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:
- plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the entire construction phase
- take account of the health and safety risks to everyone affected by the work (including members of the public), in planning and managing the measures needed to control them
- liaise with the client and principal designer for the duration of the project to ensure that all risks are effectively managed
- prepare a written construction phase plan before the construction phase begins, implement, and then regularly review and revise it to make sure it remains fit for purpose
- have ongoing arrangements in place for managing health and safety throughout the construction phase
- consult and engage with workers about their health, safety and welfare
- ensure suitable welfare facilities are provided from the start and maintained throughout the construction phase
- check that anyone they appoint has the skills, knowledge, experience and, where relevant, the organisational capability to carry out their work safely and without risk to health
- ensure all workers have site-specific inductions, and any further information and training they need
- take steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site
- liaise with the principal designer to share any information relevant to the planning, management, monitoring and coordination of the pre-construction phase
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?