What Does a General Contractor Do?
The general contractor, also known as the GC or the main contractor, is responsible for managing the entire construction process and turning the visions of architects and engineers into reality. They handle a variety of tasks, including hiring subcontractors, sourcing materials and managing the safety standards on the site.
Often referred to as the “Jack of all trades,” these professionals can be found overseeing construction projects for large construction companies or individual clients. They may also be self-employed, with the ability to manage their own projects.
They can be hired for residential or commercial projects and are primarily responsible for the project’s construction delivery phase, where they oversee all of the major tasks involved in the building process.
These tasks include estimating the cost of a project, managing subcontractors and vendors, bidding the work out and determining the budget for the project. They can also act as the primary communicator between the client and key people on the project.
While a general contractor’s duties can vary from project to project, they usually work on larger home-building and renovation projects. This includes new builds, additions and remodels to existing structures such as homes, schools and office buildings.
The GC will take on the responsibility of contracting with subcontractors, such as excavation contractors, plumbers, electricians, dry-wallers, tilers, roofers and foundation crews, who are charged with completing their tasks for a set price, in accordance with the plans. The GC will make sure they are on-site and working in accordance with the project’s schedule and that the quality of their work meets or exceeds expectations.
Generally, a general contractor receives between 10 and 30 percent of the total cost of a project. This fee is paid at different points during the construction process and is based on a payment plan that you jointly agree on (and put in writing) with the GC.
They can help you save money and time by negotiating with the subcontractors on your behalf. Whether you’re trying to renegotiate the prices of a certain item or a complete package, they can help ensure that you get the best possible deal.
For example, if your GC can negotiate better prices for your foundation package than you can, they may be able to save you thousands of dollars in the long run. This is a benefit that can be invaluable for those in the homebuilding industry, where time and money are limited.
When you hire a general contractor, be sure to communicate the scope of change orders that might be required during the course of your project. This will allow the GC to plan ahead and prepare for the costs that might arise as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
General contractors can also help you avoid problems with your locality’s code regulations and permitting process. They have intimate knowledge of their area’s building requirements and can help you navigate this aspect of your project.
When you choose a general contractor, it’s important to find someone who is passionate about their work. Passionate contractors are the ones who will strive to meet your goals and will make adjustments as needed to ensure that they can finish your project on time.