The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 are due to come into force on 6 April 2015, replacing the current 2007 version. While the 2015 Regulations are in draft form and could change before the enforcement date of 6 April, construction professionals may need to act now to ensure compliance.

For projects starting before the 6 April 2015, if the construction phase of your project has not yet commenced and the CDM Co-ordinator has not yet been appointed (appointed means appointed in writing), then you need to appoint a “Principal Designer” to comply with the 2015 Regulations.  A “Principal Designer” will also need to be appointed by 6 October 2015 to replace any CDM Co-ordinator already appointed for projects started before 6 April 2015 and which will end after 6 October 2015.

It’s more than a name change - the Principal Designer must be a “designer”. The 2015 Regulations define a designer as any person who: prepares or modifies a design; or arranges for, or instructs, any person under their control to do so.

This is a key change - under the 2007 Regulations the CDM co-ordinator has to be competent to perform the specified duties of a CDM Co-ordinator but he does not have to be a designer.  Some CDM Co-ordinators already comment on design helping to improve the overall heath and safety of the project and the finished building. Notwithstanding this, many current CDM Co-ordinators will not sit within the 2015 definition of a “designer” and so cannot assume the role of a Principal Designer.

Finding the right home for the Principal Designer role within your design team is key. Projects already procured with a selected CDM Co-ordinator who has yet to be appointed in writing may also have to review their procurement strategy in light of this change.

If you would like further advice on this or on the 2015 Regulations in general, please get in touch.