Design Manager (Principle Designer) - Nationwide

Location: Birmingham

About Colas Ltd

Colas Ltd is a UK subsidiary of the global Colas Group, which operates in over 50 countries worldwide and employs over 55,000 people. We are specialists in highways construction and have been involved in large scale UK and international construction projects within the highways, airfields and marine sectors as well as offering highways maintenance services and manufacturing our own innovative surfacing products. We hold a ‘Gold Investor in People’ award for continuously developing and rewarding our employees, offering excellent career potential.

Our UK Projects team specialise in major road, airfield and marine build projects in excess of £100m in value. We work on large-scale projects all over the world such as our Hoima International Airport joint venture project in Uganda. With a big focus on developing this area of our business and some high profile recent wins, it’s a great time to join our UK Projects team.


About the Role

The Design Manager will be responsible for the management and coordination of the design process for our major projects within the Colas UK Projects (UKP) business. This is a nationwide role and you will be expected to travel to sites across the UK.

You will provide effective management of external design consultants to deliver value engineering solutions and designs for major infrastructure projects in the UK. The role will require interface and close working with our bidding and operation teams throughout the project life cycle. The Principle Designer will need to drive efficiency and rigour in technical delivery by providing cross-programme co-ordination and technical leadership. They will also be responsible for driving excellence in health and safety, ensuring that risks are eliminated, or minimised in the design process.

You will:

  • Be responsible for the design process during preconstruction and delivery stages of the project lifecycle. Ensuring that the process is implemented and followed on all UKP opportunities
  • Draft and design scope documents and deliverables to support contractual negotiations and commercial agreements with design partners
  • Develop and deliver the design to time, budget and quality requirements
  • Be the key point of contact with our design partners throughout the design development stages, providing responsive and constructive feedback on design progression
  • Manage the overall design performance to cost and programme expectations
  • Produce budget forecasts for tender design requirements as required
  • Act as the first point of contact for all design related deliverables during the tender process Challenge and review designs to ensure that they meet the company’s safety, operational and commercial objectives whilst responding to the employer’s requirements and works information in a compliant submission
  • Lead the value engineering and innovation within the design process for opportunities using engineering and technical expertise including commercial, contractual and programme/time awareness
  • Collaborate with the commercial and operational team to generate designs that are cost effective whilst meeting the clients outcomes
  • Contribute to the wider tender quality submission deliverables where requested
  • Provide reports as required by the bid steering committees and the UKP management team
  • Be responsible for Line Management responsibility for members of the technical team as it grows
  • Assist in the development of succession and business continuity plans for the UK Projects technical team
  • Monitoring and control of the overall design scope
  • Support stakeholder engagement on design issues as appropriate
  • Approve and control the issuing of designs for construction
  • Instruct change to the designers and managing design change across the design disciplines
  • Liaise with other team members and all other stakeholders and develop best practice working
  • Take overall responsibility for Performance Indicators applicable to design activities. Manage and monitor requirements and report monthly. Produce corrective action reports and implement their recommendations where required

On top of a highly competitive salary, Colas also offer some great benefits with this role, which include: 

  • Competitive pension contribution
  • Company car or car allowance
  • 25 days annual leave per annum + bank holidays with the option to buy or sell up to 5 days annual leave
  • Opportunity to study towards a professional qualification
  • NI free childcare vouchers
  • On-going training, and personal professional development
  • Discounts on car leasing, holidays, cinema tickets, restaurants, shopping and much more through our online employee benefits portal


About You

You will have significant previous experience in a Design Manager position or a similar role and have worked in multi-disciplinary teams to deliver portfolios of projects throughout the project lifecycle. You will also have:

  • Relevant qualifications for the position such as a degree and membership of a professional body such as IMechE IET, ICE etc.
  • Temporary Works Coordinator accreditation desirable.
  • BIM accreditation or working knowledge desirable.
  • Further qualifications in design management or project management would be useful.
  • Have a minimum of 10 years’ experience of managing and working in multi-disciplinary teams to deliver portfolios of projects throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Relevant and demonstrable experience of managing design processes through the project lifecycle is essential.
  • Ability to travel throughout the UK and to Europe may be required
  • Ability to lead and take responsibility for design management is essential.
  • Able to develop strong relationships and engender trust at all levels of the organisation and with clients, design consultants and stakeholders by effective communication is essential.
  • Strong communications skills to be able to unambiguously communicate targets, and priorities.
  • Appropriate recent experience in geotechnical engineering.
  • Competent in geotechnical engineering.
  • Broad skills, knowledge and understanding of other design areas.
  • Understanding of health, safety and environmental requirements related to geotechnical engineering.
  • Broad knowledge of CDM and other health and safety legislation.
  • Be competent in exercising the Principal Contractors and Principal Designer’s obligations of CDM.
  • Good understanding of environmental requirements.
  • Good knowledge of quality management.
  • Detailed knowledge of design codes (DMRB / MCDHW etc).
  • Good knowledge of the use of computer design tools.
  • Recent experience of managing and working in multi-disciplinary design teams and coordinating interfaces with other disciplines


Colas is fully committed to promoting equality and diversity and maintaining a culture of fairness, transparency and respect for all employees, clients, communities, suppliers, contractors and other stakeholders. Colas aims to be inclusive, meet diverse needs and promote awareness and ownership in the workplace and the communities in which we serve.

Colas values the strength and differences that a diverse workforce brings to the organisation and believes that by harnessing these differences, we will foster a productive environment where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, where talents are being fully utilised and organisational goals are met.

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Equal Opportunities

We are committed to being an Equal Opportunities Employer. We wish to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly and appointed solely on their suitability for the post.

The equal opportunities information requested is strictly confidential and for monitoring purposes only. The information will be stored securely in line with the Colas Limited Candidate Privacy Notice and kept separate from the information used in recruitment decisions.

The Equality Act defines a disability as “A physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities”. To be protected by the Act an individual must therefore have: • A long term physical or mental impairment (lasting or likely to last for 12 months or more) and • A condition that has a substantial adverse impact on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities

In submitting this application, I acknowledge that I have read and understood Colas Limited’s Candidate Privacy Notice