Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Does a General Contractor Do?

A general contractor is hired by the owner of the property (typically, you) to complete a project from start to finish. When you enter a contract with a general contractor, they are taking responsibility for the entire project, which means they will take on responsibility for all elements of the project. This includes the financial responsibility of getting the project done within the budget agreed upon. Naturally, there are always contingencies, but for the most part, your general contractor will give you an estimate and stick to it closely. At the same time, the general contractor is also responsible for getting the project done in a timely manner without causing you a great deal of undue stress. The general contractor purchases all the supplies, hires the tradespeople and engages the subcontractors.

What Are a General Contractor’s Key Responsibilities?

The general contractor is fundamentally responsible for the entire project, which makes it critically important that you make a great decision when hiring the general contractor. Some of the areas the general contractor will focus on include:

Hiring and Managing the Subcontractors: When there is a large job or even a smaller one, there is going to be a number of smaller jobs. When you put in or renovate a kitchen, for example, there will be plumbing work, electrical work, counters and masonry work, cabinetry, etc. It is very important that you have the right subcontractors and make sure that if you get these individuals, they are the responsibility of your general contractor. Additionally, the general contractor sets a schedule for paying the subcontractors and makes sure you approve. Typically, this is time-based and also based on progress as the work is completed. As such, the general contractor will negotiate the contracts for the subcontractors, hire them, and set forth the terms.

Getting Permits and Inspections: Any time you have a project that involves changing or building anything, you will need permits for all the work. The general contractor is responsible for getting the permits in a timely manner so the work can proceed. To do this, they will need to be intimately involved with the planning process and know exactly how to get the permits you need. In addition to this, the project will need periodic inspections based on how far along each aspect of the job is. Often, you cannot proceed to the next phase of a job until the inspections have been completed. The general contractor is responsible for scheduling the inspectors to visit, making sure your site is ready, and making changes if for some reason you do not pass.

Supplies and Materials: The general contractor will be responsible for ordering the supplies you need to complete the jobs. To that end, they will order supplies based on what the job needs and ensure that your subcontractors do not run out of the materials you need. All this should be included in the quote you get from the general contractor before you make a hiring decision.