A construction project may call for a general contractor to oversee and be responsible for it.
This way, a property owner will have the peace of mind of knowing that their construction project will be completed in a timely manner, following an established budget, and according to specifications.
Under normal circumstances, general contractors are an essential component of any project that calls for coordinating various stages or several specialty contractors to carry out the job.
Read on to learn more about the tasks performed by general contractors in the building industry.
What Are a General Contractor’s Main Responsibilities?
A general contractor, also known as a GC, has the main task of overseeing a construction project from start to finish.
They serve as a liaison between the property owner or manager and those who will bring the project to fruition, including those in charge of supplying materials, vendors, tradespeople, and all sorts of subcontractors who will play a role in making the end product a success.
Specific responsibilities depend on the way the project is set up. In some cases, such as when there is a design-build, the GC will be managing both the design and the construction aspects of the project.
In other cases, the design team may be in charge of coming up with the blueprint for the project, giving the GC the needed contract documents such as the specifications, drawings, and whatever other exhibits might be required.
Then, the GC steps in and starts by providing the property owner a bid on the project and, once accepted, will see the project through to completion.
In short, what this means is that the responsibilities of a GC start even before the project begins and do not end until the entire project is completed to their client’s satisfaction.
Before Construction Starts
The tasks a GC carries out before the project is set to begin; will make all the difference between a build that is completed on time and within the specified budget and one that runs into an unending list of issues.
An experienced general contractor will start the project by doing the following tasks, among others:
Creating a Budget
It is imperative for the owner to know how much the project is going to cost.
This is not a simple exercise; it requires deep knowledge and understanding of several pieces that will form the project as a whole.
Read Also :
A good budget will include all parts and labor, giving the owner a clear idea of where the money is going to go.
At this stage, the GC will also talk about a reasonable timeline for completion.
The GC will not carry out every single task personally.
They count on the specialized skills of subcontractors. An experienced GC will have built a reliable network of subcontractors that they are confident will do a good job.
This includes plumbers, electricians, tile installers, air conditioning specialists, and many others.
The GC’s schedule will allow each subcontractor to know when they are expected to come in to perform their jobs.
Collaborating with the Architect
It is important for the GC to understand the vision of the architect before the project commences.
All involved parties must be clear on how the final project will look and all that building it will entail.
Even though these tasks are completed before the project starts, it does not mean that the GC will not continue collaborating with the architect and subcontractors throughout the remainder of the construction.
While the construction project is ongoing, the GC will be responsible for the following:
- Overseeing all construction work and making sure every task is carried out according to the project’s specifications.
- Making sure the project is moving forward on schedule.
- Coordinating when each subcontractor needs to come in and what jobs they need to accomplish.
- Inspecting the quality of the construction at every stage and scheduling inspections by the city to make sure all building codes are met.
- Paying the subcontractors and vendors.
- Collecting and tracking lien waivers.
In general, the main objective of the GC during this phase is to ensure that everyone who is involved in the project is working well together.
GCs must also be knowledgeable enough to react quickly whenever challenges crop up since these could have a negative impact both on the schedule and on the budget.
Once construction is finished, the GC still has plenty of work to do.
It will be up to them to collect and track any lien waivers, make sure that everyone who participated in the construction project gets paid for their work or for the materials they delivered, and verify that the work has been completed according to all specifications.
Finally, they will do a walk-through with the owner to ensure they are satisfied with the end result.
If the project is of a smaller scale, the GC may do some of the work themselves and reserve hiring subcontractors only for specialized work.
The GC is vital to the success of a project and allows the owner to be reassured that all pieces of a complex project will end up working well together to achieve a common goal.
Licensing Requirements for a General Contractor
State laws call for all general contractors to be licensed. Some of the reasons why it is important for GCs to be licensed are:
- Property owners know that when they hire a licensed general contractor, they will be working with someone who is qualified to do the job.
- The GCs themselves will have the advantage that, by having obtained their license, they will be able to protect their lien rights in many states.
- States and municipalities are able to confirm that licensed GCs know how to follow guidelines for safety, taxes, and insurance.
- Subcontractors and vendors are reassured that they will get paid.
What Is the Difference Between the Various Contractors in a Project?
Although GCs are essential when it comes to managing the entire building project, there are other contractors who also play important roles in construction, particularly in large-scale job sites. These may be:
With similar responsibilities to a GC, a construction manager or CM is usually employed by the owner to help estimate costs, hire the GC, and perform a variety of other duties in relation to the management of the project.
These contractors are needed to perform certain tasks on the site. They are usually hired and paid by the GC.
When there is poor communication between the owner and the GC, payment to subcontractors may be interrupted or delayed.
Another problem that a CG may face when it comes to managing the payments is the fact that although the GC may know the subcontractors, there may also be sub-subcontractors with whom he is not familiar.
They may also face risks of non-payment if they are unable to secure lien waivers.
Finally, the GC is obligated to fulfill certain requirements before getting paid as well, and they are responsible for managing the flow of funds down the payment chain so that everyone who has participated in the project will receive the monies they are owed.