Principal Contractors & Contractors

CDM (2015) SAFETY LTD

Principal Contractor

 

The role of Principal Contractor is not a new one, but their responsibilities have changed since 2007.

 

Principal Contractors are defined in the 2015 CDM Regulations as ‘…contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor …They … must possess the skills, knowledge, and experience, and (if an organisation) the organisational capability necessary to carry out their role effectively given the scale and complexity of the project and the nature of the health and safety risks involved.‘

 

For projects involving more than one Contractor, the Client must appoint a Principal Contractor as soon as practicable and before the start of the construction phase, so they have enough time to plan and manage the construction phase.

 

If the Client fails to appoint a Principal Contractor, the Client must fulfil the duties of the Principal Contractor. However, if a domestic Client fails to make an appointment, the Contractor in control of the construction phase of the project is the Principal Contractor. A domestic Client is someone who has construction work done on their own home, or the home of a family member, which is not done in connection with a business.

 

The role of Principal Contractor involves:

 

  • Planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the construction phase of a project
  • Consulting and engaging with workers
  • Liaising with the Client and Principal Designer
  • Ensuring anyone they appoint has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience and, where they are an organisation, the

organisational capability to carry out the work in a way that secures Health & Safety

  • Coordinating the work of Contractors
  • Ensuring that the Contractors under their control cooperate with each other
  • Ensuring suitable site inductions are provided
  • Ensuring reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access
  • Ensuring that suitable welfare facilities are provided and maintained throughout the construction phase
  • Before the construction site is set up, preparing, reviewing and revising the Construction Phase Plan for the project setting out

Health & Safety arrangements and site rules

  • Ensuring that the Construction Phase Plan is appropriately reviewed, updated and revised during the construction phase
  • Providing the Principal Designer with any information in the Principal Contractor’s possession relevant to the Health & Safety File

 

If the Principal Designer’s appointment finishes before the end of the project, the Health & Safety File must be passed to the Principal Contractor for the remainder of the project. The Principal Contractor must then take on the responsibility for reviewing, updating and revising it and passing it to the Client when the project finishes.

 

Where a Client is a domestic Client, the Principal Contractor must also carry out the duties of the Client under the regulations, unless there is only one Contractor (in which case the Contractor must carry out their duties) or there is a written agreement that the Principal Designer will fulfil those duties. See Client duties under CDM 2015 for more information.

Contractors

 

The duties of Contractors have changed since 2007.

 

Contractors are defined in the guidance to the 2015 CDM Regulations as ‘…those who do the actual construction work and can be either an individual or a company’ that is, ‘…anyone who directly employs or engages construction workers or manages construction is a contractor. An individual, a sole trader, a self-employed worker, or a business that carries out, manages or controls construction work as part of their business can be a contractor. This also includes companies that use their own workforce to do construction work on their own premises. The duties on contractors apply whether the workers under their control are employees, self-employed or agency workers.’

 

A Contractor would typically be an earthworks company engaged as a sub-contractor by the Principal Contractor on a road construction project or a plumber engaged by a house builder to install the plumbing in a new build house.

 

On projects where there is more than one Contractor, the Client must appoint a Principal Contractor to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the construction phase of the project.

 

The duties of a Contractor under the regulations include:

 

  • Planning, managing and monitoring construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to Health & Safety, taking into account the risks to all those who may be affected, such as members of the public and those carrying out the construction work
  • Cooperating with other Dutyholders
  • For projects involving more than one Contractor, complying with directions given to them by the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor
  • Complying with the Construction Phase Plan
  • Ensuring Sub-Contractors and Designers they appoint have the skills, knowledge and experience and where relevant, organisational capability to carry out the work for which they are being appointed
  • Making enquiries to ensure the individuals they appoint have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to carry out works in a way that secures Health & Safety for anyone working on the site; or that they are in the process of obtaining them
  • Establishing whether training is necessary for any worker
  • Ensuring that appropriate supervision is provided
  • Providing employees and workers under their control with the information and instructions they need to carry out their work without risk to Health & Safety. This must include a site induction, information about emergency procedures and information about relevant hazards.
  • Not beginning work on site unless reasonable steps have been taken to prevent unauthorised access to the site
  • Providing welfare facilities. On projects involving more than one Contractor, this will involve consultation with the Principal Contractor who has a similar duty
  • Not carrying out any construction work unless they are satisfied that the Client is aware of their duties under the regulations

 

If the Client fails to appoint a Principal Contractor, the Client must fulfil the duties of the Principal Contractor. However, if a domestic Client fails to make an appointment, the Contractor in control of the construction phase of the project is the Principal Contractor. This gives them a number of additional duties, including preparing a Construction Phase Plan. See CDM 2015Principal Contractor for more information.

 

A domestic Client is someone who has construction work done on their own home, or the home of a family member, which is not done in connection with a business.

 

Where a Client is a domestic Client, the Principal Contractor must carry out the duties of the Client under the regulations, however, where there is only one Contractor, this means the Contractor must carry out those duties (unless there is a written agreement that the Principal Designer will fulfil them). See Client duties under CDM 2015.

 

Where Contractors are involved in design work, including for temporary works, they also have duties as Designers.

 

Specific requirements are set out in relation to:

 

  • Safe places of construction work
  • Good order and site security
  • Stability of structures
  • Demolition or dismantling
  • Explosives
  • Excavations
  • Cofferdams and caissons
  • Reports of inspections
  • Energy distribution installations
  • Prevention of drowning
  • Traffic routes
  • Vehicles
  • Prevention of risk from fire, flooding or asphyxiation
  • Emergency procedures
  • Emergency routes and exits
  • Fire detection and fire-fighting
  • Fresh air
  • Temperature and weather protection
  • Enforcement in respect of fire

 

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with requirements under CDM 2015 will remain a criminal offence punishable with unlimited fines and for individuals, imprisonment.