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Designers Responsibilities

Designers Knowledge Base

Designer's Duties under the Regulations

  • Ensure that the client is fully aware of their (the client's) duties under the regulations and also of the existence of the approved code of practice which gives practical guidance on complying with the regulations.
  • Do not continue design past commencement of initial or preliminary design on notifiable projects until the Principal Designer has been appointed.
  • Design to avoid risks to health and safety, or that is not reasonably practicable, reduce risks by the design decisions.
  • Ensure design includes adequate information about health and safety
  • Ensure, when engaging other designers that they are competent and adequately resourced
  • Co-operate with all other duty holders.
  • Tackle the causes of risk at source, or, if this is not possible reducing and controlling the effects of risks by means aimed at protecting anyone at work who may be affected by them.
  • Ensure that information about significant risks remaining in the design are passed to others engaged on the project.

These responsibilities are qualified by what is reasonable for a designer to do at the time the design is prepared and by what is reasonably practicable. In other words the risk to health and safety posed by a feature of the design must be weighed against the cost of excluding the feature.

The cost of exclusion

  • The cost of excluding a design feature can consist of a combination of elements including financial cost. Consideration must also be given to:
    • buildability
    • fitness for purpose
    • aesthetics
    • environmental impact

Preparing the Design

In preparing the design the designer should carry out a risk assessment of those risks that he could be reasonably be expected to foresee. The risks are to those who build, maintain, repair, clean and ultimately, demolish, the structure and risks to others who may be affected by the activities of these persons.

The designer should next consider methods by which the structure might be built and the hazards and risks associated with these methods.

The designer who specifies substances and equipment for use during the construction work must analyse the risks associated with them and avoid or reduce these risks by appropriate alternative selection.

Design information

Information on principles of design requiring particular attention by the contractor when considering construction, any special requirements for the purposes of maintenance of the structure and information about the significant hazards and risks inherent in the design should be passed to the principal contractor for inclusion in the construction phase plan or health & safety file. By this means the prospective principal contractors are alerted to those health and safety issues in the design to which they may need to devote extra resources.