A general contractor, principal contractor or project manager is in charge of the day-to-day supervision of a commercial construction site, maintenance of trades and vendors, and coordination of communication between all involved parties during the construction project. Most general contractors have obtained their education by obtaining a high school diploma or through an apprenticeship, while others started out as vocational engineers or drafters. Some general contractors also hold other degrees such as mechanical engineering, plumbing, electrical engineering or construction management. These degrees enable general contractors to perform a wide variety of tasks, from designing and constructing the structure of buildings to managing the plumbing, electrical, HVAC and mechanical systems. As the name indicates, a general contractor’s job description includes managing the overall operations and budget of any commercial construction project, which includes scheduling, supervising the progress of workers, analyzing prices and materials, analyzing customer demands and coordinating with other contractors and other professionals on behalf of the project.
Although most construction projects are large and complex, there are some that require more time and focus than others, as a result of the particulars of each project. This is where the scope of work of a general contractor is defined. If your new construction project involves remodeling or upgrading a kitchen or bathroom, for example, you will have different needs from those of a roofing contractor. General contractors are best suited to handle larger projects.
The term prime contractor refers to the construction manager or principal, or a group of principals, officers, or staff involved in the management of a construction project. A prime contractor may oversee all aspects of the project from conception to completion, though some of the work may be delegated to other team members. In most cases, a prime contractor does not have a title like general contractor, and its responsibilities are limited to those defined by the construction plan and applicable laws. In some states, the duties of the general contractor may be expanded and include the preparation of proposals and contracts, interviewing subcontractors, conducting negotiations with sub-contractors, preparing all bidding documents, executing plans, designing the building material to be used, and negotiating prices with suppliers. A prime contractor also makes final decisions about the total cost of the project and may participate in the planning and bidding process.
Designing and implementing plans, determining the cost of materials, coordinating all phases of the project, and overseeing all subcontractors are some of the major tasks performed by a general contractor. The prime contractor’s role is essential in the design phase because it is here that he/she is in charge of the entire project. As a result, general contractors are often called upon to supervise the hiring of subcontractors, the purchase of materials, and even the supervision of subcontractors. They are also responsible for coordinating all elements of the construction project including scheduling, materials, labor, and inspections.
Most construction companies prefer to hire a general contractor instead of hiring several subcontractors for various aspects of the project. For one, they can divide the scope of work and handle each phase separately. Besides, general contractors have a clear-cut understanding of the needs of the construction project and are able to anticipate the challenges that might arise. With this knowledge, they are better equipped to deal with these challenges efficiently and prevent any unnecessary delays in the construction process.
In order to prevent conflicts or misunderstandings between the general contractor and the property owner, it is advisable that both hire their own personal contractors. This way, the property owner can easily monitor the work done by his/her subcontractors. In addition, general contractors can help in identifying problems with the installation or renovation process as well as rectify them before they become major problems. If you decide to hire your own general contractor, be sure that you check his/her references and that he has the appropriate experience in the industry. There are a lot of companies available today that offer general contracting services and you can easily choose one who is most suited to the job.