building the design, is taken into account.

Contact us to find out further information on the role and responsibilities of the Designer.