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Importance of a Lead Designer

By VOLOCO LLP, Sep 28 2019 02:34PM

On several building projects if not all projects involve two or more designers and/or consultants who will design elements of the building. Many projects will involve an architect, structural and civil engineer, building services engineers and specialist design consultants.

If all of these designers and consultants work in isolation this is when issues arise, the role of the lead designer is to ensure that all design elements are co-ordinated therefore it is important to appoint a lead designer on all projects. The lead designer directs and co-ordinates other designers involved with the project, this includes any specialist designers who are appointed.

The role of lead designer involves additional services beyond those expected from a consultant who is not appointed as a lead designer. When appointing the consultants, it is important to establish the best suited designer for the role and ascertain the scope of services required, this will then allow the consultant to provide a fee for the services. Assumptions cannot be made that the role of lead designer will be included within the agreed fee unless the role of lead designer has been allocated and the services agreed.

The role of the lead designer is to integrate and co-ordinate the designs of others, this will include but is not limited to Architect, Structural Engineer, Services Engineers, Acoustic consultants and specialist designers. The lead designer is often the architect as they know what other specialist designers are doing which enables them to challenge these designs when submitted. The lead designer is responsible for integrating and co-ordinating the designs of others this involves spotting where there are gaps and get them filled, and to negotiate good solutions when clashes occur.

In the appointment of the lead designer it is key to review the programme and lead times for different packages and agree timescales with the them for them to co-ordinate and comment on the information submitted, these comments will then be fed back to the other designers for them to review and make any amendments. Following the amendments, the lead designers review and co-ordination is carried out again until the information is suitable for construction.

The lead designer doesn’t have to be the architect as it will depend on the project, should the project have a high services involvement then the services designer would be an appropriate lead designer. If the project is a refurbishment or renovation project the building surveyor might be appointed as the lead designer where their training and expertise in the building materials applied to the existing fabric could make them uniquely qualified for the role.

To ensure that each project has a co-ordinated design it is key that a lead designer is correctly appointed and the scope of services are clear for the delivery. Without the lead designer the risk is with the company employing the various designers and/or consultants to ensure that the design is co-ordinated and any clashes resolved.

Should you need any assistance in establishing who the lead designer needs to be or the scope of services for the lead designer, we can support you and your business with this.

We are soon to be launching an innovative Contractor Support service aimed at providing advice and support to individuals and companies who may be experiencing challenges or with growth and improvement ambitions.


VOLOCO LLP are developing an online portal providing access to a range of procedures, guidance and forms, learning tools, access to remote online and telephone support and face-to-face consultant time with one of our team.


If this is something that you feel would benefit you or your business and want to find out more, please get in touch by email or telephone.

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