responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the construction site, and
management of vendors and trades. In addition, keep communication
between the general contractor and the involved parties open and clear
through out the course of project.
Before starting a
job, the general contractor must first visit and then assess the site.
As a result of this, a price also called an ‘’estimate’’.
The general contractor considers the cost of materials, equipment as
well as the cost of labor to provide the owner with an approximate
price for the project.
In these contract
contract agreement includes budget, the general and special conditions
and the plans and specification of the project that are prepared by a
design professional such as an architect.
A general contractor
is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment, (engineering vehicles and tools) and
services necessary for the construction of the project. In order for
the general contractor to get these tasks done, is by hiring more
specialized subcontractors to perform certain portions or even all of
the construction work.
Depending on the size
of a project, the following responsibilities may include:
• Filing for
• Securing the property,
• Providing temporary
utilities on site
• Managing personnel on site
• Providing site
surveying and engineering
• Disposing/Recycling of construction waste
Monitoring schedules and cash flows
• Maintaining accurate records as
construction progress 
In the United Kingdom
and certain former British Commonwealth
countries the term 'general contractor' was gradually superseded by
'main contractor' during the early twentieth century. This followed the
practice of major professional, trade and consumer organizations
issuing standard forms of contract for undertaking the variety of
construction works spanning the whole spectrum of the industry. It was
and is usual for the term main contractor to be used and defined in all
these contract documents, and as a result the term general contractor
became an anachronism.</ref>
General contractors that conduct work for
government agencies are typically referred to as prime contractors.
There are no set
educational requirements to become a general contractor, although most
employers do prefer that you have a bachelor's degree. Some general
contractors obtain bachelor's degrees in construction science, building
science, surveying, construction safety etc.
usually start out as regular construction workers. While gaining work
experience, they learn about different aspects of construction,
including masonry, carpentry, framing and plumbing. Aspiring general
contractors network with subcontractors and may learn the management
skills they need to run their own company.
Depending on the
state, the requirements will vary from passing a written exam on topics
such as contracting and construction law or require a bachelor's degree
for licensing. Also, experience in the construction industry as well as
references from customers, business partners or former employers are
demanded. Some states go as far as requiring candidates to prove
financing to own their own general contracting firm.
often run their own business. They hire subcontractors to complete
specialized construction work and may manage a team of plumbers,
electricians, builders, carpenters and other specialists. General
contractors build their business by networking with potential clients,
buying basic construction tools and ensuring that their subcontractors
complete high-quality work. General contractors don't usually complete
much construction work themselves, but they should remain familiar with
construction techniques so they can manage workers effectively.
contractors are usually at the top of the employment line the only
benefits are the ones that they buy themselves. However, if the general
contractor works under a company, getting heath insurance is a plus.
Because the jobs vary in complexity, they get paid by the job. Also,
some materials cost more than others. For example, tiling a bathroom
will cost more than putting siding on a house.
One of the biggest
advantages is being your own boss, as a contractor you are not required
to accept work from a client. You have the freedom to pick and choose
your contracts which can result in having a great work variation.
Contractors usually take projects that last 3, 6, or 12 months, in
duration, to gain a wealth of experience.
If you own your own
business which is common in general contracting, then you must supply
yourself and your employees with some heath benefits. In addition,
taking any paid vacation because you get paid at the end of a job which
leads to another problem which is not getting paid. Luckily, if the
owner doesn’t want to pay you, then filing a contractor’s ‘’lien’’ can
help secure payment.
As a service
are required to be licensed in every state and may be required to take
an oral and written exam. License requirements and coverage vary by
state, and may cover those who contract, bid, negotiate a price or
offer to construct, supervise, oversee, direct, alter, repair, install,
improve, move, demolish, furnishing labor, etc. Various types of
contractor include building (residential and commercial), electrical,
plumbing, mechanical, highway, and environmental remediation.
As an owner
entity commissioning the construction of the building chooses to act as
the general contractor. In such cases, they work directly with the
subcontractors and take care of the administration and organization of
the various subcontractors.
conditions the owner takes on all liability for proper sequencing of
the work, and dealing with the realities of construction.
acknowledge this with their cooperation. Owners seldom have this
advantage, and most subcontractors will recognize the risk of working
with a one time client with higher bids.
As an alternative,
the owner builder approach to building its own residence can have risks
and benefits. As a novice in the business, the owner builder is
vulnerable to a number of common mistakes such as overbuilding the
neighborhood, exposure to liabilities, lack of subcontractor management
skills, and others. Subcontractor loyalty and discounted prices to
general contractor are not a rule at all. As the economy worsens, and
many builders struggle to find work, the owner builder can pick the
best talent at the price that is only limited to his or her negotiating
As a business owner
Main article: Independent contractor
For legal reasons it
can be easier to hire and also release a contractor compared to an employee that has Permanent employment.
Large numbers of business owners choose to hire contractors because of
uncertainty within their business or have constraints such as
maternity, illness or other legal factors which entail that hiring a
permanent employee is not a feasible option.
An owner or real
would develop a program of their needs and select a site (often with an
architect). The Architect assembles a design team of consulting engineers and other experts to design the
building and specify the building systems to meet those needs. Today
contractors frequently participate in the design team effort by
providing pre-design services where they will help in providing more
accurate estimation of budget and scheduling during design to improve
the over all economy of the project. Otherwise the general contractor
is hired just to build the building(s) at the close of the design
phase. The owner, architect, and general contractor work closely
together to meet deadlines and budget. The general contractor then
works with subcontractors to ensure
quality standards in addition to timeline and budget. Often there will
be disagreements between the contractor and the architect over style
vs. function. These arguments may lead to lawsuits which can
potentially prolong or even stop a project.