A general contractor, principal contractor or developmental general contractor is ultimately responsible for the management of trades and vendors, day-to-day supervision of a construction site and coordination of information among all involved parties during the construction project. In fact, this is where the term “general contractor” came from. Contractors are essentially the extension of architects and engineers in the construction industry. While it is true that contractors perform some administrative duties, such as scheduling and estimating, this is not where their skills stop. In fact, they can only grow more valuable with an expanding market, a solid reputation and experience, a good business plan and the ability to keep your customers coming back.
Contractors generally work on either one or multiple projects on a daily basis. Their responsibilities include the management of materials, equipment, labor, and subcontractors or suppliers. The primary objective of any contractor is to deliver a quality construction project that meets the expectations of their customers. However, this is only half of their responsibilities. To be truly successful, they must also be versatile and have exceptional skill in negotiation, communication and most importantly, staying organized.
The first step in hiring a general contractor involves understanding who you are hiring for. If you are looking for a general contractor to manage a minor renovation, then you likely want a hands-on individual with experience in residential renovations, commercial construction and a state of the art facility. Your needs will greatly dictate how many projects you should work on at a time. Additionally, this individual must have a proven track record of completing projects within your budget and timeline. Furthermore, you should hire a contractor that can work with other contractors and can offer references of individuals that they have worked with in the past.
The second step in finding the right contractor is to determine what type of relationship you desire to have with this individual. Most general contractors will hire both a subcontractor and a sub-contractor to work on their project. A common scenario is that the general contractor will hire an architectural firm to design the structure, while the subcontractor will hire an interior designer to oversee the functionality of the interior space. If you are going to hire a general contractor to oversee the entire construction process, you need to know exactly what the construction contract will entail. You also need to know what the subcontractor’s responsibility is under the contract, what their rights are, and whether or not they are personally responsible for the work that is completed.
The third step in hiring a contractor involves getting down to business. Before any construction project is started, the construction manager should create a schedule that outlines the major steps of the project including timelines and estimated cost overruns. After this schedule is created, it is time to start interviewing each candidate. In order to make a good decision regarding who will be assigned to oversee the entire project, it is essential to get down to business and ask all of the questions that you need to.
Last, but not least, once you have a list of potential contractors, you need to meet them one-on-one. This will allow you to get a better feel for their personality. When it comes to hiring someone to take care of your renovation project, there are a lot of important factors to consider. Taking the time to select a good contractor can mean the difference between a successful renovation project and one that fails. So remember, regardless of what kind of construction project you have in mind, it is important to get down to business and meet with each candidate before making a final decision.