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12 VIEWS


The client will have options to appoint an adequately resourced small, medium or large practice or firm as the lead designer. An individual owner, partner or employed individual within those organisations may be authorised by the building safety regulator to carry out the role of principal designer. If that is not the case, the client may elect to commission a separate individual or organisation to act as principal designer. Ideally, the lead design team appointed on a project will also assume the role of ‘principal designer’ under a dual appointment and the principal designer/lead designer will be:  appointed from inception to completion and also post completion


 a suitably qualified and experienced designer


 registered by the building safety regulator to fulfil the role.


This dual appointment would: 1. Focus clients on their key role in procurement at project inception, including selection of the principal designer, design team & procurement strategy


2. Reduce fragmentation on the design control of a higher risk project, i.e. where multiple lead designers are appointed


in subsequent work stages to partial services, any changeover increases risk of discontinuity


3. Keep those appointed to lead the design from inception of the completion of the construction stage


4. Reduce risk during site operations in managing change in design or specification during construction


5.Ensure the lead designer is involved in site operations and inspections


6.Ensure that the ‘Golden Thread of Information’ is managed by the lead designer and handed over in appropriate detail to the building safety manager and tenants/occupants


7. Improve the likelihood that a designer is consulted during occupation on maintenance, repair, or refurbishment of the building during its lifetime. This, I have argued, should be mandatory.


Could an individual be principal designer under a separate appointment? Yes, but ideally the principal designer is embedded into the lead design team throughout the project in order to ensure that the key concepts in the project design are


sustained in detail, with integrity, and duly certified at the relevant project gateways. Without this, there are dangers of having two designers appointed with parallel roles with potential conflicts, to the detriment of the project and its progress.


Insurance


As the principal designer role will be mandatory, insurers will have to respond accordingly. I believe that clients, their designers, their inspection and construction teams will place an onus on collaboration, which will drive the insurance industry towards project insurance and collaborative contracts. It is a potentially new income stream for insurance, but has to be counterbalanced by more realistic levels of PPI – for designers and construction insurance alike.


The reality is that the whole team shares the risks on construction projects. If we are to successfully emerge from a litigious and blame-ridden industry, we may soon be seeing insurance representatives becoming more involved at all stages of a project.


Richard Harrison is a council member of the Association of Consultant Architects


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF MAY 2021


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