The Principal Designer is appointed by the Client to take charge of the planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the health and safety during the pre-construction phase. Following this manner, they are responsible for considering relevant information regarding the health and safety that tend to affect design work that has been carried out prior and during construction phases. They are obliged to maintain this health and safety file – reviewing, updating and revisiting the information along the course of the project.They offer assistance and advice to their clients on pre-construction information needed to be combined, whilst distributing necessary information for the designers and contractors to perform their duties. Additionally, they work in conjuncture with designers on the project to remove possible health and safety risks to the people affected by the work and, action is taken to reduce the impact of the risks whenever complete elimination of risk is not possible.
They are also responsible to coordinate the work of all parties involved in the pre-construction phase by means of healthy communication and cooperation amongst them whenever necessary. In addition, they are also responsible for checking that the designers have the needed skills, knowledge, experience and organisational abilities to perform the tasks. They co-ordinate with the Principal Contractor to keep them aware of potential risks which need to be controlled over the entire construction period.
In a domestic client project when no principal designer being appointed by the client, the Principal Designer’s role is carried out by the designer responsible for the pre-construction phase. In the event of working with a domestic client, the client duties are normally shifted to another duty-holder (mostly the principal contractor on projects that involve multiple contractors). Nevertheless, following a written legal agreement, the Principal Designer is eligible to additionally take over these client duties.