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Duties of Principal Contractor

CDM (Jersey) Knowledge Base

CDM (Jersey) 2016 Regulations
Please note this topic relates to the CDM (Jersey) 2016 Regulations. If you are looking for the CDM 2015 (Great Britain) Regulations, please see the CDM (GB) Knowledge Base

The principal contractor is another duty holder under the Health and Safety (Management in Construction)(Jersey) Regulations. When appointed, under regulation 7(2), they must perform the specific duties detailed in regulation 12.

All Construction Projects

In the case of all construction projects for which a principal contractor is appointed the principal contractor must-

(a) plan, manage and monitor the construction phase, in liaison with the other appointed contractors;

The principal contractor is in charge of the site. There should be working arrangements set out for any other construction works / organisations working on site. These should be detailed in the construction phase plan. All other parties should refer to the principal contractor regarding the particular project and any changes to the working arrangements should be disseminated to all parties involved on the project.

(b) take all reasonable steps to ensure the competence of all contractors appointed to the project;

Competence management is key when appointing any person on a project. Checking that anyone employed to carry out work on a project has the right set of skills to carry out the work is paramount. This can be done is various ways, for example, making sure contractors are members of SSIP schemes. You could however do your own checks and have a pre-qualification questionnaire, that is relevant to the type of works, that your contractors must complete. Remember to store any evidence regarding your competence checks, they will be required for audit purposes.

(c) prepare a construction phase plan in accordance with Regulation 18 as soon as practicable prior to setting up a construction site;

The construction phase plan is another key document under the regulations. This document is the best way of recording the health and safety arrangements, site rules and special measures, if applicable, for the construction work.

(d) ensure that the construction phase plan is appropriately updated, reviewed and revised so that it continues to be sufficient to ensure that construction work is carried out so far as is reasonably practicable without risk to health and safety;

It is important that the construction phase plan is regularly reviewed during the project, the aim is to keep it up to date, relevant and fit for purpose throughout the project. It should also reflect the requirements needed to carry out the work safely and be in line with the any associated hazards identified in the pre-construction information.

(e) give all other contractors copies of the relevant parts of the construction phase plan;

As always the sharing of information is paramount. To be effective the construction phase plan should be distributed to all interested parties (once the health and safety project coordinator has reviewed it). Any issues regarding its content should be discussed with both the principal contractor and the health and safety project coordinator so that its content is a true reflection of the works and any specific hazards.

(f) in the case of high risk construction work, ensure that safe work method statements have been prepared in accordance with Regulation 19;

Most contractors know how to produce method statements. However generic ones are ill advised. Every construction project is different and therefore before you distribute any you should first make sure that they are fit for purpose. For further information on producing / updating these types of documents please refer to method statements.

(g) ensure that arrangements for assessing and controlling the risk of health hazards and the provision of amenities for welfare that comply with the requirements of Regulation 34 are provided throughout the construction phase;

The best way to comply with this is to have details for the management arrangements in your construction phase plan. Identify all the relevant risks for occupational health and welfare for the specific construction works and how they are checked (on a regular basis).

(h) ensure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent access by unauthorized persons to the construction site; and

This may seem like a no-brainer, however every site is unique and therefore has its own set of issues that you should cover. In your construction phase plan identify the management arrangements you will have in place to cater for the prevention of unauthorised access to the site.

(i) provide a health and safety file to the client on completion of the work.

The production of the health and safety file should be a joint task between the principal contractor and the health and safety project coordinator. There are specifics that you should consider when producing the health and safety file and both parties should ensure it is fully up to date before the handover to the client.

Major Construction Projects

In the case of a major construction project the principal contractor must in addition to the duties set out above:-

(a) ensure that all persons engaged on the project have a suitable site induction and any further information or training that is needed for them to do their work safely and to comply with Regulation 20 is provided;

The site induction is not a new requirement, however it needs to be more formal and recorded. Within the construction phase plan the principal contractor can state the management arrangements they have in place for site inductions. Additionally the construction phase plan should identify the arrangements that are in place for contractor training to ensure the safety of their staff while working on site.

(b) consult with those persons in accordance with Regulation 17; and

The construction phase plan is the best place to state the management arrangements for consultation with the workforce. There should be detail on how persons can express their views and concerns while working on the site. The principal contractor must have a process in place to facilitate the workers and to provide a timely response / discussion of their concerns.

(c) liaise with the health and safety project co-ordinator regarding ongoing design matters.

Liaison with the health and safety project coordinator is key for the project to ensure the work is carried out safely. Regular design review meetings should be planned, held and recorded for reference and audit purposes. Decisions need to be agreed before the principal contractor carries on with the work.