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Designers - Pulling Together the Right Health by Design Ideas

Designers make decisions that affect the whole lifecycle of a project. They need help to understand how to make the right ones. You can make this happen by bringing in stakeholders from across the project lifecycle.

The designer’s role is to collaborate with others to surface the requirements for a good design. And to support the realistic emergence of design ideas into a physical reality. Designers are practiced at communication and collaboration, but there may be many wants that clients have in mind covering aesthetics, quality of finish, sustainability and safety; as well as constraints such as time, cost, quality and reliability. Designers attempt to meet the performance requirements of their own training as well as key drivers from law in areas such as:

* Universal Design - which should incorporate a two-level approach:

  1. User-aware design: pushing the boundaries of 'mainstream' products, services and environments to include as many people as possible.
  2. Customisable design: to minimise the difficulties of adaptation to particular users.

* Legal design standards such as CE marking - The manufacturer is any natural or legal person who manufactures a product or has a product designed or manufactured, and places it on the market under his own name or trademark.

* The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), which identify a designer as an organisation or individual whose business involves preparing or modifying designs for construction projects, or arranging for, or instructing, others to do this. Designs include drawings, design details, specifications, bills of quantity and design calculations.

Each area of law puts different requirements onto a designer. A designer’s decisions can affect the health and wellbeing of all those involved in developing a construction, a product or a service and those who use, maintain, refurbish and eventually demolish it.

Designers can differ depending on the number of different levels within a development activity:

  • Designer – Project
  • Designer – Component
  • Designer – Manufacturer
  • Designer – 1st tier contractor
  • Designer – 2nd tier contractor

So, it is important to recognise that there are many designers in a project, each with their own needs to meet. These are each able to influence the long-term performance of the output in relation to health and wellbeing. For our work in Health by Design it is most important for designers to increase their competence to communicate, cooperate and coordinate with other contributors to the project. This will enable us to grow beyond the current levels of knowledge that are developed and exchanged around Health by Design. When managing Health by Design, a designer keen to help a client meet their legal and moral obligations towards health and wellbeing should seek to inform the client of the importance of the topic and the need to get the relevant requirements into contracts and design information.

To eliminate foreseeable risks designers should consider the Occupational Health Hazards that their work on the railway might have to manage.

As a designer you should also be aware of the principles of good health and wellbeing design management form guidance documents such as the 'Australian Guidance on the Principles of Safe Design for Work' and 'Crossrail’s Healthy by Design Guidance' (both linked below) as well as Universal design hubs.

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