The Power of Appointing a Principal Contractor

Posted in | | By Georgie Hillier

The Power of Appointing a Principal Contractor

Successfully delivering a large and complex retail project can be a daunting prospect for a retailer, especially when that project involves many different elements and requires the management of multiple contractors in order to complete the project. 

It's becoming more and more popular to appoint an external Principal Contractor and we see an increase in retailers choosing to do so. As retailers find their internal resources cut back and become stretched, appointing a principal contractor delivers several benefits including saving time and money on resources, increasing the chance of a successful project and drastically reducing any health and safety risks. 


What is a Principal Contractor?

A Principal Contractor is a third-party supplier who is formally appointed by the retailer to have overall control over the construction phase of a project and to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate all other contractors. They are then accountable for the entire project, which includes responsibility for risk management. They will have the expertise to make sure they can oversee the complete programme in the retail construction process.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) state that when a project involves two or more contractors, a Principal Contractor must be appointed. If a Principal Contractor is not formally appointed, then the regulations state that the client takes on the responsibility by default.

There are many reasons why appointing an external Principal Contractor for major projects using the services of a company that specialises in project management, rather than the retailer needing to take on the responsibility themselves, has key benefits and below are a few:


Save Time and Money on Resources 

We know that your time matters when running a business and major projects can eat into that time significantly. When you appoint a Principal Contractor, it frees up a lot of your time and resources, allowing you to focus attention on other areas and add value to the business in other ways. Contractors provide agreed services for a client for a set fee and usually within a specific timeframe. Therefore, with a Principal Contractor, you know what you are getting for your money.


Streamline Processes 

Principal Contractor Services

Working with a Principal Contractor will create a main point of contact for you, which will improve project coordination, as you won’t be having to deal with and manage each individual contractor. This will result in less administration for you, including contract agreements and other financial matters, as this would all be agreed in advance through a contract with the Principal Contractor. 

The project would be managed by one of our experienced Project Managers, giving you a single and consistent point of contact, ensuring complete accountability and transparent communication throughout every aspect of the project.


Manage Health and Safety Risks

Health and Safety on site

Successfully managing health and safety is a critical part of managing a project.  Fully complying with the CDM regulations can bring substantial commercial benefits to a retailer.  A Principal Contractor will help you reap the benefits by providing key advice on compliance and health and safety risk management.  And not just advice – arguably the most valuable benefit of hiring a Principal Contractor is to offset all of the health and safety risks and liabilities onto a professional, experienced company. 

In addition to securing workers’ health and safety, a Principal Contractor is also responsible for several other aspects of a construction project that you may not be aware of.  They are also tasked with making sure that suitable site inductions are provided to ensure the safety of workers, and they take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site.  

Finally, they ensure that everyone they appoint has the skills, knowledge, experience and capability to carry out their work safely. You can rest easy knowing that your project is being completed by professionals, and that all risks are effectively managed by a specialist company.   


Choosing a Principal Contractor 

If your project requires the services of at least two contractors, then a Principal Contractor must be appointed. It is vital to the success of your project that you choose a company who understands retail spaces and can deliver the project on time and to the set budget.

RMS is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading retail support companies.  We provide Principal Contractor services to help retailers reduce risk and deliver successful projects.

For more information on our principal contractor service and how RMS can help with your next project, contact our team: [email protected]