CDM 2015: The Duties of a Principal Contractor

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

On site management of health and Safety is crucial to the successful delivery of a construction project.


The Principal Contractor has an important role in managing the health and safety risks of the construction work.

The Principal Contractor is formally appointed by the client, who performs or managers construction work.


As Principal Contractor we organise and control the construction phase of a project involving more than one contractor.


This includes managing Health and safety throughout the construction phase with consultation and engagement with workers.



What must a Principal Contractor do under the CDM Regulations?


  • The Principal Contractor and anyone they appoint MUST have the skills, knowledge & Experience (SKE) to take on the role. Examples of demonstrating SKE include:

  • Records of continuing professional development (CPD)

  • Membership of professional bodies

  • References from previous construction work

  • Ensure that they manage the health and safety risks to everyone affected by the work (including members of the public).

  • Prepare a written construction phase plan before the construction phase begins, implement, and then regularly review it to make sure it remains fit for purpose.

  • Ensure that the construction phase is properly planned, managed, monitored and coordinated.

  • Estimating the period of time required for programming the work.

  • Ensure that the HSE are notified (F10).

  • Organise co-operation between all contractors on site and ensure that they implement all legal H&S requirements.

  • Liaise with client and Principal Designer for the duration of the project to ensure that all risks are effectively managed.

  • Ensure all worker 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.

  • They must ensure that the construction phase is properly planned, managed, monitored, and coordinated as well as organise co-operation between all contractors on site and ensure that they implement all legal H&S requirements.


When working for a Domestic Client.


When working for a domestic client, the Principal Contractor will normally take on the client duties as well as their own as Principal Contractor.

I some cases the domestic client may not appoint a Principal Contractor, in such a case the role of Principal Contractor must be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction phase.

The Domestic client can also ask the Principal Designer to take on the client duties. This must be confirmed in written agreement, the Principal Contractor must work to them as ‘client’ under the CDM 2015


What is the importance of a Principal Contractor?


The Principal Contractor has an important role in influencing how the risks to health and safety are managed during construction work.

The Principal Designer and Principal Contractor contribute under the CDM regulations, on the clients behalf, to managing Health and Safety on the project [big or small] and in doing so provide information to the Health and Safety File which is handed over to the client upon completion of the project, and identifies any residual risks associated with future work on the site.

For more information visit: https: www.citb.co.uk


How can Embark Consulting assist you?


Our trusted Consultants can act as CDM advisors throughout the project, advising and assisting you in discharging your duties and improving safety on your site. Embark will provide you with a quality, competitive service that will enable you to comply with your duties under CDM 2015

This may include but is not limited to:

· Creation of Construction Phase Plans

· Site safety inspections and monitoring

· Reviewing and creation of RAMs

· F10 Notification

· Competency assessments

· Creation of site documentation/folders

· Creating and providing site inductions

· Onsite or classroom training and toolbox talks