BTP’s Principal Designer Services

Health and Safety and our Role as Principal Designer

Principal Designers play a crucial role in fostering collaboration and coordination among designers. They guide the project team in meeting statutory requirements right from the start.

At BTP, our Principal Designer services encompass both the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Building Regulations (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 roles. Our expertise is particularly focused on housing, supported living, complex and high-rise schemes. We combine statutory compliance with creative and practical design solutions.

With having just under a decade of experience providing CDM Principal Designer services and already having two Architects listed on the RIBA Register for Building Regulations Principal Designers, BTP is well-equipped to guide your project, ensuring it progresses smoothly and successfully.

What are the Building Safety Act 2022 and the Building Regulations (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023

The Building Safety Act 2022 and it’s secondary legislation The Building Regulations (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 represent a significant update to the legislation concerning the design and construction of all buildings especially higher-risk buildings (HRBs). It impacts all stakeholders in the construction sector, including clients, consultants, and contractors.

Implemented on October 1st, 2023, the Building Safety Act introduces important changes to ensure enhanced safety standards across the built environment. However, there is a transition period in place.

If your building project was registered with a local authority for building regulations prior to April 6th, 2024, and significant on-site work commences (according to the new definition of commencement), it will be governed by the previous rules. Projects falling outside of this scope will be subject to the regulations outlined in the Building Safety Act.

It's essential for all parties to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Building Safety Act and Building Regulations to ensure compliance and uphold the highest standards of safety in construction practices.

Where Do Building Regulations Principal Designers Come In?

Principal Designers play a crucial role as Dutyholders within the framework of the Building Regulations. Alongside other Dutyholders such as the Client, Designer, Contractor, and Principal Contractor, Principal Designers ensure that coordinated construction designs comply with Building Regulations.

Specifically, they:

  • Collaborate and Coordinate: work closely with all other Dutyholders to ensure that building safety and compliance is designed-in throughout the project.
  • Support: provide support to the client by verifying the competence of other designers involved and taking a pro-active approach to planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating all design activity throughout the project.

In the case of higher-risk buildings (HRBs), Building Regulations Principal Designers have additional duties related to liaising with the Building Safety Regulator concerning the gateway submission process. This involves ensuring that the design and construction of HRBs meet stringent safety requirements and undergo thorough regulatory review.

Why Choose BTP’s Building Regulations Principal Designer Service?​

  • Proven Competence, Skills, and Knowledge: BTP's Building Regulations Principal Designers possess the required competence, skills, and knowledge required for the role. This ensures that your construction project is in capable hands, facilitating the selection of a skilled team as mandated by your duties as a client under the Building Regulations.
  • Early Adoption and Accreditation: Managing Director Vicky Saunders and Director Leanne Beirne were among the first in the country to join the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Register as Principal Designers (Building Regulations and CDM), including for Higher Risk Buildings. This early adoption demonstrates their commitment to staying ahead of industry standards and regulations.
  • Combined Design and Safety Management Experience: BTP's Principal Designers bring a wealth of experience in both design and safety management to the table. This comprehensive skill set allows them to effectively navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance while delivering innovative and practical design solutions.

In summary, by choosing BTP's Building Regulations Principal Designer service, you can trust that your construction project will be guided by experienced professionals with a proven track record of ensuring compliance, safety, and successful project outcomes.

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Is the Building Regulations Principal Designer Role Essential?

Yes, the Principal Designer role is essential for most construction projects, with additional responsibilities for High-Risk buildings as defined by The Building Safety Act. Without a designated Principal Designer, the responsibility for ensuring compliance with Building Regulations falls upon the client, unless the client is a domestic one.

This means you’re responsible for taking all reasonable steps to make sure designs comply with the Building Regulations. Failing to fulfil these responsibilities adequately can have serious consequences, including criminal charges and unlimited fines.

Therefore, having a qualified and experienced Building Regulations Principal Designer is crucial for ensuring that the design phase of a construction project proceeds smoothly, safely, and in complies with all the relevant regulations.

Under the Building Regulations, who are the new duty holders and what are they responsible for?

The new duty holders are the Client, the Designer, the Principal Designer, the Contractor, and the Principal Contractor. Full details of their roles, responsibilities and competencies can be found in The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 Part 2A, Dutyholders and Competence. However, in respect of Building Regulations compliance, we note the following key points:

  • The Client (non-domestic) is required to make suitable arrangements for the project to ensure compliance.
  • The Designer is required to ensure that their design, if built, complies.
  • The Principal Designer is required to plan, manage, monitor, cooperate, coordinate, communicate and take all reasonable steps to ensure that the multi-disciplined and coordinated design work, when built, complies.
  • The Contractor is required to ensure that their building work complies.
  • The Principal Contractor is required to ensure that all building work complies.
Who can perform the role of the Building Regulations Principal Designer

The law requires that “Individuals (undertaking the role of Building Regulations Principal Designer) must be able to demonstrate the full range of skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours for the role they have been appointed to…e.g. completing formal training, providing a portfolio of work detailing relevant experience and knowledge”. It is our view that the Building Regulations Principal Designer is expected to be trained, knowledgeable and experienced in the fields of Building Regulations and design, especially the confluence of multi-discipled specialist designs such as architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, façade systems etc. High Risk Buildings carry additional legal requirements concerning inspecting and reporting during the construction phase, and storage of building data and competence-recording of designers. The Building Regulations Principal Designer will be expected to have systems, processes, and competencies in place to meet these requirements. In addition to the legal requirements for competence and experience, anyone wishing to undertake this role should make these requirements clear to their insurers.

Does the Building Regulations Principal Designer need to visit site?

Under the new Building Regulations, the new Principal Designer’s role is to plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate matters related to the design work. They must take all reasonable steps to ensure that designs, when built, demonstrate compliance with the Building Regulations. This is equally true for the fulfillment of their own legal duties or when supporting Clients in meeting theirs. For High-Risk buildings, the government has issued additional guidance explicitly requiring the recording and evidencing of design work during the construction phase.  However, it is our view that for all complex projects, to meet the requirements of the new legislation, it would not be reasonable to consider design coordination to be purely a desk-based exercise that stops at pre-construction. The process of design continues throughout the construction phase. Invariably, multi-discipled designs require coordination, resolutions, and clarifications until handover. Without physically seeing and recording the enactment of designs as they are constructed, a BR-PD cannot have reasonably fulfilled their duties on all but the simplest of build projects.

Design and building work: meeting building requirements - GOV.UK (

Keeping information about a higher-risk building: the golden thread - GOV.UK (

Who should appoint the Building Regulations Principal Designer?

We would recommend that the client appoint the Building Regulations Principal Designer rather than the contractor. Under the new Building Safety Act and Building Regulations, the contractor is now no longer solely responsible for the design as they used to be under D&B. The client is now also a Duty-holder in ensuring the completed building confirms to Building Regulations. As you would expect, the other duty holders are the Designers, the Principal Designer and the Contractor. Clearly the client can’t be expected to be an expert in design, Building Regulations and construction, so a direct appointment for BR-PD would mean BTP can effectively support the client in ensuring they have the appropriate checks and balances in place to fulfil their duties.

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