Principal contractors: roles and responsibilities

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

A principal contractor is appointed by the client to control the construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor.

Principal contractors have an important role in managing health and safety risks during the construction phase so they must have the skills, knowledge, experience and, where relevant, organisational capability  to carry out this work.

The principal contractor must:

When working for a domestic client, the principal contractor will normally take on the client duties as well as their own as principal contractor. If a domestic client does not appoint a principal contractor, the role of the principal contractor must be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction phase. Alternatively, the domestic client can ask the principal designer to take on the client duties (although this must be confirmed in a written agreement) and the principal contractor must work to them as 'client' under CDM 2015.

Further guidance on who a principal contractor is; why they are important in influencing how health and safety is managed during construction work; when they should be appointed; and what skills, knowledge and experience they need to carry out their duties in a way that ensures health and safety is available at: Are you a principal contractor?

Updated 2022-08-10