Will our project involve more than one contractor?

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In most cases and particularly small projects, one contractor will carry out all the path construction work.  If, however, the contractor chooses to hire other contractors to do parts of the work - then there will be more than one contractor involved at construction phase.


For example:

  • A large excavator is needed to do earthworks and groundworks - the main contractor hires a plant contractor (excavator and operator) to do that work - the plant contractor becomes a sub-contractor directly under the control of main contractor

  • A tarmac path to build and large bridge to install - the main contractor carries out the site clearance and groundworks, builds the base layer for the path, and does the landscaping work once paths finished - a surfacing contractor will lay the tarmac surface and specialist bridge and crane hire contractors will install the bridge, all under the control of main contractor.

If your project is going to involve (or you foreseeable expect) more than one contractor to carry out the work on site at any one point, you need to appoint (in writing) a principal contractor under the CDM Regulations 2015.  You must appoint this duty holder to your project team as soon as practical, before the construction phase begins.  If you do not appoint them, you must fulfil their CDM role and responsibilities (duties) on your own project.

The principal contractor needs to be a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced contractor, who will plan, manage, monitor, and coordinate the path construction work and any other work - they may not actually do any of the work themselves as other contractors appointed by them and under their control, will do it.  The principal contractor is generally appointed at tender stage of pre-construction stages and the other contractors before construction phase begins - but if you need the principal contractor to do any design work, under control of principal designer, you appoint them at planning stage to start the design work at design stage.

If your project is only going to involve one contractor working on site, you will need to appoint (in writing) a contractor only - no principal contractor required for project.

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