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Contractors

Principal Contractors / Contractors / Construction workers

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

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Principal Contractors: Roles and Responsibilities

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
    • liaise with the client and principal designer for the duration of the project
    • prepare a written construction phase plan before the construction phase begins
    • 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
    • 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 relevant information and training
    • 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

Contractors: Roles and Responsibilities

A contractor is anyone who directly employs or engages construction workers or manages construction work. Contractors include sub-contractors, any individual self-employed worker or business that carries out, manages or controls construction work.  They must have the skills, knowledge, experience and, where relevant, the organisational capability to carry out the work safely and without risk to health.

Contractors and the workers under their control are most at risk of injury and ill health from construction work. Contractors therefore have an important role in planning, managing and monitoring their work to ensure any risks are controlled.

Contractors on all projects must:

    • make sure the client is aware of the client duties under CDM 2015 before any work starts
    • plan, manage and monitor all work carried out by themselves and their workers, taking into account the risks to anyone who might be affected by it (including members of the public) and the measures needed to protect them
    • check that all workers they employ or appoint have the skills, knowledge, training and experience to carry out the work, or are in the process of obtaining them
    • make sure that all workers under their control have a suitable, site-specific induction, unless this has already been provided by the principal contractor
    • provide appropriate  supervision, information and instructions to workers under their control
    • ensure they do not start work on site unless reasonable steps have been taken to prevent unauthorised access
    • ensure suitable welfare facilities are provided from the start

In addition to the above responsibilities, contractors working on projects involving more than one contractor must:

  • coordinate their work with the work of others in the project team
  • comply with directions given by the principal designer or principal contractor
  • comply with parts of the construction phase plan  relevant to their work

Where a contractor is the only contractor working on a project, they must ensure a construction phase plan  is drawn up before setting up the site.

When working as the only contractor for a domestic client, the contractor takes on the client duties, as well as their own as contractor. However, this should involve them doing no more than they will normally do to comply with health and safety law.

Where a domestic project involves more than one contractor, the principal contractor normally takes on the client duties and the contractor will work to the principal contractor as ‘client’. If the domestic client does not appoint a principal contractor, the role of the principal contractor must be carried out by the contractor as principal contractor and the client duties must be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction phase and the client duties must be carried out by the contractor as principal contractor. 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 contractor must work to them as ‘client’ under CDM 2015.

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