Last edited 14 Sep 2020

Designers for buildings and other built assets

A designer is defined in the 2015 CDM Regulations as ‘…an organisation or individual, who prepares or modifies a design for a construction project (including the design of temporary works); or arranges for, or instruct someone else to do so.’

In the first instance, designers are likely to be members of the consultant team appointed by the client. Typically, this will include:

However, the increasing complexity of building design means that there is an ever greater need for further specialist design input such as:

This means that as the design progresses, it may be necessary to appoint additional designers. Specialist designers input can be obtained from:

  1. Acoustic consultant.
  2. Ecologist.
  3. Environmental consultant.
  4. Facilities management consultant.
  5. Fire engineering consultant.
  6. Health and safety consultant.
  7. Inclusive Design (Access) consultant
  8. Interior designer.
  9. Information and communications technology consultant.
  10. Landscape consultant.
  11. Lighting designer.
  12. Masterplanner.
  13. Public health consultant.
  14. Security consultant.
  15. Transport/traffic engineer.

For designers to work effectively as a team they should adopt collaborative practices as early in the project as possible. The requirement to adopt such practices should be included in appointment documents. The client may wish to allocate the roles of lead designer and lead consultant to co-ordinate the work of the rest of the team.

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.

For detailed descriptions of the sequence of activities necessary to appoint designers, see the free work plan stages:

NB: In a submission to the Inquiry into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools in 2016, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) criticised the transfer of responsibility from construction professionals to other parties less involved with the design process and sited the dilution of the role of the design team as one of the causes of poor quality construction.

See Inquiry into the construction of Edinburgh schools view of the RIAS for more information.

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