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A Guide to Hiring General Contractors for Construction

A general contractor handles most medium and large construction jobs. A general contractor may be called by other names like builder, building contractor, remodeling contractor, and others. The difference of a general contractor with other types of contractors is that he takes responsibility for a whole project to complete it for a certain bid price and in contract with the property owner. The general contractor being in charge of the whole project makes sure that all the materials as purchased, hires the trades people, and brings in subcontractors so that the job will be completed in time. These subcontractors are answerable to the general contractor and not to the owner of the property.

Unless you carefully choose a reliable provider, your decision will have a great impact on the success or failure of your project. Even if you have great plans, contracts, and construction documents, if the general contractor lacks in skill or integrity, you cannot get good work from him. Find someone whom you can trust and feel comfortable working with. You will not regret it even if you have to pay a little extra to hire the right person. As the job progresses, the savings your get from hiring the low bidder will often evaporate.

There are many problems that can crop up during the construction cycle and here are some of them: estimating and bidding the project, negotiating a contract with the owner, hiring and negotiating permits and scheduling inspections, disbursing money to subs and material suppliers, creating a schedule for workers, subs, and deliveries, negotiating material prices and ordering them, interpreting the plans and specifications, supervising and coordinating the work of employees and subs, troubleshooting job site problems and a lot more.
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On top of these, the general contractor often meets with the owner in order to discuss the concerns, while juggling the many other things that can turn his tightly schedule work into chaos.
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Architects can recommend to you the general contractors whom they have worked with successfully. That’s a good place to start, but whether you are starting from scratch or with a list of names, the process is pretty much the same. You should put more effort in finding the right contractor is you have a big job. You can hire them for a small job to see how the work goes.

Most of the energy of the general contractor actually goes into managing the subcontractors. If the company is small they simply rely on their staff carpenters, but the large companies use subcontractors to get the work done. For plumbing and electrical work, all general contractors use subs for these jobs, but with excavation and foundation work, roofing, drywall, and painting, they sometimes use subs and sometimes they don’t. Their own crew members can do the smaller jobs.