- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 21 Feb 2022
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 coordinator), 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
- Appointing consultants.
- BIM co-ordinator.
- Collaborative practices.
- Consultant team.
- Design coordination.
- Design coordinator.
- Design leader.
- Design liability.
- Design management.
- Design management plan.
- Design manager.
- Design responsibility matrix.
- Design team leader.
- Lead consultant.
- Professional indemnity insurance.
- Project manager.
- Services engineer.
- Specialist designers.
- Structural engineer.
- What is design?
 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
IHBC says farewell to 2022 with 10 NewsBlogs (so far)
IHBC’s NewsBlogs resource and linked free email alert service.
What to do with troublesome statues?
A tricky political issue.
A building that celebrated the end of a year and a millennium.
Centrepiece of the UK’s celebrations, December 31 1999- 2000.
Designing Buildings content from and for its users
Discover more on how simple and quick it is to publish an article.
Recent users articles; Timber and retrofit
Which products, for what reasons.
Recent users articles; Digitally Built Britain
ISO 19650, BIM and data management.
Recent users articles; Interim valuations and payments
Applications, notices ad points to remember.
Recent users articles; What is H-Scaffolding?
Elements, features and areas of use.
Recent users articles; what are NZEBs ?
How do they contribute to Sustainable Development.
The most viewed articles in 2022 on Designing Buildings
Written in the past 6 months, one year and beyond.
Second stairs for new tower blocks
Government launches a 12-week consultation
Happy Festive Holidays to all our users from here at DB
On the first day of Christmas DB for the Industry...
The psychological power of the built environment.
IHBC signpost update from Lords Committee on climate
Government must support behaviour change to meet targets.
Reflecting on 2022 into 2023 with the APM WiPM SIG
Women in Project Management conference 2022.
Types, colours and processing of hydrogen on DB
Grey, green, purple, blue, yellow, turquoise, brown and black.
The Kyoto Protocol a brief reminder on DB
Adopted in 1997, ratified in 2005..
Europe moves to phase out electrical SF6 gas
Sulphur hexafluoride the world’s most potent GHG.
Biomass boiler market on the rise in Europe
Proving to be a driver for decarbonisation targets.
To start a discussion about this article, click 'Add a comment' above and add your thoughts to this discussion page.