What do General Contractors do?

Have you ever passed by a construction site on several consecutive days and wondered how so much progress was made in so few days?

There was probably a General Contractor at work “behind the scenes”.

So what does a General Contractor (“GC” for short) do?

Here’s the short answer:

A General Contractor coordinates two or more trades on a construction project, managing the whole process for you from start to finish.

More specifically, the duties and responsibilities of a GC include four (4) key areas:

  1. Overall liability for the project
  2. Coordination and scheduling of the “trades” (the work performed by skilled craftsmen) or “subcontractors”
  3. Acquisition and allocation of resources needed to complete the job
  4. Troubleshooting, or problem-solving, issues that arise during a construction project

Traditional vs. Design-Build

There are typically two methods by which a General Contractor can deliver a project.

  1. Traditional: This approach is used when a client prefers to separate the responsibilities for design and construction. Typically, an architect, building engineer, or other design professional is hired to provide design services for a project, and a General Contractor is hired separately to make sure the job is built according to the design vision.
  2. Design-Build: This type of General Contractor is responsible for both the design AND construction of a project. Design-build contractors interpret the customer’s vision by creating construction plans and specifications such that the construction team can complete the project.

Once the project is started, everything is scrutinized by your General Contractor.

As a homeowner, your main point of contact is your General Contractor. Subcontractors also deal directly with your General Contractor. Additionally, General Contractors may have a foreman, Project Manager, or lead carpenter working for them depending on the size and scope of your project.

Deadlines & Plumb Lines

In those instances when decisions must be made by you, the homeowner, your General Contractor will provide a deadline date for your answers to ensure adequate lead times are established.

For example, you may wish to special order a bathtub. If the tub needs to be installed before drywall can be hung, and it takes four weeks to arrive onsite, your General Contractor must order that bathtub ahead of time. This allows time for the bathtub to be delivered and installed prior to the arrival of your drywaller, helping to avoid unnecessary delays and keeping your project running on schedule.

An experienced General Contractor will take care of whatever is required for your particular project, from start to finish, and everything in-between.

As you can see, General Contractors provide many valuable services and are accountable for a variety of tasks.

Choose your next General Contractor carefully!