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appointing a principal designer letter
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Appointing a principal designer letter

Appointing a principal designer letter

If your construction project is likely to involve two or more contractors, you must appoint a principal designer (PD). Our template letter provides a suggested format for this formal appointment.

Legal reasons

The requirement to appoint a PD is described within the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM). These state that all clients of construction work must make this appointment in writing, in addition to appointing a principal contractor. To help you we’ve produced an Appointing a Principal Designer Letter.

What’s the purpose?

When a construction project involves more than one contractor there’s the potential for many more accidents. The work of the different contractors needs to be co-ordinated to ensure that their schedules are compatible.

The PD takes charge of the safety arrangements in the pre-construction phase. This might sound strange as at the planning stage there is clearly very little risk of an accident. However, a large part of the PDs role is to ensure that there is a good exchange of information and proper forward planning so that once on site things run smoothly.

Who do you choose?

The PD is often an architect but need not be. Whether they’re an individual or an organisation, they must have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to carry out all the functions of the role. This includes understanding technical aspects of the build as well as health and safety. It’s acceptable for the PD to be part of the client’s organisation, provided the right skills are present.


It’s essential that you agree with the appointee in advance that they are willing and able to take on the role as it does involve duties above and beyond those of just a designer. Our document is a short and simple letter which rubber-stamps the appointment.

Note. Make the appointment as early as possible in the project and ideally at the concept stage.

What’s in the letter?

The letter includes spaces for the appointee’s name, project description, key dates, location etc.

Since not all designers are familiar with the PD’s duties, our letter gives a very brief summary of the requirements, plus a link to further HSE information.

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