Should I Have a General Contractor?

Like a lot of other business areas, construction has to have a person who has the full management responsibility for the construction project. That person is the general contractor. Every small or large area of that job has to be approved and inspected by the general contractor. He is the overall manager of the entire project.

From the pre-planning or beginning of the project, the general contractor has the responsibility to see that everything happens and that it happens in a timely, cost-effective manner. It is his job to estimate the work involved, evaluate how to proceed and submit the bid. He has to find the right materials at the right price and the right crew at reasonable salary.

His may also hire subcontractors for certainly parts of the project. For instance, he may hire an Electrician for the electrical wiring portion of the project but the general Contractor still has the final responsibility for even this portion of the construction project.

If equipment is leased or bought, the general contractor will maintain all invoices, accounting and personnel records. He will know what crew members are working on what part of the project. And he has the responsibility of getting in substitutes if someone is ill and can’t work. He must match the cost of this temporary person against the timing of the project.

He accepts total responsibility and also has total authority on the project. He is an expert at many things. He may have his own specialty and may prefer to supervise or may work alongside his crew. He has a working knowledge of each aspect of the project and is familiar with what needs to be done by his crew and subcontractors.

He understands the complexity of each task and knows the time estimates for each task. He is well-rounded in his knowledge of structure, foundations, flooring, electrical and plumbing. And he may also know landscaping and constructing sidewalks and driveways. In all of these areas, the general contractor has an up to date knowledge of the metropolitan code regulations.

The general contractor prepares a lengthy, detailed contract for the project. He will also have employment or subcontractor agreements with the crews and all subcontractors. All of these contracts will detail the work is to be done, the time frame deadline, and the price for each completed portion. The general contractor will review the schedule of all of these contracts on at least a weekly basis to insure that each step in the project meets the deadline.

Anyone planning a remodeling or home repair project should certainly look first at hiring an experienced general contractor. Even though you may be knowledgeable of the details of the project and what they should cost, managing the people can be a little difficult. You never want to have too many workers on site so they get in each other’s way. You could end up with workers standing around doing nothing while they wait for other workers to finish their portion of the project. In that case, the home owner will be paying both workers.

A general contractor can schedule the workers, coordinate when one portion should be complete and schedule in the next crew accordingly. The general contractor’s overall purpose is to make sure that everything does happen but happens on a timely course within budget.