What is a General Contractor?
A general contractor is one who works for a client or a manager. He could be a tradesman working for an architectural technologist or an engineer recommended by an architect or reliable person. The role description of the general contractor is undertaking responsibility for supervising and coordinating an entire project. He begins by assessing the various documents referred to as tender documents, bids or proposals that provide the specifics for the project. Based on the method dictated in the documents he will have to make a bid, proposal and provide an estimate for costs involved. He has to furnish all the information to the owner regarding overhead costs for the project which include running the office, purchasing materials as well as equipment, cost of labor and other general conditions. He will have to visit the site to learn more about the project before any renovations are carried out.
The Job Role Description
The other responsibilities of the general contractor include providing the necessary services that are required for construction works. He has to provide not only labor and material but also bring in the necessary engineering tools and vehicles that is required for the project. His job is to provide subcontractors that are specialized to carry out the different works involved during construction.
The general contractor is responsible for applying for permits for the new building, securing property, ensuring that the personnel are working diligently on the site and getting the required utilities on a temporary basis. He has to provide engineers and surveyors to the site, monitor cash flows, schedules and dispose or recycle waste that is used for construction. He must ensure to maintain records accurately.
All general drawings, supplementary or project manuals that clearly specified and/or provide special conditions are included as contract documents. These documents are prepared by an architect or a professional designer and all modifications and additions are issued and proposed before the bidding. He may be hired as the construction manager at risk or just termed as a construction manager.
Selecting the right general contractor
Not all general contractors are able to handle the job as there are many challenges to be faced. Not everyone can carry out these works satisfactorily. It is necessary to take time to select the best candidate for the job by going about the selection systematically. It is important and necessary to seek references that can be verified and call customers who have referred the general contractor. Make sure to check out the projects that have been completed by the contractor. By doing this, you will be able to gauge if the contractor delivered the projected on time and was successful in keeping within the budget. Find out if there was a project manager supervising on site. Did the general contractor adhere to the existing zoning laws of the local County? Did he acquire the necessary permits for plumbing, electricity, zoning and others?
Visit the sites that have been referred and cross-check if the project was completed successfully and on time. You can also verify if the general contractor took into account the town building code of the country and kept to the budget. Enquire if the contractor was responsible for acquiring the building permits lies. When you interview several contractors and get quotes, check if their approach is professional, if they hire project managers for site to remain on site and if they are aware of the new technologies that are introduced. They should be able to guide you on use of products that provide green energy and be experienced in building twenty first century modern homes.
Try to judge the capability of the general contractor. Last but not least, find out if his charges for supervising the entire project are competitive. It should include the price of quality materials that are not too expensive as you can shoot over the budget. You should be able to pick up products such as sinks, faucets, tiles etc. or at least specify the model and manufacturer of the products you would like to use for your home.
The Responsibilities of the General Contractor
A general contractor has to manage the entire construction project responsibly. His job involves maintaining communication between the client, vendors and all sub-contractors such as roofers and plumbers. He also has to ensure that the people who work at the site are insured and are covered legally. The right selection of a site manager who can communicate well with tradesmen and customers helps to ensure that the job is carried out satisfactorily within the time period and budget.
The client will decide on the best general contractor to undertake the job of renovating a home or building a new office/corporation complex. Get recommendations from advisors or reliable architects that carry out regular construction projects. The general contractor should be able to make the right bid and come up with a plan to ensure that the scheduled work timings and finances are successfully provided in his estimate.
The site manager is responsible for being able to handle all duties from delegating duties to communicating with others, management of time and hiring the right personnel. The general contractor may get the tasks performed by others but he has to undertake total responsibility for their works. He should be able to relegate works to the right people qualified to take on specific jobs. He may give them the responsibility of applying for the necessary building permits, ensure compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency and also plan the inspection dates. The general contractor should check the costs of the materials and negotiate the right prices for the equipment used for the project. He is not expected to work hands on but he should have proper knowledge of the use of the various tools and materials used for completing the job as per the specifications and methods to be used.
General contractors do not have to pass any specific examinations or educational requirements. Business owners should get the right license as required by the state. Every state and municipality expects the workers to be covered with minimum insurance and bonds to ensure that the client is protected. If the number of employees is less than 50, the boss of the construction company may also work with the other employees while dispensing his administrative duties. Larger companies prefer to hire a contractor who will supervise and manage the supporting team.
If the general contractor is experienced and possess exceptional skills, he will be able to complete the project satisfactorily with full responsibility for all works carried out on the construction site.