View Design Authority


‘Design Authority’ is a term that is used often. It is an important idea that has implications for the management, execution and responsibilities for a product design.


Design Authority has been in use within the UK defence industry for a long time. It probably stems from the requirements to be a Design Approved Organisation in order to be a ‘fit’ organisation to be awarded a design and development contract for ‘Procurement of total aircraft integrated systems, aircraft and associated equipment, airborne explosive ordnance and armament equipment’.

DEF STAN 05-123 now uses the more non-descript term ‘Design Organisation’ to make it clear that only they - the MoD - are an authority:

The term “Design Authority (DA)”, referring to an organisation appointed by contract to be responsible for a design or modification of a design, has been replaced by the term “Design Organisation (DO)”; this is to reflect that whilst the contracted organisation is responsible for the design and for signing the Certificate of Design, the authority for acceptance of a design and any change to that design is vested in the MOD IPTL.

For ‘Design Organisation’ read ‘Design Authority’:

DEF STAN 05-123:

6.4.2 A Design Organisation is the organisation responsible for the detailed design of materiel to approved specifications and authorised to sign certificates of design in accordance with the procedures laid down in this standard.

There are then a set of responsibilities that the Design Organisation / Design Authority must execute:
DEF STAN 05-123:

7.2 Responsibilities of a Contractor

7.2.1 When a contractor is appointed as a Co-ordinating Design Organisation for a system or equipment, he shall:
a) prepare and maintain the system specifications; and
b) provide the appropriate sub-system and interface data in the form of specifications and drawings for those parts of the system or equipment that are to be designed by other Design Organisations.
In addition, he shall prepare the certificate of design for the system or equipment and submit it to the MOD IPTL for acceptance.

7.2.2 When a contractor is appointed Design Organisation or Co-ordinating Design Organisation, his responsibility to the MOD shall include:
a) design of the materiel, including all necessary development and testing, to the requirements of the contract specification;
b) preparation, updating and custody of specifications, drawings and other data associated with the design of the materiel;
c) submission of reports, as required, on progress of the work;
d) preparing an appropriate certificate of design and its submission for MOD acceptance;
e) ensuring that the design will be suitable for production in facilities agreed between the contractor and MOD;
f) design of packaging as required for the materiel;
g) preparation of, or supply of information for, the necessary technical publications;
h) collaboration with the relevant MOD IPT concerned and its agencies in the preparation and provision of information for maintenance of the materiel;
i) post design services.

‘Technical Publications’ includes the documentation supplied with the system for its operation and training, maintenance and support.

Full size:File:DesignOrganisation.jpg

It isn’t just the technical competence that is important, it’s the maintenance of an adequate design record throughout the life of the system as Design Authority doesn’t end when the contract finishes.

If, as is usual, there are any sub-contractors the Design Organisation / Design Authority must:
DEF STAN 05-123:

The contractor shall make such arrangements with his sub-contractors, and they with theirs as will ensure that the sub- contracted materiel is satisfactory and that the relevant procedures of DEF STAN 05-123 are followed.

In particular, the contractor shall:
a) provide and maintain adequate specifications for sub-contracted materiel, delegate authority as appropriate for the detailed design of the materiel and agree the arrangements for preparation, updating and custody of drawings and other design records, and for design acceptance;
b) satisfy himself that the design and testing of sub-contracted materiel are adequate for the proposed application;
c) obtain from sub-contractors nominated as Design Organisations in accordance with Clause 6.4, a certificate of design that the materiel complies with the specification, and confirm in writing to the sub-contractor his acceptance of the certification.

Architectural Modelling Application

In terms of representation in an architecture description, Design Authority is a role.


•  Ministry of Defence. Defence Standard. DEF STAN 05-123. Technical Procedures for the Procurement of Aircraft, Weapons and Electronic Systems. Part 1 - Approval Procedure and Responsibilities. Issue 2. 29th October 2004.


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