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CDM REGULATIONS 2015: CAN YOU BE PRINCIPAL DESIGNER?

Clients consider who to appoint in new safety through design role

Abolition of the CDM Coordinator role and introduction of the new Principal Designer (PD) appointment is the most important change introduced by the CDM Regulations 2015 which come into operation on 6th April 2015.

Construction project clients must appoint a PD “as early as possible in the design process” and are therefore considering who will fill this crucial appointment on future projects.

What is the legal obligation and who might legitimately be appointed?

Legal test for Principal Designer appointment

The PD is the designer appointed by the client to ensure that the project is carried out without risks to health or safety and can be any ‘person’ who prepares or modifies a design; arranges for, or instructs, any person under their control to do so in the course or furtherance of a business.

The actions required of the PD  relate to the ‘pre-construction phase’ of the project. The ‘person’ appointed can (and usually will) be a corporate body or an individual.

The PD must be “the designer with control over the pre-construction phase” with the skills, knowledge and experience and organisational capability, necessary to fulfil the role in a manner that secures the health and safety of any person affected by the project.

The client must take steps to satisfy themselves that the PD fulfils the conditions regarding skills and capabilities etc. and the PD must not accept an appointment as project PD unless they fulfil these conditions.

Who can be appointed as Principal Designer?

Provided the person or organisation meets the above requirements the client may consider a number of options.

Remember: the CDM 2015 Principal Designer is in most cases a business rather than an individual and the necessary skills and capabilities will not reside in one person within the organisation.

Client appoints self

The client has control over the design, resources and programme but may lack the construction health and safety skills and capabilities etc. This gap could be filled by those currently providing CDM Coordinator services under CDM 2007.

Under these arrangements the client is appointed as the CDM 2015 PD with the statutory responsibilities whilst retaining a CDM-C as adviser (or the company internal H&S Specialists) for the duration of the project.

Client appoints former CDM-C

Some developers and clients are considering appointing the PD from their pool of existing CDM Coordinators. In this case the statutory PD responsibilities will fall to the CDM-C organisation.

HSE are not encouraging this approach. However, if the CDM-C is a designer, has the requisite skills etc. and control over the pre-construction phase there seems no legal bar to this solution.

Client appoints lead designer

This could be the project architects or other lead design organisation provided the  health and safety skills etc. test is met. This option will probably be the most widespread outcome.

Client appoints principal contractor

Many homes developers will consider this route. This is consistent with how such organisation comply with CDM 2007 where the client currently takes on both CDM-Coordinator and Principal Contractor appointments.

Comment

It will interesting to see how actual behaviour unravels post 6th April 2015 and the impact on project costs.

In all cases the legal tests must be met: the PD must be the designer with control over the pre-construction phase with the skills and capabilities etc. to fulfil all the actions required of the PD. See above.

All the above options could allow those businesses currently providing  CDM 2007 Coordinator services to find a role under the new legislative framework.

CDM 2015 Information and Templates

See CDM 2015 Survey Results for the findings of our CDM 2015 Five Minute Online Survey.

We have published a great deal of further information and templates designed to support Clients, Designers, Principal Designers/Contractors and Contractors in meeting their duties under CDM Regulations 2015.

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