Since the introduction of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, the role of CDM coordinator has been replaced by the role of principal designer.
The principal designer’s role will be to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the preconstruction phase of a project. The regulations require the principal designer to be a designer who prepares or modifies the design or who arranges for the design to be prepared or modified. Thus, someone who is a health and safety expert but is not involved in the design process would not be qualified to take on the role and the most obvious candidate for the great majority of projects will be the architect.
Even if the architect is also appointed as principal designer, there may be a need for two separate appointments, not least because on a commercial project organised on a design – build basis, the architect may be novated to the main contractor, but his role as principal designer would remain a direct appointment from the client.
Our form of appointment uses much of the language of the 2015 CDM Regulations, not only in the schedule of services, but also in the body of the document, in particular in the clauses setting out the duties of the principal designer and the client - clause 4 and clause 5.
Also, in clause 2, under which the client appoints the principal designer, there is a warranty from the principal designer to the effect that it has the skill and knowledge to fulfil its role, a requirement specified in the regulations.
In other respects, our appointment contains the usual provisions to be found in the appointment of a professional consultant on a construction project. The structure comprises an agreement with 19 clauses over seven pages plus 3 schedules –
Schedule 1 contains project specific details including a description of the project and certain variables such as the interest rate on late payment, insurance limit, liability limit, adjudicator nominating body etc.
Schedule 2 sets out the details of the services and this is largely taken from the wording of the CDM Regulations.
Schedule 3 contains details of the fees and expenses and there are alternative possibilities – a fee calculated by reference to the construction cost of the project, a lump sum payable in instalments, or monthly payments by reference to hourly rates.
There is scope for additional services in clause 7, the cost and time impact to be agreed before they are undertaken.
Clause 9, dealing with professional indemnity insurance, contains a clause limiting the overall liability of the principal designer.
Under clause 10 there is potential for the client to require collateral warranties from the principal designer in favour of identify third parties.
There are also clauses giving each party the right to terminate the agreement in certain circumstances as well as a suspension clause.
More information on the CDM Regulations can be found at this link: