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Principal designers: roles and responsibilities

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Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

A principal designer is a designer who is an organisation or individual (on smaller projects) appointed by the client to take control of the pre-construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor.

Principal designers have an important role in influencing how risks to health and safety are managed throughout a project. Design decisions made during the pre-construction phase have a significant influence in ensuring the project is delivered in a way that secures the health and safety of everyone affected by the work.

Principal designers must:

On a domestic client project where the domestic client does not appoint a principal designer, the role of the principal designer must be carried out by the designer in control of the pre-construction phase. When working for a domestic client, the client duties will normally be taken on by another dutyholder (often the principal contractor on projects involving more than one contractor). However, the principal designer can enter into a written agreement with the domestic client to take on the client duties in addition to their own.

Further guidance on who a principal designer is; why they are important in influencing how health and safety is managed and incorporated into the wider management of a project; when they should be appointed and for how long; and what skills, knowledge and experience they need to carry out their duties in a way that ensures health and safety is available at: Are you a principal designer?

Updated 2020-06-09