The Role of a General Contractor
A general contractor, also known as a prime or main contractor, oversees and manages construction projects. They coordinate vendors and trades on the project and communicate information between all parties. While construction workers may be responsible for specific tasks, a general contractor’s overall role is to ensure the completion of a project.
General contractors also manage the overall construction project, coordinating subcontractors and overseeing the day-to-day operations. They are responsible for keeping the project on schedule and adhering to safety standards. They work closely with the property owner to plan the overall design of the building or project, and they have a high level of construction knowledge.
General contractors typically outline a payment schedule that is based on the progress of the work. Some will require a down payment before starting work. The remainder is due on delivery of the finished project. If the project is large, multiple payments may be required. Payments for large projects may be spread out over several months, with the final payment due once the work is complete.
When hiring a general contractor, consider your project’s size and complexity. If it involves multiple trades, you’ll need someone who understands the nuances of construction and the regulations surrounding it. A general contractor will keep the project on track and ensure that all permits are obtained properly. He will also be able to manage multiple subcontractors, which can be difficult to coordinate without a general contractor.
General contractors are often called upon for a variety of tasks. They may oversee a large project, supervise a subcontractor, or manage the budget and quality of the finished product. As such, these professionals can be held liable for any problems that occur. Although a general contractor may work in an office, they also report regularly to the construction site.
General contractors may be licensed with just a high school diploma, but many have a degree in building science, construction management, or civil engineering. In addition to knowing the different materials and construction methods, they must know how to properly prepare a site, interpret architectural plans, and know when permits are required. Some general contractors advance to supervisory positions after working as a subcontractor for several years. The experience they gain in their field will help them to assess costs, recognize qualified subcontractors, and test the finished work.
A general contractor can be self-employed, run their own business, or manage a team of subcontractors. They typically buy tools, manage employees, and manage projects effectively. However, they are not usually able to perform construction work themselves. This may put them at a disadvantage over specialty contractors, which can be cheaper.
When hiring a general contractor, keep in mind that the cost will depend on the size of the project, location, and other legal documents. On average, they will charge between ten and twenty percent of the overall cost of the project. Some may charge a flat fee, which makes it easier for you to budget.