Posted by: David Cant | October 18, 2008

CDM – Designers duties and responsibilities

Part Three – Duties of Designer
Who are CDM Designers?

A ‘designer’ has a wide definition under CDM 2007. If you design or specify building work, then you are a designer with duties under CDM. Duties apply to all projects, including non-notifiable and domestic projects.

It includes people who prepare:
 Drawings.
 Design details, analysis and calculations.
 Specification and Bills of Quantities.

The design could be on paper, computer or verbal.
Designers include:

 Civil and structural engineers.
 Building services engineers.
 Those specifying or purchasing materials.
 Temporary works designers.
 Interior fit out designers.
 Clients who specify.
 Design and construction contractors.
 Statutory bodies that require features that are not statutory requirements.

Please note – Statutory requirements are exempted i.e. Building Regulation requirements are not designs under CDM 2007.

Where the design work is undertaken by oversees designers, the designers duties under CDM 2007 falls on:
 Person who commissions it if in GB; or
 The client for the work.

What Designers must do for all Projects (Part 2 of the Regulations) –
Designers have to:
 Ensure clients are aware of their duties.
 Make sure they (the designer) are competent for the work they do.
 Co-ordinate their work with others as necessary to manage risk.
 Co-operate with CDM co-ordinator and others.
 Provide information for the health and safety file.
 Designers have to avoid foreseeable risks SFAIRP by:
 Eliminating hazards from the construction, cleaning, maintenance, and proposed use (workplace only) & demolition of a structure;
 Reduce risks from any remaining hazard;
 Give collective risk reduction measures priority over individual measures.

Designers must also:
 Take account of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 when designing a workplace structure.
 Provide information with the design to assist clients, other designers, & contractors.
 In particular – inform others of significant or unusual/ “not obvious” residual risks.
Please Note –
 Designers have to be given relevant information by the CDM co-ordinator
 Risks which are not foreseeable do not need to be considered
 CDM 2007 does not require “zero risk” designs
 Amount of effort made to eliminate hazards should be proportionate to the risk

HSE’s expectation of Designers – ERI(C) principles (Eliminate, Reduce, Inform, Control) –
Eliminate hazards –
 By experience;
 By red amber green lists (optional);
 By challenging existing practice;
 By considering implications of their actions;
 By talking/listening to contractors;
 By complying with Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
Reduce remaining risks –
 Collective measures;
 Individual measures.
Inform others –
 Provide relevant information to project team: other designers, CDM co-ordinator, contractors;
 In particular: highlight significant, “not obvious” risks, & those that are difficult to manage;
 Provide the right information to the right people at the right time;
 How to inform;
 Method of informing is optional;
 Notes on drawings;
 Written information with the design;
 Suggested sequence of construction (only if not obvious);
 If in doubt – discuss it.
Co-operation – a more managed approach will be necessary for larger projects –
 Integrated team involving designers, principal contractor and other relevant contractors;
 The appointment of a lead designer, where many designers are involved;
 Agreeing a common approach to risk reduction during design;
 Meetings of the design team (including the CDM co-ordinator) with contractors, and others;
 Regular reviews of developing designs;
 Encourage site visits, so designers can see how risks are managed on site and vice versa.

What Designers must do for all Notifiable Projects (Part 3 of the Regulations) –
Additional duties for notifiable projects:

 Check that the client has appointed a CDM co-ordinator.
 Only ‘initial’ design work is permitted until a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed.
 Co-operate with the CDM co-ordinator, principal contractors and with other designers or contractors so all can confirm with their CDM duties.
 Provide relevant information for the health and safety file.

What Designer are not required to do –
Designer do not:
 And never have been asked to control risk on site – they can only influence what is within their control.
 Take into account unforeseeable hazards and risks.
 Design for possible future uses of structures that cannot reasonably be anticipated from their design brief.
 Specify construction methods, except where the design requires a particular construction sequence.
 Exercise a health and safety management function over contractors or others.
 Have to consider trivial risks.


  1. […] Part Three – Designers […]

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