Principal Contractor

Acting as principal contractor, R&M Property Group are the contractor with control over the construction phase of a project involving more than one contractor. They are appointed in writing by the client (commercial or domestic) to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase.
The CDM Regulations place responsibility for managing the health and safety of a construction project on three main duty holders. The client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project, and is supported by the principal designer and principal contractor in different phases of the project.

For the successful delivery of a project, good working relationships between the duty holders are essential from the start.

  • The client ensures that the construction project is set up so that it is carried out from start to finish in a way that adequately controls the risks to the health and safety of those who may be affected
  • The principal designer manages health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project. The role extends to the construction phase through the principal designer’s duties to liaise with the principal contractor and ongoing design work
  • The principal contractor manages the construction phase of a project. This involves liaising with the client and principal designer throughout the project, including during the pre-construction phase
  • Depending upon the nature of the project, the principal designer and principal contractor may be supported by designers, contractors and workers. There are two important phases of a project: before and during construction or building work
  • The pre-construction phase: the inception, design and planning stage of a project (before the construction or building work starts), although it is acknowledged design and planning continues into and through the construction phase
  • The construction phase: the start-to-finish stage of the construction or building work. Even the simplest tasks, such as arranging routine maintenance or Minor building work, require adequate time to plan and manage the work safely
  • Planning: preparing a construction phase plan that ensures the work is carried out without risk to health or safety
  • Managing: implementing the plan, including facilitating co-operation and co-ordination between contractors
  • Monitoring: reviewing, revising and refining the plan and checking work is being carried out safely and without risks to health
  • Securing the site: taking steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site by using fencing and other controls sitors


As the principal contractor, you must work with the client and principal designer throughout the duration of the schemes delivery. Talk to the client about their needs and expectations for the project to better understand the project requirements. R&M Property Group check and ensure that the client is aware of their CDM 2015 duties.
This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions to better plan and manage the design and the health, safety and welfare. Where the site is part of an occupied building or structure we will need to liaise with the client and their existing contractors, such as those responsible for facilities management.
If the client requires their contractors to work at or access your site then they have a duty to liaise and co-operate with you in order for you to manage health and safety risks.
R&M will liaise and co-operate with the principal designer, who is responsible for managing the preconstruction phase and design work during construction, and share any information which may be relevant to help them consider health and safety in their design. R&M are able to use our experience to discuss construction methods and opportunities to enhance worker health and safety during the design development. We also have the resources to offer the principal design role in house with our own architects service.


Planning is an essential part of managing a construction site and should start as early as possible to identify health and safety risks, control measures and resources needed to reduce or eliminate them. Our approach takes place for all
phases of the construction work.
We think about how we will monitor site health and safety standards and control measures so that they remain effective. When identifying appropriate control measures, find out if the work could be avoided or done in a different but safer way. If not, see how you can reduce the risks through a variety of means. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) must be a last resort. This approach is known as taking into account the general principles of prevention.


R&M draw up a plan which describes how health and safety will be managed during the construction phase. Preconstruction information you have received and any client requirements you have established will help in drawing up the construction phase plan.

  • Proportionate to the size and nature of the work, and the risks involved
  • Workable and realistic
  • Sufficiently developed to allow work to start on site
  • Regularly reviewed and added to as new trades start

Before work on site can start the client has to ensure that the construction phase plan has been drawn up. The plan must be developed as soon as practical before setting up the construction site and starting the work, so that it can
take into account early issues such as site set up, welfare, and other initial work such as demolition or stripping out the building. The nature of construction work means that some contractors may not havebeen appointed before the work on site starts, so the construction phase plan must be updated with risk control information when it is known, and before the contractors start work.


We are responsible for ensuring welfare facilities are provided and are suitable and sufficient for the size and nature of the site. They must be available as soon as the work starts and remain until the construction work is completed.
Principal Contractor must ensure a suitable site induction is provided to every site worker. The induction should be site specific and be relevant to the size and scope of the work, and level of risk involved.

The following induction topics should be considered:

  • Senior management’s commitment to health and safety
  • An outline of the project
  • Management of the site, for example who the site manager is
  • Site-specific health and safety risks, for example any requirement to work near overhead cables
  • Control measures on site, for example site rules, vehicle and pedestrian segregation, PPE, temporary electrics, and site restrictions such as delivery arrangements
  • Dealing with emergencies including first aid arrangements
  • Accident and incident reporting arrangements
  • Training details, for example provision of toolbox talks and task briefings
  • Arrangements for consulting the workforce on health and safety
  • Individual workers’ responsibility for health and safety


We must ensure that reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access to the site. Close co-operation between the client or others when working in occupied or shared premises will help achieve this objective. The site boundaries should be clearly marked out using suitable means depending upon the risk, such as signage or fencing. You must consider the surrounding area and the site’s proximity to others, such as local residents, schools, shops, public roads and footpaths.
We must leave the site in a safe condition at the end of the day and ensure that any existing occupiers are not put at risk while your work is in progress. Any occupiers will need to know of, and co-operate, with your plans.

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