Principal Designer

Principal Designer

Peter Baxter Associates in Kent offer PRINCIPAL DESIGNER services for construction projects in the following sectors:

•  Small (sub £1 million) Housebuilding Projects*
•  Small (sub £1 million) Commercial Build and Fit Out Projects
•  Earthworks Projects
•  Site Investigation Works
•  Landfill Gas Infrastructure

Our competence to act will be self-assessed for each enquiry. Please refer to our Case Studies for examples of projects that we have been involved with.

*We advise that the client’s Architect is the most appropriate organisation to act as Principal Designer, (should one be required), for most simple building projects. Please read below for a brief guide to the CDM Regulations 2015.

Principal Designer Services

This Principal Designer service is fronted by our Director; Mr Peter Baxter BEng, CEng, MICE and is founded on his 30 years’ experience of the construction industry and many years as a CDM Coordinator. We offer a proportionate and common sense service to ensure that your project complies with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015.

Our highly competitive rates for this service are based on a fixed price menu.

CDM 2015 Outline Guidance

The CDM Regulations changed on 6th April 2015. They now apply to all building projects and have added to the Client’s legal duties. They formalise the transfer of health and safety risk information between parties to a project. The legal duties for domestic clients fall by default onto the Designer in control of the pre-construction phase and Contractor in control of the construction phase.

All non-domestic clients must appoint in writing for all projects a Principal Contractor and a Principal Designer, unless there is only one contractor involved in the project. The Principal Contractor is responsible for managing health and safety during construction. The Principal Designer is responsible for managing health and safety prior to construction starting. The Principal Designer is responsible for identifying health and safety risks during design and eliminating, mitigating, and highlighting those risks to the Principal Contractor. Any risks are identified in a document called the “Pre Contraction Information”, which the Principal Designer assists the Client to prepare and passes to the Principal Contractor. The Principal Contractor then prepares a “Construction Phase Plan” setting out how these risks will be dealt with. For example, an industrial portal frame shed will require roof cladding, presenting a risk of working at height. This would be an identified risk in the pre-construction information and the Principal Contractor will include in his construction phase plan a method statement stating what measures will be in place to reduce this risk, such as safety netting, work from mobile platforms, etc.

The role of the “CDM Coordinator” no longer exists.

The Principal Designer prepares a “Health and Safety File” which is an as-built record of health and safety aspects of the project for future extension demolition or maintenance. . (For the example given above the Health and Safety File will include a record of the cladding material and any applicable load restrictions)

Finally under CDM 2015 the Client is responsible for notifying the HSE if a project is “notifiable” (Over 30 working days and more than 20 workers on site at any point or over 500 person days).

The above outline is for information only and Peter Baxter Associates accept no liability for any omissions or errors. Definitions of terms are given in the HSE guidance document available as a free download from the website (site search term CDM Regulations 2015), and interested parties are advised to read this document for a full understanding of the Regulations.

We have acted as CDM Coordinator on many projects over the years. On review of the CDM Regulations 2015 we consider that on many projects the client’s architect or structural engineer is the most appropriate duty holder for the Principal Designer role. However, we feel we can add value to projects where the Client has appointed multiple designers, is designing some or all of the project themselves, or is using a design and build contractor.

We would stress that we would not normally carry out design work as part of our Principal Designer service, or act as the Client’s Safety Officer. These duties do not form part of the Principal Designer’s duties under the Regulations. We do offer the following as our Principal Designer service:

  • Notification and notification updates to the HSE
  • Pre-construction discussions and meetings with the Designers, to identify health and safety risks
  • Preparation of the Preconstruction Information
  • Generation of the first draft of the Health and Safety File
  • Checking the first draft of the Construction Phase Plan and advising changes
  • One site visit after construction start
  • One audit of the Principal Contractor’s health and safety management
  • Informal H&S advice to the Client, Designers and Contractors

We would normally transfer our duties and the H&S File to the Principal Contractor after construction starts and most design work is complete. The Principal Contractor is considered to be the most appropriate duty holder in collating information for the H&S File, and by leaving the project early we will avoid the Client incurring unnecessary costs.