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.
Principal designers have an important role in influencing how risks to health and safety are managed throughout a project. Design decisions made during the pre-construction phase have a significant influence in ensuring the project is delivered in a way that secures the health and safety of everyone affected by the work.
Principal designers must:
- plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase. In doing so they must take account of relevant information (such as an existing health and safety file) 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