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Alex Hamer
Written by Alex Hamer

What is the Principal Designer (PD)?

What does the Principal Designer do, and do I need one?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) introduced a new Duty Holder called the Principal Designer (PD). This position replaced, albeit not directly, the former role of "CDM Coordinator".

The Principal Designer is the person or organisation appointed by the Client, as defined by CDM, of a project, to control and manage the pre-construction or design phase of a construction project. It is one of the five Duty Holder positions identified by the CDM Regulations as being required when any construction project is reasonably foreseen to involve more than one on-site contractor.

It is important to note that the appointment of the Principal Designer by the Client must be done in writing and cannot be presumed. If the Client fails to make an appointment, they themselves will, by default, become the Principal Designer for the purposes of the Regulations.

All Designers involved on a project have a duty to ensure that the Client is aware of their duties under the Regulations and as such must advise the Client that a Principal Designer must be formally appointed.

Mosaic handles the compliance aspect of appointments by presenting all participants (when they are invited to projects via the application) with a written set of responsibilities that they must digitally confirm acceptance of, before being allowed to continue as a participant on the project via Mosaic. Anyone presented with a set of responsibilities they do not accept will still be allowed to view the shared information but will be barred from providing Risk Assessments via the HARI tool on the project on the basis that they have not legally accepted their responsibilities.

Principal Designers perform an important role within a construction project team, they are able to influence and control how risks to Health and Safety are managed and monitored during a project. Design decisions made during the early phases of a project can impact positively on the outcome of a project by ensuring high standards of health, safety and welfare are maintained as well as assisting in reducing delays and lowering overall costs of the project.