Principal Contractor:  Roles and Responsibilities

A Principal Contractor (PC) 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 PC must:

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 the client and Principal Designer for the duration of the project to ensure that all risks are effectively managed.


Prepare a written construction phase plan PDF 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 all persons they appoint have 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 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.


When working for a domestic client, the PC will normally take on the client duties as well as their own as PC.  If a domestic client does not appoint a PC, the role of the PC 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 PC must work to them as ‘client’ under CDM 2015.