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CDM Principal Contractor Duties

Dr. Khalid Bhutto Articles

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Who is a Principal Contractor?

A Principal Contractor is an individual or an organisation who is responsible for co-ordination of health and safety matters on a construction site. It is a legal requirement in the UK for clients of non-domestic construction projects to appoint a Principal Contractor for their projects. This legal requirement applies to those projects which involve more than one contractor on site.



What are Principal Contractor duties under CDM Regulations?


Regulation 8, 12, 13 and 14 of the CDM Regulations 2015 list the duties of a Principal Contractor on a construction project and they are as follows:


  • A contractor (including a Principal Contractor) appointed to work on a project must have the skills, knowledge and experience and, if they are an organisation, the organisational capability, necessary to fulfil the role that they are appointed to undertake, in a manner that secures the health and safety of any person affected by the project. (Regulation 8 (1)).

  • A contractor must not accept an appointment to a project unless they fulfil the conditions in paragraph (1 (Regulation 8 (2)).

  • Principal Contractor must cooperate with any other person working on or in relation to a project, at the same or an adjoining construction site, to the extent necessary to enable any person with a duty or function to fulfil that duty or function. (Regulation 8 (4)).

  • Principal Contractor is required to provide information or instruction and they must ensure that the information or instruction is comprehensible and provided as soon as is practicable. (Regulation 8 (6)).

  • During the Pre-construction Phase, and before setting up a construction site, the Principal Contractor must draw up a construction phase plan or make arrangements for a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) to be drawn up. (Regulation 12(1))

  • The Construction Phase Plan (CPP) must set out the health and safety arrangements and site rules taking account, where necessary, of the industrial activities taking place on the construction site and, where applicable, must include specific measures concerning work which falls within one or more of the categories set out in Schedule 3. (Regulation 12 (2)).

  • Throughout the project the Principal Contractor must ensure that the Construction Phase Plan (CPP) is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised from time to time so that it continues to be sufficient to ensure that construction work is carried out, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risks to health or safety. (Regulation 12 (4)).

  • During the project, the Principal Contractor must provide the Principal Designer with any information in the principal contractor's possession relevant to the health and safety file, for inclusion in the Health and Safety File. (Regulation 12 (7)).

  • If the Principal Designer's appointment concludes before the end of the project, the Principal Designer must pass the Health and Safety File to the principal contractor. (Regulation 12 (8)).

  • Where the health and safety file is passed to the Principal Contractor under paragraph (8), the Principal Contractor must ensure that theHealth and Safety File is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised from time to time to take account of the work and any changes that have occurred. (Regulation 12 (9)).

  • At the end of the project, the Principal Designer, or where there is no Principal Designer the Principal Contractor, must pass the Health and Safety File to the client. (Regulation 12 (10)).

  • The Principal Contractor must plan, manage and monitor the Construction Phase and coordinate matters relating to health and safety during the Construction Phase to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, construction work is carried out without risks to health or safety. (Regulation 13 (1))

  • In fulfilling the duties in paragraph (1), and in particular when –

      (a) design, technical and organisational aspects are being decided in order to plan the various items or stages of work which are to take place simultaneously or in succession; and

      (b) estimating the period of time required to complete the work or work stages;

    the Principal Contractor must take into account the General Principles of Prevention. (Regulation 13 (2))
  • The Principal Contractor must –
    • (a) organise cooperation between contractors

      (b) coordinate implementation by the contractors of applicable legal requirements for health and safety; and

      (c) ensure that employers and, if necessary for the protection of workers, self-employed persons -

  • The Principal Contractor must ensure that –
    • (a) a suitable site induction is provided;

      (b) the necessary steps are taken to prevent access by unauthorised persons to the construction site; and

      (b) facilities that comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 are provided throughout the Construction Phase. (Regulation 13 (4))

  • The Principal Contractor must liaise with the Principal Designer for the duration of the Principal Designer's appointment and share with the Principal Designer information relevant to the planning, management and monitoring of the Pre-construction Phase and the coordination of health and safety matters during the Pre-construction Phase. (Regulation 13 (5)).

  • The Principal Contractor must –
    • (a) make and maintain arrangements which will enable the Principal Contractor and workers engaged in construction work to cooperate effectively in developing, promoting and checking the effectiveness of measures to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the workers;

      (b) consult those workers or their representatives in good time on matters connected with the project which may affect their health, safety or welfare, in so far as they or their representatives have not been similarly consulted by their employer;

      (c) ensure that those workers or their representatives can inspect and take copies of any information which the Principal Contractor has, or which these Regulations require to be provided to the Principal Contractor, which relate to the health, safety or welfare of workers at the site, except any information –

        (i) the disclosure of which would be against the interests of national security;

        (ii) which the Principal Contractor could not disclose without contravening a prohibition imposed by or under an enactment;

        (iii) relating specifically to an individual, unless that individual has consented to its being disclosed;

        (iv) the disclosure of which would, for reasons other than its effect on health, safety or welfare at work, cause substantial injury to the principal contractor's undertaking or, where the information was supplied to the Principal Contractor by another person, to the undertaking of that other person;

        (v) obtained by the Principal Contractor for the purpose of bringing, prosecuting or defending any legal proceedings. (Regulation 14)


Client CDM Duties




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CDM 2015 Guidance




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