The building industry is composed of contractors and projects. It is a business with complex undertakings that employ contractors and subcontractors, handling jobs of architects, engineers, surveyors, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, and the list goes on. Now, there’s a building contractor, and how it differs from a general contractor. Are they one and the same? To what extent their respective responsibilities differ?
You may wonder if a building contractor is different from a general contractor. Help us find out.
What is a general contractor?
A general contractor is the one who oversees and manages a group of subcontractors. He is the go-to guy when you need to consult everything pertaining to the whole construction project. He manages his own team and designates job on different areas of the building task.
Sometimes called the main contractor, the general contractor is the focal point or contact person with regards to the ongoings of the entire building project. He assumes the following responsibilities:
- Overseer of day-to-day activity in the site
- Manages communication, trades, and vendors
- Works along with an engineer or architect hired by the client
- Facilitates documentation when it comes to proposals and bids
- Provides cost estimates of the project covering all aspects of work
- Manages quality assurance
- Ensures safety in all aspects of the project
- Manages personnel on construction site; provides site surveying
- Applying for building permits
- Record keeping of cash flows and budget management
Other intriguing facts
The term ‘general contractor’ in the UK was slowly replaced by the term ‘main contractor’ in the early part of the 20th century. The first was only used in large organisations where he does his trades with professional contractors. Hence, the ‘general contractor’ title was designated to a person who engages contracts with large organisations.
More on general contractor’s role
With the depth of projects handled by the general contractor, he has acquired significant skills and talent in managing an entire project. This shows that a general contractor should be smart and have a healthy working relationship with reliable and efficient subcontractors.
When you choose your general contractor, he or she must be someone who has a good working portfolio listing all his completed projects, positive feedback from former clients, and reasonable contract package prices. Ultimately, a general contractor should be available at all times, preferably daily, to have a feed on the ongoings on the site.
What is a building contractor?
To make things straight, a building contractor is not a builder. The builder (without the term ‘contractor’) is the one responsible in facilitation of the home or building construction. A builder builds, sets the foundation of the home, its framing, and roofing.
However, a ‘building contractor’ handles a more complicated process to be able to accomplish the building project which covers different aspects of construction.
There are two types of building contractors; residential and commercial. For the residential building contractor, the tasks involve mainly overseeing the construction of residential homes, any type of residential home, whether row house, detached, etc. On the other hand, commercial building contractors handle building projects on business establishments.
On a more specific note, a building contractor assumes all direct employment of the workers involved in the building project (e.g., residential house) and takes contracts relatively necessary in the construction work.
The roles and qualifications of a building contractor:
- Solicits and finds bid from subcontractors to complete a job
- Oversees construction
- Handles paperwork (securing permits, follow local or national guidelines)
- Ensures building supply and materials are complete
- Education in construction management is beneficial
- Must have worked for years under a general contractor
- Can handle old and new structures but not necessarily hands on about plumbing, excavating, or rewiring
- Check structural integrity and adheres to quality assurance
- Supervises employees to ensure that the project plan is met in a timely manner
- Hires or fires workers, handles payroll, and directly pays the people who worked for the project
- Outlines the construction budget on work on that as closely as possible
- Checking the construction is doing good and that all aspects of building have been followed according to plan, if not, he ensures that any necessary changes must be applied
- Handles emergency issues that may arise during the implementation of the project to which many parties seek assistance with
What’s your take?
Based on the roles and responsibilities laid down for the building contractor and the general contractor, respectively, we can infer that we are referring to only one individual, who is the top dog in the construction project, whether the project involves small or large, residential or business structures.
The roles and functions of a general contractor are explicit, and we can easily assume that they all go the same with a building contractor.
Hiring a contractor
When looking for a contractor to work on your project, look for someone who is licensed and registered. This is to avoid scammers who pretend to have their legitimate businesses but run away when the odds are in due to their substandard performance or uncompleted job. Never engage in a contract to whom you have less information on his or her background.
Building contractors in Plymouth
Our people at Plymouth Builders avoid conflict and dispute at all times with clients, so we ensure that we only deliver quality in all aspects of our undertakings. We do not rush on things, because we give careful attention to your project in a highly efficient and timely manner. In Plymouth, we do this all the time.
Many builders could only say so much but compromise on the quality of materials they use for constructions. With us, you can always depend that we provide the materials fit for the purpose, and we take full responsibility when things go south.
At Plymouth Builders, our licensed tradespeople uphold professionalism at the highest degree, as we ensure that your building meets the set industry standards and local regulations.
Call us now on 01752 905030 to learn more.