Design wing of PWD deals with the design, research, investigation and quality control aspects of various infrastructure projects and is headed by a Chief Engineer. Chief Engineer is assisted by the Director (Research & Quality Control), Director (Buildings) and Director (Highways) in the design and quality control aspects. The organisational setup of the Design wing is as shown below
At present, the department is having specialised units for structural design of buildings, design of bridges, design of highways, Geotechnical engineering unit , Environmental engineering unit , MEP design unit for Building services (Electrical design, Plumbing design and HVAC design) and a project preparation unit with sufficient staff strength. The Design wing is functioning with headquarters in the office of the Chief Engineer (Design) in Thiruvananthapuram known as Chief Design Office (CDO). In addition there are Regional Design Offices (RDO) at Ernakulum and Kozhikode. Apart from this there is a full fledged investigation and quality control wing under the Design wing which is having regional I&QC laboratories at Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulum and Kozhikode with sufficient district level quality control laboratories.
The Kerala Highway Research Institute (KHRI) at Thiruvananthapuram carries out research & quality control works and gives advice and guidance for advanced construction works undertaken by the department. KHRI has well established laboratories for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, Concrete Division, Traffic Division and Flexible Pavement Division.