Who is The Principal Contractor?

The Principal Contractor is the Contractor appointed to be accountable for all the other Contractors as well as discharge all necessary duties prescribed by CDM 2015 regulations. If there is only one Contractor, this role, understandable, falls automatically to the one. Otherwise, it is the client's job to appoint the Principal Contractor and ensure that he does what he's supposed to.

Duties of The Principal Contractor

The duties required of the Principal Contractor are more extensive than those expected from either the Client or the Principal Designer. This is because the Contractors are the ones who perform the actual work of construction, and are thus responsible to ensure that everything on paper is put into practice.

The Principal Contractor "manages, coordinates, plans and monitors(hse.gov.uk)" the entire process of construction, prevents access to the site by any unauthorized personnel, ensures that those hired are capable of doing their jobs, communicates with the Client and Principal designer to eliminate or minimize risks and hazards, prepares all workers sufficiently to complete their required jobs, writes up the Construction Phase Plan, sees to it that all steps for the health and safety of everyone concerned are duly observed throughout the project, as well as taking charge in designing these steps himself.

All in all, if it concerns the construction process, the workers, or health and safety, the Principal Contractor is responsible. Note that each of the duty holders is responsible for the health and safety of everyone involved. Though each have slightly different concentrations within this umbrella, the concentrations consistently overlap. This is to ensure there at least three people holding the work environment and project design itself to a high standard with regards to this aspect through the entire course of the construction duration.

Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan

This is often referred to simply as the Construction Phase Plan(CPP) and is required of the Principal Contractor with regards to the health and safety aspect of the construction process and the Principal Contractor's steps to comply with certain legal requirements regarding this subject.

The CPP should contain important dates such as the start and end date projected for the job, measures taken to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, site rules, site inductions, emergency and fire protocols, plans for the cooperation and communication of all personnel involved, and plans for adequate welfare facilities. The Principal Contractor must see to it that this plan is constantly referred to and revised as the work progresses. The plan should be clear, concise and very specific. Broad generalizations and general platitudes are often useless and never appreciated.

Specifically, safety risks with regards to a construction project include anything that happens during the construction process that could jeopardize the well-being of the individuals involved. This will include excavations, traffic routes, any public safety concerns, lifting, material storage, and any sort of relocation.

Health risks to be considered throughout the construction process are any concerns relating not so much to life and limb, but more with regards to disease or sickness. Hazardous substances to be used or removed are included in this category such as radiation, gas, or substances including lead. It also includes anything in the category of dust, noise, or flying substances which could negatively impact the health of those involved.

Under CDM 2007 this Construction Health and Safety Plan was only required for notifiable projects. Now, however, CDM requires if for every project that falls into the category of construction. It doesn't matter if your project will take less than twenty-four hours, you are required to have a CPP on hand, and that before the work actually begins.

Until the work is completed, the CPP remains something of a living document. It must be updated as needed during the period of construction. Anything that is added subtracted or modified that falls within the scope of this file must be recorded in the plan as soon as possible.