Chas Bray | Sep 15, 2022 | Blog

Health and Safety in Construction – Principal Contractor Role

A man and woman discussing health and safety

Part 2

Please read part 1 before continuing, where we discussed Construction Design Management Regulations.

Who is the Principal Contractor?

“The Principal Contractor (Main Contractor) is the contractor in overall control of the construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. They are formally appointed by the Client and there should only be one Principal Contractor for a project at any one time. The Principal Contractor is responsible for managing health and safety risks on the construction site.

The term project is used to describe any construction, building, infrastructure repair or maintenance work, whether on a fixed or transient site.

The Principal Contractor must be capable of carrying out the role and have the right skills, knowledge, and experience, dependent upon the nature of the work, as well as the range and nature of health and safety risks involved.

The Principal Contractor liaises with the Client and Principal Designer throughout the project, including during the pre-construction phase (once selected).

There are two important phases of a project: before and during construction or building work. This guide refers to them as:

The Principal Contractor is a key duty holder (within CDM 2015) who is responsible for managing health and safety on the construction site. The term ‘managing’ includes planning, monitoring and coordinating the construction phase so that health and safety risks are controlled. Key actions include:

Overall, the Principal Contractor has a huge role to play in ensuring legal compliance (CDM 2015), making sure that all works are being conducted in a safe manner and ensuring that the project is delivered in accordance with the clients’ requirements.


The full series covering CDM Compliance

Sources for this blog:
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations – CITB
Construction – Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 (

Further reading