Chapter 16 Scenario 3

Principal contractor scenario 3 – Multiple contractors


Contractors A, B and C are working on different areas of the same site with a single access point. Can there be more than one principal contractor for the site?


Harmonised jurisdictions

Whether or not there can be more than one principal contractor for the site will depend upon whether or not the works carried out by each contractor are separate construction projects carried out concurrently or if the works are the subject of the same construction project. If they are separate construction projects carried out concurrently, then the PCBU may engage multiple principal contractors for the site. The PCBU is responsible for co-ordinating the interaction between the principal contractors. However, in the above scenario, as there is a single access point, one contractor would need to be the principal contractor for that access point.

It is possible to have more than one principal contractor appointed in succession provided there is no gap between the termination of one appointment and commencement of the next appointment.


In circumstances where a contractor is unable to exercise authority over other contractors, it may be more appropriate for the owner of the site to retain the responsibilities of a principal contractor. Alternatively, the contracts between the site owner and the individual contractors could require the individual contractors to observe the directions of a contractor appointed to the position of principal contractor. Where a particular contractor can demonstrate control over a discrete section of the site, that contractor may be appointed principal contractor for that section.

Western Australia

Under the WA regime, if more than one person has responsibility for ensuring safety and health at the construction site then each person must perform their obligations under the WA Regulations to the extent that they control the construction project or the construction work. All are required to co-ordinate and co-operate with all parties who have a responsibility under the WA Regulations.

Updated November 2020