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Our Principal Contractor sERVICE

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Once we have been appointed as principal contractor to control the construction phase of the project.  We gather the projects required pre construction information from the client and principal designer.  We then develop as required, a pre demolition audit, a construction phase plan, a construction environmental management plan, logistics documents and risk assessments.


We have an important role in managing health and safety risks during the construction phase.  Through training, and continuous professional development we have developed the skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to carry out the works we negotiate.

As holders of the Contractor Health and Safety (CHAS) Elite accreditation we have proven our commitment to health & safety, quality and sustainability.

We are proud to be becoming a climate positive workforce and company through our environmental and sustainability improvements.

As principal contractor we undertake a wide range of functions:

  • We 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 our client and their 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 we appoint has the skills, knowledge, experience and, organisational capability to carry out their work safely and without risk to health

  • ensure all workers and visitors 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​

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) Important Information

Who is a principal contractor?

A principal contractor is the contractor with control over the construction phase of a project involving more than one contractor. They are appointed in writing by the client to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase. 

Why is a principal contractor important in ensuring construction is carried out in a way that avoids harm?

A principal contractor, in close cooperation with the client and the principal designer, has an important role in influencing how the risks to health and safety are managed during construction work. This includes ensuring standards are understood and followed. 

Which projects require the appointment of a principal contractor?


A principal contractor must be appointed in writing by the client where a project involves more than one contractor. 

When should a principal contractor be appointed?

The principal contractor should be appointed by the client as early in the project as possible and before the construction phase begins. This is so that the principal contractor can:

  • allow time to plan the work of the construction phase and, in liaison with the principal designer and others involved in the project, identify any risks to health and safety and the control measures which need to be put in place

  • record details of any planning in a construction phase plan

  • work with the client for the duration of their appointment

  • liaise with the principal designer for the remainder of their appointment for the purposes of planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the pre-construction phase

The effort devoted to planning should be proportionate to the complexity of the project and the level of risks involved. 

What skills, knowledge and experience does a principal contractor need to carry out their duties in a way that ensures health and safety? 


A principal contractor must be able to demonstrate that they have the skills, knowledge, experience (SKE) and the organisational capability to carry out the work they are being appointed for.


The level of SKE should be proportionate to the scale and complexity of the project and the nature of the risks to health and safety. 


Examples of demonstrating SKE might include:

  •  records of continuing professional development (CPD) including training records

  • membership of professional bodies

  • references from previous construction work

Examples of demonstrating organisational capability might involve:

  • using pre-qualification assessment services from third party assessors, such as those who are members of Safety Schemes in Procurement Forum (SSIP)

  • self-assessing using the standard health and safety pre-qualification questions in Publicly Available Specification PAS 91

Planning for Construction Work

Who is responsible?

  • The client must make suitable arrangements for managing their project, enabling those carrying it out to manage health and safety risks in a proportionate way.

  • A principal designer must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during the pre-construction phase (design and planning stage) of a project involving, or likely to involve, more than one contractor.

  • A principal contractor must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during the construction phase of a project involving, or likely to involve, more than one contractor.

  • A contractor must plan, manage and monitor all work carried out by themselves and their workers.


Early appointment of the principal contractor

The principal contractor should be appointed by the client early enough in the pre-construction phase to allow them to work closely with the client, and in any event before the construction phase begins.  This will also give the principal contractor time to work and liaise with the principal designer in sharing any relevant information for health and safety. 

As the project moves from the pre-construction phase into the construction phase, the principal contractor should take the lead in planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety, while continuing to liaise with the client and principal designer.

Construction phase plan

A construction phase plan must be prepared for a project before the construction phase begins.  The plan must outline the health and safety arrangements, site rules and specific measures concerning any work involving the risks listed in Schedule 3 of the CDM 2015 Regulations.  

Planning the construction phase and drawing up a construction phase plan is the responsibility of:

  • The principal contractor for projects involving more than one contractor; and

  • The contractor for single contractor projects.

Pre-construction information and any key design information, identifying risks that need to be managed during construction work, will be helpful in planning the construction phase and drawing up the construction phase plan.

Planning the work

Gathering as much health and safety information about the project and the proposed site before work begins is important. 

Information available at tendering should be used so that allowance is made for the time and resources required to deal with problems.  


Sources of information include: 

  • the client; 

  • the design team; 

  • contract documents; 

  • the main contractors for the site; 

  • specialist contractors and consultants; 

  • trade and contractor organisations; 

  • equipment and material suppliers; and 

  • HSE guidance and British or European Standards.

It is important to find out about the history of the site and its surroundings and to see if there are any unusual features which might affect the work, or how the work will affect others.  In particular it is important to pay attention to: 

  • asbestos or other contaminants; 

  • overhead power lines and underground services; 

  • unusual ground conditions; 

  • public rights of way across the site; 

  • nearby schools, footpaths, roads or railways; and 

  • other activities going on at or close by to the site.

Much of this information may be found in the pre-construction information provided by the client, including health and safety files that may exist from any previous construction work at the site.  Contents from such files and documents are always taken into account before tenders are submitted. 


When estimating costs and preparing the programme of work, we consider any health and safety hazards associated with the work and make sure suitable allowances have been made in the price.

The project always has a better chance of running smoothly, efficiently and safely if hazards have been predicted, planned for and controlled from the outset.  Having to stop or reschedule work to deal with emergencies wastes time and money.

When materials are bought, or equipment is hired, the supplier has a duty to provide certain health and safety information.  We always make sure this is obtained and understood.  Sometimes it is necessary to: 

  • Use a specialist who is familiar with the necessary precautions; 

  • carry out an assessment of the health risks arising from substances or equipment; and 

  • act on our findings e.g. by eliminating harmful substances where possible, or by using a less hazardous method of work or providing training on the safe use of the material or equipment.

When programmes of work are prepared, we consider whether there are any operations that will affect the health or safety of others working at the site.  For example: 

  • We think about access to the workplace – which trades will need to go where and when? 

  • arrange the work to make sure everyone who needs to use a scaffold or other means of access has time to do so and plan to make sure the access will be safe and suitable for their use; 

  • timber treatment or site radiography usually has to be done when no one else is on site and the site may have to be left vacant for a few days;  

  • where a specialist contractor is used, we check the requirements with them and programme the work well in advance.

We always discuss proposed working methods with contractors before letting contracts.  We find out how they are going to work, what equipment and facilities they are expecting to be provided and the equipment they will bring to the site.  We identify any health or safety risks that their operations may create for others working at the site and agree control measures. 


We always obtain site specific health and safety risk assessments and method statements. We decide what plant will be required and check that it will be suitable.  Plan material deliveries in line with the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), considering route planning to mitigate risks and improve sustainability and consider storage needs.  

We rigorously plan our emergency and rescue procedures.  This information is visibly displayed around site for all visitors and workers on site and is included in our site specific induction.

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