This week saw the end of the six month transitional period provided under the CDM Regulations 2015.  

During the transitional period, clients have been able to continue to employ a CDM co-ordinator to work on a project, without appointing a principal designer.  However, from 6 October 2015 clients are required to formally appoint a principal designer for any projects continuing or beginning after that date or they will be faced with having to take on the duties of the principal designer themselves.

A key question that many clients have been asking is who should fulfill the role of principal designer given the ambiguous definition which captures anyone who prepares or instructs design in the course of its business and is “in control” of the pre-construction period.

Some of the approaches that we have seen used to date include:

  • architects, quantity surveyors or project managers being appointed as principal designer (although a point should be raised as to their query level of expertise regarding health and safety);
  • CDM co-ordinators taking on the role of principal designer (but queries may be raised as to their design capability);
  • firms previously undertaking CDM co-ordinator practices appointing or recruiting others in order to comply with the requirements of being a principal designer;
  • principal contractors undertaking the principal designer role; or
  • the Client assuming the principal designer role.