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CDM 2016 For Designers

CDM 2016 - Your Questions Answered


Designers Duties

July 2016

Changes in the CDM Regulations 2016 will affect all construction projects with effect from 1st August 2016.

With over 15 years experience in Construction Health and Safety including extensive experience in CDM Regulations since their introduction in 2007 we are ideally placed to advise you of this imminent change.


Question: What must Designers do under the new Regs?

Answer: Make sure the client is aware of the client duties under CDM 2015 before starting any design work.


When preparing or modifying designs: take account of any pre-construction information provided by the client (and principal designer, if one is involved)

Eliminate foreseeable health and safety risks to anyone affected by the project

Take steps to reduce or control any risks that cannot be eliminated

Provide design information to:

  • The principal designer (if involved), for inclusion in the pre-construction information and the health and safety file
  • The client and principal contractor (or the contractor for single contractor projects) to help them comply with their duties, such as ensuring a construction phase plan PDF is prepared

Communicate, cooperate and coordinate with:

  • any other designers (including the principal designer) so that all designs are compatible and ensure health and safety, both during the project and beyond
  • all contractors (including the principal contractor), to take account of their knowledge and experience of building designs

The major change is the introduction of the Principal Designer Role. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions to help explain the new role.


Question: What is the Principal Designers Role?

Answer: 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.


Question: What must a Principal Designer do?

Answer: Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase. Take account of relevant information that might affect design work carried out both before and after the construction phase has started

Help and advise the client in bringing together pre-construction information, and provide the information designers and contractors need to carry out their duties

Work with any other designers on the project to eliminate foreseeable health and safety risks to anyone affected by the work and, where that is not possible, take steps to reduce or control those risks

Ensure that everyone involved in the pre-construction phase communicates and cooperates, coordinating their work wherever required

Liaise with the principal contractor, keeping them informed of any risks that need to be controlled during the construction phase


Question:What about Domestic Projects?

Answer: 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.


Question: When is a project Notifiable to the HSE NI?

Answer:Projects will be notifiable to the HSE if the construction work on site is scheduled to:

  1. Last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  2. Exceed 500 person days

Question: Who should notify the HSE?

Answer: The client has the duty to notify a construction project. In practice however, the client may ask someone else to notify on their behalf. This could be the Principal Designer or Architect.


Question: What are the client's duties

Answer: For all projects, clients must make suitable arrangements for managing their project, enabling those carrying it out to manage health and safety risks in a proportionate way. Other duties include:

  • allowing sufficient time and resources for each stage of the project
  • making sure that any principal designer and principal contractor appointed carry out their duties in managing the project
  • making sure suitable welfare facilities are provided for the duration of the construction work
  • maintain and review the management arrangements for the duration of the project
  • provide pre-construction information to every designer and contractor either bidding for the work or already appointed to the project
  • ensure that the principal contractor or contractor (for single contractor projects) prepares a construction phase plan before that phase begins
  • ensure that the principal designer prepares a health and safety file for the project and that it is revised as necessary and made available to anyone who needs it for subsequent work at the site