Under England’s new Building Regulations, published in August 2023, every building project must now have a designated principal designer. This is an individual or organisation appointed by the client to take the lead on planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health & safety and building regulations compliance during the design of a project.
The RIBA principal designer register will enable individual UK RIBA chartered members who have the necessary knowledge, skills, experience and behaviours to show their competence through a three-stage assessment process: take a test; submit a résumé of training, skills and experience; and an interview stage. A subscription fee will apply, and members will need to re-apply every five years.
The register will include a higher competency level for those working on higher-risk buildings (HRBs) – defined as 18 metres or more in height or having at least seven storeys, and containing at least two residential units.
RIBA chair of board Jack Pringle said: “Demands for stronger building safety regulations and higher professional competence has never been greater – affecting not only architects, but all those involved in the design and construction of buildings.
“The RIBA principal designer register, the sector’s first competency database, provides professionals with a means to demonstrate appropriate professional expertise and, more broadly, to fulfil new Building Safety Act requirements.
“It’s a practical step in the right direction – a fundamental piece of work that supports the greater, industry-wide culture change to ensure the highest standards of building safety.”