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Are you a designer?

What you need to do

Designers are required to undertake the following actions:

What you need to know – three key questions

Question 1: Who has designer responsibilities under CDM 2007?

Answer: The term ‘designer’ has a broad meaning and relates to the function performed, rather than the profession or job title. Designer duties apply to any business that prepares or modifies a design for a particular structure. This definition includes companies, partnerships and sole traders.

Question 2: Which construction projects attract designer duties?

Answer: Designer duties apply on all projects and there are additional requirement on notifiable projects. Designer duties therefore apply on:

Question 3: When do designer duties commence?

Answer: Designer duties apply from project conception. The designer is critical to securing reduced risk in the construction phase and during future maintenance and use of structures.


Client awareness

Designers are not permitted to commence work until any client for the project is aware of their duties under CDM 2007.

The way designers meet this duty can be built into routine business procedures covering client meetings and liaison.

It is sensible to retain written evidence that client awareness has been established before work is started for any client on a project.


Designers should not accept a project engagement unless their design business, and those carry out or managing design, are competent.

The CDM Approved Code Appendix 4 provides the core criteria for demonstration of competence and the standards to be achieved.

Pre-construction information

Project clients and CDM co-ordinators must prepare and promptly provide designers with pre-construction information (PCI).

Designers should consider the PCI and use it to inform preparation of their design. PCI consists of all the information that is relevant to the health and safety of those engaged in, affected by the work or using the structure as a future workplace.

Avoid foreseeable risk

Arrangements are required to avoid foreseeable risk in preparing a design by:

Designers must consider risks to people:

The amount of effort put into avoiding hazards and reducing risks should be proportionate to the degree of risk. Designers are not required to spend time, money and trouble on low-risk issues.

Information on residual risks must be provided. This information should focus on risks that may not be obvious to those who use the design. One good way of communicating this information is using notes on drawings.