A General Contractor is a key member of the construction team. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations and quality control at a construction site, and they’re the ones that turn the visions and renderings of architects, engineers and interior designers into reality. In addition, they coordinate with additional contractors and vendors for materials and heavy equipment. Because they’re in charge of the entire process, it’s crucial that they be available to answer questions and make decisions.
There are many different types of construction projects that a GC can be hired to work on, including retail stores, apartment complexes, commercial buildings, high-rises and manufacturing plants. Generally, a GC will be invited to bid on the project by the architect or project owner, and then they’ll analyze the drawings and scope of work to determine what their estimated costs will be. They’ll then add in their overhead, and submit a quote to the project owner. The GC is incentivized to keep the project within budget thanks to the bidding process, and they’ll take any savings into their profit margin as well.
Once the contract is signed, a GC will manage the budget and work with the architect throughout the duration of the project to ensure that the job is done correctly, on time and within the established budget. It’s their job to communicate with additional contractors and the project owner to make sure that everyone is on the same page about expectations, timelines and upcoming deadlines. They’ll also be in charge of sourcing all of the materials that will be used to complete the work, which might include everything from lumber and steel to electrical wiring and HVAC equipment.
Another aspect of the GC’s role is overseeing safety at the construction site. This is important because construction can be a dangerous industry, and it’s up to the GC to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken so that any employees or visitors to the site remain safe at all times. They’ll also be in charge of communicating with any other critical parties, like zoning boards or the project engineer, and they’ll handle any issues that may arise on the construction site such as weather delays or changes in plans.
In some cases, a GC will hire their own employees to help with the construction process. Other times, they’ll subcontract the work out to other companies that specialize in specific areas of the project. When they do, it’s up to the GC to vet those companies and make sure that they have proper insurance coverage to protect themselves and their clients.
Lastly, a GC will usually carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect themselves from any claims brought against them in the event of an accident or injury. They’ll also need to consider a builders risk policy, since they may be storing expensive tools and equipment on the construction site, making it a tempting target for thieves. Precautions like this, along with good housekeeping and ensuring that all power to any heating or powered equipment is shut off when not in use, can help reduce premises liability risks for a GC.