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Pros and Cons of Hiring a General Contractor

What is a general contractor? A general contractor, principal contractor or subcontractor is responsible for the entire day-to-day supervision of a construction site, preparation of trades and materials, and coordination of communication with other involved parties during the course of an ongoing construction project. Contractors have extensive training and education in numerous fields of expertise, including plumbing, mechanical engineering, carpentry, painting, and electrical contracting. They are frequently licensed by their states’ licensing boards. If you are a homeowner considering the addition of a room to your home, constructing a deck, or remodeling your kitchen, it would be wise to contact a general contractor to assist in the planning, bidding and project management.

What are the responsibilities of these individuals? In addition to providing the necessary supervision of other contractors, general contractors are often asked to perform tasks beyond their scope of responsibility. For example, they may be asked to supervise the completion of architectural drawings and provide references for any work done. They may also be asked to supervise the drilling and concrete testing of foundations, as well as overseeing the entire bidding and contracting process. General contractors who have been thoroughly trained and licensed through their state’s board are also familiar with local codes and requirements.

Why is it important to hire a general contractor? The majority of construction projects involve numerous subcontractors; therefore, it is crucial that you utilize the services of one person who can effectively coordinate the efforts of all of the subcontractors to ensure that the entire project is completed on time and within budget. In addition to licensing and training requirements, most states require general contractors to obtain additional training, such as continuing education credits, which can further help them maintain certification and increase their knowledge of current industry practices.

How is a general contractor different from a property management company (PMC)? A property management company typically only deals with the day to day operations of managing a development. A general contractor is usually engaged in the process of building and managing a complex construction project. They are often involved in everything from bidding to contract negotiations to coordinating and managing subcontractors.

Are there advantages to hiring a direct contractor? Many construction projects involve several sub-contractors. When working with a single contractor, the project manager is forced to divide their focus between all of the sub-contractors. This can prove to be a significant amount of time and energy when dealing with several different constructions. By working with a general contractor who is capable of handling multiple projects at a time, the property owner can focus on the aspects of their construction project that are most important to them.

Why is it recommended to hire a general contractor directly? Although a property owner can outsource many of the tasks associated with a building construction project, doing so will not give them the level of control over the project that they would if they hired a prime contractor. If the general contractor hired directly is unable to handle a specific job because he or she doesn’t have enough experience for it, the property owner will be stuck having to hire another general contractor or pay someone else to complete the task. While this may seem like an unnecessary expense to the project, there are many times where it proves to be beneficial for the project to use a contracted directly instead of having another construction company to complete the task.

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