Consultation on proposed revisions to the Construction (Design Management) Regulations in Northern Ireland are set to conclude on 25 March 2015. The revisions mirror changes to the UK regulations which come into force there on 6 April 2015. It is anticipated the Northern Ireland version of the regulations will be brought into force in late 2015. The main change will see the abolition of the CDM Coordinator, with the role replaced by that of Principal Designer. The regulations are also exended to include domestic projects which had previously been exempt.

The regulations are relevant to anyone commissioning a construction project, as well as those within the project team with responsibilities for design or construction.

Responsibilities for the Client

The proposed regulations will place a responsibility on the client within any construction project to ensure that a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor are appointed. The client must ensure that those carrying out these roles have the skills, knowledge and experience and, if they are an organisation, the organisational capability necessary for the delivery of the role. A Principal Designer should not accept the role if they do not have these capabilities.

Appointment of the Principal Designer and the Principal Contractor

(1) Where there is more than one contractor or or if it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project at any time, the client shall appoint in writing —
    (a) a designer as principal designer; and
    (b) a contractor as principal contractor.
(2) The appointments shall be made as soon as practicable, and in any event, before the construction phase begins.
(3) If the client fails to appoint a principal designer the client shall fulfil the duties of the principal designer.
(4) If the client fails to appoint a principal contractor the client shall fulfil the duties of the principal contractor.

NOTE: (3) and (4) do not apply to domestic clients, where the party appointed to carry out the design/construction will assume the responsibilities

Responsibilities for the Principal Designer

The Principal Designer will be responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase of a project in the same way that the Principal Contractor is responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the construction phase. In summary, the principal designer will be responsible for:
  • planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase;
  • ensuring that where reasonably practicable, risks are eliminated or controlled through design work;
  • passing information on to the Principal Contractor;
  • ensuring co-operation and co-ordination;
  • ensuring designers comply with their duties;
  • assisting the client in preparing the pre-construction information; and
  • preparing the health and safety file.
See the full consultation document here:
If you have any queries, C60 Architects and Town Planners can provide advice in relation to the proposed changes to the regulations or advise in relation to your responsibilites for a construction project you may be considering.