The Role of the Principal Designer – ‘News on the Block’ Magazine, June 2015

The Role of the Principal Designer – ‘News on the Block’ Magazine, June 2015

On the 6th April 2015, The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) replaced CDM 2007.  The regulations govern the management of health, safety and welfare for what are termed “construction projects”.  For most Property Managers a “construction project” typically includes internal common parts refurbishments, external redecoration works and major services renewal projects.  The appointment of a CDM Coordinator is for the most part engrained in the psyche of a Property Manager and even if the nuances of the statute are not known there is an understanding that a CDMC is required.

One of the main changes that have been brought in under the new CDM 2015 Regulations is that there is no longer a CDMC role.  Instead the Client must appoint a Principal Designer (PD).  This change is however more than just a change of name.

We have always advocated that the Designer (under the 2007 Regulations) carries a substantial weight of responsibility.  So it is no surprise that this new PD role has evolved.  The PD might not necessarily be the same individual that a Property Manager or Client has used previously for providing CDMC services.  For example on a refurbishment project an architect or building surveyor may be best positioned to perform the role of PD and on a lift refurbishment or major plant renewal project an engineer might be best positioned.

The PD will be responsible for:

  • Eliminating or controlling risk throughout the design phase
  • Ensuring that the Principal Contractor is kept updated
  • Ensuring that a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) is prepared
  • Assisting the client with the preparation of the CPP
  • Make certain that designers comply with their duties
  • Preparing the Health and Safety file

Property Managers need to know that for projects starting before 6 April 2015, where the works have not yet started and a CDMC has not been appointed, the Client must appoint a PD as soon as it is practicable.  If the CDMC has already been appointed, a PD must be appointed to replace the CDMC by 6 October 2015 (unless the project comes to an end beforehand).

Other changes that Property Managers must be aware of is that the old requirement to notify the HSE about projects expected to last more than 30 days or involve more than 500 person-days will be replaced by a requirement to notify projects involving more than 30 working days and more than 20 workers simultaneously.  Also, the trigger for a PD to be appointed has changed.  The new 2015 Regulations will require a PD to be appointed where a project has more than one Contractor.  Therefore it is quite possible that even for relatively small projects a PD will need to be appointed even if the HSE do not need to be notified.

Going forward over the next few months, the key will be Education, Education, Education.

  • Educate your Clients
  • Educate your Property Managers
  • Educate your Suppliers and Contractors

Act now and get up to speed PDQ!

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