Principle Designer CDM

Compass HSC have the necessary skills, expertise, and practical experience to ensure that a construction / demolition project meets with the requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations have been around for 21 years and have gone through a number of developments commencing in 1994.

Under the provisions of CDM 2015, a new role entitled “Principal Designer” has been introduced and when applied correctly will play a pivotal health and safety management role within the construction project team, involving designers and a Principal Contractor.

In order to undertake the role of principle designer effectively, the individual must be competent by way of their Construction industry experience allied to a recognised health and safety qualification, such as the NEBOSH Construction certificate or greater.


The Principal Designer is responsible for managing the preconstruction phase of the project.

Advising the Client on general design and Construction matters and specifically health and safety issues to be managed.

Ensure that designers are fulfilling their responsibilities under CDM to provide a design that can be constructed as safely as possible- will function without undue risk to the users and can also be maintained safely.

Principle Designer CDM

At Compass HSC Ltd we have the necessary skills, expertise, and practical experience of both the Construction industry hazards and risks and how to ensure that a construction/ demolition project meets with the new requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

For over 20 years we have been involved as project Managers, Construction Managers, Planning Supervisors and CDM Co-ordinators in all types of construction projects, from the small and simple to major multi-million pound construction projects.

Our Clients come from a diverse range of Industries including, Nuclear, petro –chemical, Local Authority, NHS.

If you are looking for a Principal Designer, or assistance with undertaking the role of Principal Designer please get in touch.


Regulation 9- CDM 15 requires Designers to consider health and safety implications to those persons who may be affected across all life cycle phases of the project namely:

Constructability, Operability, Maintainability, Disposal of assets.

In order to achieve this effectively, designers must have some level of knowledge and understanding of current health and safety regulations related to the construction sector to which their designs relate.

With this in mind, we have created 6 short training videos aimed at designers across all disciplines to give guidance and a better understanding of the key health and safety principles of the following regulations:-

  • CDM 2015-Designers duties
  • Work at Height
  • Confined Spaces
  • Manual handling
  • Occupational health


The Health and Safety Executive has recently mandated that all Chartered Architects must undertake health and safety awareness training following initial recommendations due to Grenfell Tower disaster.

Click ‘Learn More’ to see extracts.


Here is some examples of question we regularly receive from designers

Who is responsible for producing or preparing the health and safety file

I am often asked this question by Architects-The requirement to prepare as suitable health and safety file has been a constant requirement since the introduction of the CDM Regulations back in 1994- its possibly not the greatest title that could have been chosen – other names such as Project completion file (PCF), project hand over file, and commonly, operating and maintenance (O&M) file may have given a clearer meaning/definition to this non-the less important document.

CDM 2015, requires the Principal Designer to develop this file during the pre-construction stage of the project, and include any information that may be of interest to the Principal Contractor.

On the appointment of a Principal Contractor the pre-construction health and safety file is passed to the PC and it is their responsibility to develop this with any relevant construction phase information.

On completion of the construction work and prior to formal hand back of the work to the Clients benefit- the Principal Designer shall review the suitability of the document. Suitability implies all necessary information has been provided, and that the file is suitably indexed to help the Client locate all necessary information simply and quickly.

In all other circumstances where perhaps only a contractor is engaged, they are under a similar obligation to pass over to the client any information that they may rely on to operate, maintain or clean the completed works.

What happens if my design proposal is changed by either the Client or Principal Contractor

On the basic presumption that you have provided a design that is functional to meet the Clients requirements, and that the design meets with any standards, codes, or best practice and better yet is CDM compliant, and this is then rejected or overruled by the Client, or Principal Contractor, then they become the designer and would be therefore liable for any subsequent consequence arising out of their alternative decisions.

The above statement significantly underplays the seriousness of this situation which has far more significant and far reaching implications.

Current project examples

We are currently acting as PD on a new fire suppression system at a large chemical production facility in Cheshire.

Following a serious fire in 2016, and having rebuilt the facility in 2017, the new fire suppression scheme is an insurer’s new stipulation.

The work involves the civil, structural and mechanical/electrical design of 2 fire water storage tanks, fire water pump house structure, new services bridge structure and the installation of all mechanical and electrical services working in and around a “ live” chemical manufacturing facility.

The construction period is 10 months.

Rolls-Royce- Aero Engine Manufacturing Division-Barnoldswick

We are providing Principal Designer services to Rolls-Royce for a number of fixed plant modifications. CDM applies to the alteration or conversion of fixed plant ( Structures), particularly where work will take place on all necessary mechanical and electrical services infrastructure.

Many of the specialist machine supplies have little or no previous experience of CDM so a large portion of our service is to help the appointed PC with understanding their duties, specifically those organisations from the EU.

Domestic housing development project

Acting as the PD for 6 new domestic townhouses, involving close liaison with the developer, the design team, and the appointed Principal Contractor.

Added complication involves the proximity of the site boundary to a “ live” rail line and adjacent properties.

Related Services

Training Courses.

Our courses are informative, practical, enjoyable & utilize many years of experience.

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E-Learning Courses.

Access e-learning giving fantastic cost savings on the conventional tutor lead classroom environment.

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Helping all businesses, large or small, low risk to the more complex, comply with applicable health and safety legislation.

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Contact Compass HSC

A Leading Lancashire based Health & Safety Consultancy

Compass HSC Logo - Lancashire based Health and Safety Consultancy

37 Madison Heights,
Coopers Row,
Cypress Point,
Lytham St Annes,