The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has launched a public consultation on a guidance document aimed at those acting as principal designers or principal contractors under the Building Safety Act 2022 (the "Act").

The draft guidance document forming the basis of the consultation can be found here and aims to help principal designers and principal contractors understand the building safety competencies and the organisational capability they need to carry out their roles. Clearly, it will also be useful to employers who have to satisfy themselves of the competence of those that they employ to fulfil these roles. Employers should note that if they fail to appoint someone to carry out these roles on a project then (other than for domestic clients) the responsibilities of these roles are retained by the client.

More specifically, the draft guidance document:

  • Explains the roles of principal designer and principal contractor. The guidance document states that both roles can be held by an individual or organisation, for example a principal designer can be an architect, engineer or surveyor in control of the design work, and a principal contractor can be a construction company or contractor in control of the building work.

  • Provides a summary of the contents of the competency standard found in the British Standard Publicly Available Specification ("PAS"). The relevant PAS are 8671:2022 Built environment – Framework for competence of individual Principal Designers and 8672:2022 Built environment – Framework for competence of individual Principal Contractors. The PAS outline the expected skills, knowledge, experience, behaviours and ethics and additional competences for HRBs and limits of competence for principal designers and principal contractors.

    A Principal Designer should be part of the design team, be able to co-ordinate that team and know enough about the building regulations to assess whether a building design will comply with all the relevant regulations.

    A Principal Contractor should be able to take responsibility for the site and manage the flow of information to make sure that those who need information get it. They should also be able to work with designers and other contactors to ensure that the works carried out will comply with all the relevant regulations.
  • Explains how a principal designer or principal contractor can demonstrate and assess competence under the PAS. Competence can be demonstrated in a number of ways, such as formal training, experience and knowledge. It is expected that both principal contractors and principal designers will be able to provide information to demonstrate that their skills meet the standards set out in the appropriate PAS.

The consultation is open until 24 April 2023 and those who wish to provide their views can do so by following this link.

For further information on matters relating to the Building Safety Act please see our Building & Fire Safety Hub.


Emily O'Sullivan

Senior Solicitor

Eric Johnstone

Legal Director

Louise Shiels

Head of Dispute Resolution and Risk & Partner