Acting as the lead designer/lead consultant is the normal basis of appointment. We will be tasked with coordinating and integrating the designs produced by all the designers engaged for the project.
In terms of coordination and leading the team, the lead designer/lead consultant may be expected to produce a design programme and take steps to see that the other consultants (for example, quantity surveyor, services consultants structural engineers, etc) adhere to it. The role can involve coordinating the designs of specialist sub-contractors including checking sub-contractors’ tenders, although it should be noted that the appointment of such consultants and/or sub-consultants are the responsibility of the client and are separate to that of the Lead Consultant who would not be expected to be liable for their work.
In relation to integration, the lead designer/lead consultant may be expected to take care to see that their own design is compatible and integrated with the designs of the remainder of the design team and specialist sub-contractors. The obligation might extend further – to a general duty to see that the designs produced for the project are compatible with each other. As ever, which position applies will depend on the terms of the appointment.
The role of the lead consultant, but not the lead designer, can often involve duties to advise on the need for other consultants, sub-contractors and specialists and the scope of their services, procurement matters and managing significant changes to the design.
In order to limit liability, a lead designer/lead consultant usually seeks to ensure that their appointment agreements include a clause to make it clear they do not accept responsibility for the designs of others. A check should be made to ensure there is a positive obligation in the other consultants’ agreements, which places the onus on them to cooperate with the lead consultant/lead designer and to integrate their designs with the designs of the other consultants, specialists and sub-contractors. It is also usual to incorporate provisions to exclude liability on the part of the lead designer/lead consultant for any work, materials or goods or workmanship carried out by any of the other consultants and/or sub-contractors