Principal Designer Duties

Under CDM Regulations 2015, the Principal Designer is responsible for the pre-construction phase of the project.

At FEG, we offer full CDM support, including CDM Principal Designer duties, to ensure you meet your legal requirements. Our agile and practised project management team bring multi-disciplined engineering skills across mechanical, electrical, structural and process engineering.

Our comprehensive CDM Principal Designer services include:

  • Development of initial brief and documentation
  • Pre-construction planning and management and preparation of documentation
  • Pre-construction liaison with designers, Principal Contractor and contractors
  • Identification, communication and resolution of H&S risks to appropriate stakeholders
  • Monitoring and controlling CDM compliance from all designers
  • All necessary meetings and reviews attendance
  • Ongoing liaison and support with Principal Contractor throughout project
  • Assembly of required H&S documentation for project completion handover
  • Dedicated CDM consultant for each project
  • RIDDOR compliance and reporting
2 Sisters Factory Extension
Principal Designer £6.5m project

Our mutli-discipline engineering team worked as CDM Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to convert this warehouse site into a food production facility including; chilled storage, blast freezing, hygienic flooring and drainage, changing rooms, main production hall and a new production line.

Why do you need a CDM Principal Designer?

Under CDM 2015, as a client you have a legal requirement to appoint a CDM Principal Designer on any construction project where there is more than one contractor. This applies to projects of all sizes and types, from home renovations to civil engineering schemes.

The Principal Designer’s role is to plan, monitor, manage and coordinate the health and safety during the pre-construction phase of a construction project.

However, the role doesn’t end once construction begins. It extends throughout the construction phase through the Principal Designer’s duties to liaise with the Principal Contractor and ongoing design work.

The only time when it is acceptable not to appoint a CDM Principal Designer is when there is only one contractor involved for the duration of the project and they do not use any subcontractors.

What do we do as your CDM Principal Designer?

As your Principal Designer our role is to oversee health and safety arrangements during the pre-construction phase.

Our key CDM Principal Designer duties are:


  • Assisting you with project set-up and ensuring you understand your CDM duties. As Principal Designer we will also consider if construction work is a notifiable project and support you with appointing a Principal Contractor if required
  • Notifying details of the project to HSE and issuing and managing the F10 notification
  • Planning, managing and coordinating the pre-construction phase, including holding design meetings to ensure the designers are aware of any risks posed. Design decisions can have an implications on health and safety during the construction phase, so it’s essential that these are managed and there is regular communication between designers
  • Supporting you in compiling pre-construction information
  • Identifying potential risks that arise in their own designs and the overall project design and eliminating and controlling them where possible
  • Ensuring other designers on the project are complying with CDM regulations
  • Offering advice on time and resources
  • Providing advice and collating the project pre-construction and health and safety information pack on behalf of the Principal Contractor


Construction phase

  • Liaising with the Principal Contractor and other designers throughout the construction phase, including answering any queries and ensuring the Principal Contractor has prepared the construction phase plan
  • Preparing the health and safety file, including information provided by the Principal Contractor


Project completion   

  • Reviewing and updating the health and safety file
  • Handing over the health and safety file or ensuring the Principal Contractor has all the relevant information if the Principal Designer’s appointment finishes before project completion
cdm principal designer

Can we be both Principal Contractor and Principal Designer?

The simple answer is yes. Technically it is possible for the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer roles to be undertaken by the same individual/organisation. 

On smaller design and build projects, where a CDM Principal Designer has already managed the pre-construction duty holder responsibilities, they may be the most sensible choice to also act as Principal Contractor.

However on very large-scale projects it may not be practical to have one contractor acting in both roles due to the tendering process and project schedule. The appointment of two separate duty holders also brings the benefit of two sets of eyes on a project from safety, efficiency and quality perspectives.

Formal guidance within the CDM Regulations states:

Organisations or individuals can carry out the role of more than one duty holder, provided they have the skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) the organisational capability to carry out those roles in a way that secures health and safety.

Regardless of who is chosen as either CDM Principal Designer or Principal Contractor, they must have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience (SKATE) to undertake the role. This includes specific technical knowledge relevant to the project and proven ability to manage the required duties. This could be established through CPD records or professional membership. Thorough PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) processes should be used to show evidence of suitability of an organisation/individual to carry out any CDM duty holder responsibility.

Solid and dependable CDM duties from FEG
Principal Designer Requirement?

We offer proven teams in CDM Principal Designer and Principal Contractor duties. Our in-house team of expert engineers and project managers come with the skills, qualifications and experience to deliver a safe and compliant project.

Associated Services

Our team are experts in delivering CDM-compliant services. Find out about about what else we can offer you.