The prevention through design (PtD) initiative places a duty on designers to originate designs that are inherently safe for construction, maintenance, occupation and demolition. In the UK, legislation has been introduced creating a new statutory role called the principal designer (PD) to ensure that PtD occurs during the design process. To realize this objective, PDs under the regulations must have appropriate skills, knowledge and experience (SKE) of occupational safety and health risks as they relate to construction products. However, there is a paucity of knowledge, in the extant literature and in practice, regarding what specifically constitutes PDs’ SKE of PtD and how to measure the same.
The study undertook a systematic review of meanings of SKE and carried out content analyses to provide robust conceptualizations of the constructs SKE. This underpinned the development of nomological networks to operationalize the constructs SKE in respect of PDs’ ability to ensure PtD.
PDs’ SKE of PtD are presented as multidimensional constructs that can be operationalized at different levels of specificity in three theoretical models.
The models indicated in this study can assist project clients to clarify the PtD SKE of prospective PDs in the procurement process. Correspondingly, PDs can look to these frameworks to identify their SKE gaps and take steps to address them.
This study contributes to the PtD literature by providing theoretical frameworks to clarify the PtD SKE of PDs. The study provides a basis for future research to empirically test the attributes of these as they relate to PDs’ competence to ensure PtD.
This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 837721.
Declarations of interest: None.
Adaku, E., Ankrah, N.A. and Ndekugri, I.E. (2022), "Prevention through design: conceptual models for the assessment of a principal designer’s skills, knowledge and experience", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 595-623. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-07-2020-0278
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