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What Does a General Contractor Do?

A general contractor is a construction project manager that oversees large building projects, such as new homes. These individuals often work for architects or engineering firms, but they can also be hired by homeowners to oversee home builds and remodeling.

GCs have experience working in several different trades and can also perform quality control on those jobs. They are typically the ones who arrange for the subcontractors, including excavation contractors, plumbers, electricians, dry-wallers and tilers, as well as roofers and foundation crews.

They are responsible for making sure that the entire construction process runs smoothly, coordinating with each team member and giving them specific deadlines to complete their tasks. They also make sure that the necessary materials are ordered and delivered on time.

When it comes to pricing, a general contractor usually charges a percentage of the total cost of the project. This fee is negotiated with the client beforehand and depends on factors like the firm’s service level and experience.

The fee may be paid in full or in installments throughout the duration of the project. In addition to fees for services, a GC can charge additional fees for the procurement of certain raw materials and labor costs.

A GC will also negotiate a payment schedule with the client to ensure that everyone involved in the project is paid on time. This can be a complicated process, especially in large projects, but it is essential to ensure that everything runs smoothly so that the project stays on budget and on schedule.

Another key part of a GC’s job is project planning. This involves dividing a larger project into smaller stages and assigning deadlines to each of those stages. This helps prevent costly overruns and delays.

GCs must also be careful to keep the construction site safe for workers and visitors. They should make sure that the work area is locked and secured, that visitors are checked in before entering, and that the work area is clean and free of debris.

As the owner of a business, a GC can also make sure to secure premises liability insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits that could arise during or after a construction project. This can be a complicated process, but it is essential to protect the business from potentially devastating financial losses.

A general contractor may also need to obtain a license from their local jurisdiction to practice in their state or region. This may require an exam on building practices and safety rules.

Regardless of their level of education, a GC needs to be able to understand construction procedures and regulations in order to do their job safely. They should also know what insurance they should carry, such as general liability and workers’ compensation.

Some GCs begin their careers in the building industry as carpenters, but they eventually decide to go into business for themselves. This allows them to acquire business training and manage a company in addition to their hands-on work.

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