What is a General Contractor?


What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a construction professional who plans, manages, and executes remodeling, renovation, or entire construction projects from beginning to end. General contractors typically deal with long-term projects that require specialized design and architectural components.

Sometimes, these design and architectural tasks are handled in-house. Other times, the general contracting firm will work with various subcontractors to ensure everything goes according to plan.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

In many ways, a general contractor can be thought of as the person who is in charge of overseeing a team of subcontractors. However, the general contractor’s duties entail much more than that.

A completed, blue-themed kitchen inside a custom contractor-overseen home

Here, we’ll discuss some of the most essential tasks and duties of general contractors.

General Contractors Manage Projects, Timelines & Subcontractors

It’s the general contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the project is built to the exact dimensions and specifications of the design on time and within budget. This process involves working closely with subcontractors such as architects, electricians, plumbers, and others whose specialized services are required. Also, there’s the budget and timeline of the project to consider; to ensure that deadlines are met as efficiently as possible, general contractors have to pay close attention to daily progress and milestones.

General Contractors Offer On-Site Construction Assistance

Just because they’re in charge of overseeing construction projects from a high level, that doesn’t mean general contractors are afraid to get their hands dirty. In fact, the general contractor and his team can frequently be found on the construction site assisting with the physical labor themselves, while being respectful of the subcontractors who are doing their jobs alongside them.

General Contractors Obtain Permits & Ensure Local Laws Are Followed

It’s the general contractor’s job to secure all the necessary construction permits before the project commences as well as making sure all building code requirements are being met. This can be a tricky undertaking since local laws, required permits, and construction codes vary so greatly from location to location, especially in historic cities like Boston and Cambridge.

The Benefits of Working With General Contractors

As you can see, general contractors take care of a lot – which means you don’t have to. With the thousands of things to consider, keep track of, and oversee during a construction project, having an experienced general contractor can truly be a blessing when it comes to things like:

  • Having a single point of contact to oversee every aspect of your project. This means you won’t have to talk to numerous companies, firms, subcontractors, and others on a daily basis. Instead, all this is taken care of by your general contractor.
  • Gaining extra insurance against unforeseen issues that might pop up during any part of the design, planning, or construction phases. That’s because all general contractors have liability insurance, and with one insured general contractor, you’re in a much safer position than if you tried to manage potentially dozens of subcontractors on your own.
  • A much greater chance to meet project deadlines. General contracting firms have a large network of trusted partners and subcontractors, many of which they’ve worked with on countless projects before. These close relationships mean the multiple parties know how to work together effectively to meet deadlines, plus you’ve got a general contractor on-hand to effectively manage the subcontractors to ensure optimal efficiency.
  • Way less stress for you. The culmination of all the aforementioned benefits of hiring a general contractor is the fact that you don’t have to worry about the exhausting task of managing the important minutiae associated with your project. Whether it’s obtaining the right building permits, ensuring that the proper materials arrive on time, or any number of other tasks, they all get handled by a competent and experienced industry professional. On top of that, this industry professional is also your single point-of-contact, meaning all you need to do is talk to one person for progress updates.

Contractor with Helmet

Want to Learn More About General Contractors?

When it comes to high-end projects, general contractors are truly a blessing for people looking for luxury-levels of high-end construction management. However, it’s always good to be prepared before contacting a general contracting firm.

We recommended learning a bit more about how general contracting agreements work as a place to start. In addition, familiarizing yourself with general contractor costs and pricing methods is also a great idea. But no matter how much you know (or don’t know) about the processes involved, you can be sure your general contractor will happily help.


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