During construction, the property owner uses a general contractor to oversee the whole process. In other words, general contractors ensure that a construction project is handled safely, efficiently, and within a specific period. They also ensure all standards are met.
General contractors handle various tasks ranging from simple residential jobs to more complex commercial construction. However, small residential projects like changing windows and replacing roofs may not need one. Instead, general contractors are more suited to projects requiring various teams to work jointly.
In this article, we’ll go through what general contractors do and how to find a good general contractor.
What are the Roles of a General Contractor?
A general contractor (GC) is in charge of a construction project and oversees its implementation from start to finish. They are the bridge between the project owner and the individuals carrying out the activities to finish the project. Such individuals include material suppliers, masons, and tradespeople.
The specific tasks that a general contractor does depend on the particular project. They can design and bring it to life, or they could work on already existing designs. The former is called the design-build method, and the latter design-bid-build method.
Here is a more elaborate breakdown of a GC’s responsibilities in the construction process.
A GC begins their work before construction. Here are some of the tasks they may carry out before construction.
- Figure out the project needs and create a budget
- Hire contractors to help handle technical tasks
- Work with the architecture to fulfill the design demands
- Survey project site for preparation
Here are the tasks a GC may handle during the project realization.
- Ensuring every stage is handled following the specifications.
- Ensuring the project is on schedule
- Solving unforeseen problems like delays
- Keeping the cost within the budget
- Ensuring the workforce teams are relating effectively and harmoniously
After the construction, the GC may handle the following:
- Collecting and tracking lien waivers
- Paying all the subcontractors for work finished
- Ensuring the subcontractors paid their sub-subcontractors and anyone else down the line
- Delivering the finished project to the owner
A general contractor finds and hires experts to handle specific tasks to finish construction. They also double as managers who oversee the contractors delivering the required labor. There are also situations where the general contractor handles some of the tasks and outsources specialized work only.
The Difference Between a General Contractor and other Types of Contractors
General contractors are part of a huge network of contractors and managers working on construction projects, especially massive ones. Below are some of the contractors and managers that work on construction.
- Subcontractors: They are specialists hired by general contractors to handle specific tasks during construction. They are paid by the GC, who the owner pays.
- Prime Contractor: This is whoever holds the contract to the project. In most situations, this would be the GC, but some projects require someone else to hold the main contract.
- Construction Managers: Construction managers usually handle the same tasks as a GC and are often tasked with estimating costs, creating a budget, hiring a GC, and other duties in the project.
A construction site involves many players working together. However, the ones discussed above are the main players.
What are the Licensing Requirements for General Contractors?
Different local and state governments require all types of contractors to hold various licenses before operating within their borders.
The license is important to various construction project interest groups. Here are how the interest groups utilize licenses.
- States and municipalities use contractor licenses to regulate contractors and ensure they comply with various insurance, tax, and safety regulations.
- Property Owners use licenses to ascertain the credibility and expertise of contractors. A license means that the contractor has certified relevant authorities.
- Contractors benefit from licenses as they give them credibility and help protect their lien rights in various states.
Contractors must operate with up-to-date licenses or risk fines and penalties.
How to Find and Hire a Good General Contractor
A good general contractor is essential to any project. As an overseer, they are responsible for the quality and timely delivery of a project. Conversely, a bad general contractor will deliver a poorly finished product with delays.
Here are a few things to do to find a good general contractor.
Appraise the General Contractor
Assessing the expertise of a general contractor helps know their quality. Look at their previous projects and contact former employers and subcontractors to find out what type of contractor they are. It helps to know the right people are handling the project.
Look out for Signs of Bad Contractors
A few things show if a contractor is bad at their job. For example, a shady history, poor reputation, lack of licenses, and poor communication channels can signal a contractor who lacks dedication and professionalism.
Look at Reviews and Payment Reviews
A good general contractor has their former clients rating and praising their work high. Look at construction review boards and sites to see how well they do. Also, look at the available payment profiles to know how they relate to their subcontractors. It is important to ensure subcontractors are treated and paid well.
Schedule a Meet Up
While communicating through phone calls is a good avenue, it is only ideal at the earlier stages of contact. After that, it is crucial to meet in person and get the more critical details before making the final commitment. The communication needs to be clear, and all questions are answered satisfactorily.
The Bottom Line
A general contractor is critical to the success of a construction project. They ensure all tasks to complete construction are handled, hire subcontractors, manage the budget, keep a project on schedule and perform other tasks. So, it’s critical to have the most qualified for the job.
At Konrad Construction, we have the expertise and knowledge to manage and deliver quality construction projects. We have successfully completed various projects and are known for our top-notch services.
If you want to know more about our general contractor services, get in touch with us.