What does a general contractor do? To answer this question correctly, we first need to know who a general contractor is. So who is a general contractor? A general contractor is a person who enters into a contract to oversee and coordinate a construction project by daily oversight of the construction project.
Depending on the situation, a general contractor may be employed by a company or own his own company. Also, depending on the project’s wishes, a contractor may work on a project from the pre-design phase, work with an architect to design the project, or maybe hired after the design phase to carry out the project.
What General contractors actually do?
Since we already have an idea of who a general contractor is, we can go back to answer our original question. A general contractor can carry any of the following activities depending on the type of project, the client’s preferences, and the client’s level of trust and comfort with the contractor.
- Project Pre-Design: a general contractor can be involved in the initial phase of a construction project before the design is even created. This phase involves bringing the client’s idea from the mind to paper and checking out if the project will be worth it. In this phase, the general contractor usually plays an advisory role, calling on experience to curb wrong ideas or improve the client’s right ideas.
- Project Design: once the pre-design phase is done, a general contractor may be involved in designing the project. The design might be done alone, but it’s usually done together with an architect and sometimes an engineer.
- Permits for the project: as the project progresses, the general contractor gets the licenses and permits that might be needed for the project. This will happen only for projects that need permits as not all projects require a permit.
- Budgets: the general contractor is usually responsible for creating a budget for the project. Three things are budgeted in every project; time, money and personnel. All these interact with each other in interesting ways. For example, more money available for the project will mean for people to hire and thus a faster finish time for the project. The general contractor will determine a proper balance of these factors to meet the client’s proposed deadline and financial power.
- Maintaining accurate records: for forensic, auditory, and several other purposes, the construction process must be well documented. This role also falls on the shoulders of a general contractor. The best general contractors often use construction software.
- Secure locations or property: some projects require that some special property or location. For example, a contraction project that wants to expand the car park around a shopping mall might need to purchase more land. The general contractor might also be in charge of this purchase.
- Scheduling: as the project runs, the general contractor will have to schedule and allocate labour to employees. The general contractor has to consider factors like employee payment rate, employee time off and so on.
- Procuring Labor: in situations when the company’s employees are not enough to get the job done quickly enough, the general contractor will have to hire subcontractors to get the extra job done so the project can be delivered on schedule. Subcontractors include plumber, painters and so on.
- Procuring materials: the general contractor typically purchases the materials that are to be used for the project. This is especially because the general contractor is in charge of the budget and has to ensure the project comes out within budget.
- Procuring equipment: for equipment that is not available, the general manager determines where it will be bought, leased or rented for use. The general contractor might also lease out equipment not currently in use, reduce overhead costs, and make extra money.
- Ensure safety on the job site: it’s the general contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the risk of injury to construction personnel is minimal. The general contractor should also be responsible for making sure employees who eventually get injured are well taken care of and compensated.
- Managing On-site personnel: A general contractor often has to be on the field to monitor the construction activities. The general contractor has to oversee the whole process and make sure everything is going according to plan to provide immediate feedback and instructions when things are beginning to get off track.
- Disposing or recycling construction waste: construction work generates a lot of waste that can be harmful to the environment. It is the job of a general contractor to ensure that all construction wastes are appropriately disposed of.
- Create a proper communication plan: several groups of people carry out different activities on a construction site. These people must, at the end of the day, achieve a common goal. For this to be possible, there has to be proper communication between all working units, and it’s the job of the general contractor to ensure there is adequate communication between all units working on the construction.
Conclusion As we have seen so far, a general contractor does so many complex activities. It’s so easy for a general contractor to be overwhelmed or make mistakes. To prevent being overwhelmed and possible mistakes, the best general contractors use construction management software. This software makes the work of a general contractor less hectic, more engaging and thus more fun. It’s so easy to use; it enables seamless scheduling, presents information in a very intuitive and appealing way, automates administrative tasks, tracks employee progress, and enables access to old projects for better performance on the current project. Your general contractor can also store information about your project and bring it up such information whenever you wish to see it, even if it’s 39 years later! As a result, the general contractor is more engaged with work and can provide the best service.