What Does a General Contractor Does?
A general contractor, principal contractor or developmental contractor is ultimately responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, coordination of trades and vendors, and the exchange of details with all concerned parties during the course of a project. In short, they are the “ace in the hole” when it comes to getting a job well done. But, as important as this may be, many people are often unaware of the responsibilities that come along with being a general contractor. To better understand what a general contractor does on a regular basis, it is helpful to take a look at some of their most common projects.
The primary duty of the general contractor is to oversee the design and implementation of any architectural plans or designs for a commercial or residential building. In addition to overseeing the design, the general contractor is also often asked to oversee the construction itself, from beginning to end. This includes everything from the initial proposal and concept to the actual build of the structure. As the architect, designer and construction manager, the general contractor is responsible for ensuring that everything is on track and that the plans are executed in a timely manner.
Another key duty of the general contractor includes the supervision of subcontractors and sub-contractors. Subcontractors are the individuals that are brought onto the construction project by the architect, designer and/or construction managers to execute specific tasks. In most cases, these are individuals that are brought on board with a specific budget and timeframe. Typically, the prime contractor is the one that assigns these individuals to specific task, but depending on the scope and magnitude of the project, changes may be made to the original construction plan.
On a more basic level, a general contractor is also responsible for hiring workers for a project. In most construction projects, this includes hiring a team of laborers, carpenters, painters, plumbers and any other types of skilled workers. For larger projects, like buildings and homes, it is common for both the prime contractor and the general contractor to hire outside employees. This is especially true when the project is fairly large and the property owner needs to be assured that quality is met.
The primary responsibility of the architect is to design the structure. However, they are often faced with other responsibilities as well. In many cases, they will be involved in the bidding process for construction bids. They may also be required to liaise with the contractors and subcontractors to ensure that everything is completed on time and within budget. The architect may also be required to meet with the property owner and their legal team to discuss any specifications or setbacks that are related to the construction project.
Once the actual design team is complete and the project is underway, the next step is to hire workers and materials. While an architect can oversee the project from beginning to end, most general contractors are responsible for ensuring that all the necessary supplies and materials are available. They may have to arrange to get certain items onsite if the property owner does not have them in stock. It is the job of the general contractor to set up a payment schedule for these materials and make sure they are paid in full before the project is completed. They will also handle the subcontractors, ensuring they get paid in a timely manner and on time.