Principal Designer (CDM 2015):

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

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 duty-holder (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.

Whether your project is large or small, it is important that you understand your responsibilities.  Below the link to the HSE website where they offer a number of free downloads to help you better understand your roles as a client or contractor.

If we can be of assistance on any of your projects then use the ‘contact us’ on-line form, call our freephone number or go to the TEAM tab at the top of the page where you will find a page and contact details for senior members of the team. We look forward to hearing from you.


Be assured, the Archway Consultancy team are qualified professionals and hold memberships to their relevant professional organisations.  For more details on any of our services use the contact us form or email one of the team directly, or call us on the freephone number.  We are always happy to help.