What is a General Contractor?
A general contractor is a group or individual that contracts with another organization or individual (the owner) for the construction, renovation or demolition of a building, house, or other structure. A general contractor is defined as such if it is the signatory as the builder of the prime construction contract for the project.
A general contractor is responsible for the means and methods to be used in the construction execution of the project in accordance with the contract documents. Said contract documents usually include the contract agreement including 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 usually is responsible for the supplying of all material, labor, equipment, and services necessary for the construction of the project. To do this it is common for the general contractor to subcontract part of the work to other persons and companies that specialize in these types of work. These are called subcontractors. General contractors 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 are the “big picture” thinkers. They work with you through the entire project, from the idea phase to the finished product. By contrast, subcontractors come and go. They specialize in certain areas of the construction process and enter project to do a particular task and leave when that task is finished. General contractors don’t usually complete much construction work themselves, but they should remain familiar with construction techniques so they can manage workers effectively and ensure that their subcontractors complete high-quality work.
Being that their jobs vary in complexity they get paid by the job. This means that the harder and more time consuming a job is the more it will cost. Also some materials cost more than others therefore tiling a bathroom will cost more than putting siding on a house.
Responsibilities of the general contractor may include applying for building permits, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing or recycling of construction waste, monitoring schedules and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records
Before starting a job the general contractor must first come in and look the house to see what it is that they are doing. After observing the area in which the job will be done they are able to come up with a price. This price is called an estimate. The estimation is essentially an educated guess. The general contractor takes what the cost of materials should be and then adds the cost of labor for the job and comes up with the estimate.