The role of lead designer is identified in some forms of contract and appointment such as:
- The Construction Industry Council (CIC) conditions of contract for the appointment of consultants on major building projects.
- The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Standard Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect.
- The Society of Chief Architects of Local Authorities (SCALA) Red Book for the appointment of consultants.
- The New Engineering Contract (NEC) Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC)
The lead designer (sometimes referred to as the design co-ordinator), directs and co-ordinates other designers in the consultant team as well as any specialist designers that are appointed. This role might include:
- Co-ordinating site surveys.
- Co-ordinate the preparation of information for the project brief.
- Co-ordinating the preparation of designs and specifications.
- Integrating different aspects of the design and their interfaces into the overall design.
- Co-ordinating internal and external consultations and design reviews.
- Defining the form and content of design information to be prepared.
- Reporting to the client on design matters and seeking approvals.
- Co-ordinating the preparation of schedules of inspections, tests, mock ups and samples.
- Co-ordinating consultations, negotiations and submissions to planning authorities and other statutory and non statutory authorities.
- Co-ordinating the preparation of tender documentation and reviewing submissions.
- Co-ordinating quality control systems.
- Co-ordinating the issue of production information to contractors and the review of designs prepared by contractors.
- Co-ordinating procedures for inspections, commissioning, testing and client training.
As the role of lead designer involves additional services, beyond those expected from a consultant not appointed as lead designer, it is important that it is discussed with consultants before they are appointed and their scope of services and fee is agreed. The client cannot assume that these services will be carried out within the agreed fee unless the role of lead designer has been allocated.
The lead designer will often be the architect, however this is not necessarily the case and appointment documents for other consultants will generally offer provision for them the be nominated lead designer. For example on a very highly serviced building, or part of a building, the services engineer might be an appropriate lead designer. The building surveyor might be appointed as lead designer on a refurbishment or renovation project where their training and expertise in building materials applied to the existing fabric makes them uniquely qualified for the role.
NB It might also be appropriate to appoint a design co-ordinator (for the co-ordination and integration of design prepared by specialist contractors) and a computer aided design (CAD) and / or building information modelling (BIM) co-ordinator and BIM information manager. Contractors may appoint their own design managers to co-ordinate their own design and that of sub-contractors.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Appointing consultants.
- Collaborative practices.
- Consultant team.
- Design coordination.
- Design liability.
- Design management.
- Design management plan.
- Design manager.
- Design responsibility matrix.
- Lead consultant.
- Professional indemnity insurance.
- Project manager.
- Services engineer.
- Specialist designers.
- Structural engineer.
 External references
- University of Reading, Roles in construction projects: analysis and terminology. Detailed analysis of roles in various forms of contract / appointment.
Featured articles and news
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.
Take a look at the tech start-up that could transform construction design and communication.
This house in Barcelona uses an innovative new facade tiling system to blend into the landscape.
The origins, evolution and future of Level 3 BIM.
For new and returning Urban Design students, check out our article list divided up into the modules you'll be studying.
Report states that health of urban dwellers could be significantly improved by rethinking transport design.
The Kremlin, the centre of Russian power, includes some of the country's finest architecture.