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But there are a few things to know before you hire.
About General contractors.
The General contractor is employed by the client, on the advice of the Architect or the Architectural technologist. A general contractor must first assess the project-specific documents (referred to as tender documents). In the case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. The contractor will then calculate a price, also called an estimate. The general contractor considers the cost of materials and equipment as well as the cost of labor to provide the owner with an approximate price for the project.
Contract documents include a budget, any general and special conditions, and blueprints and specifications prepared by a design professional such as an architect. In many instances the general contractor is the project engineer orproject manager for construction projects.
A general contractor is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. The general contractor hires specializedsubcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work.
Responsibilities may include applying for building permits, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing of or recycling construction waste, monitoring schedules and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records.
UK and Commonwealth usage
In the United Kingdom and some British Commonwealth countries the term ‘general contractor’ was gradually superseded by ‘main contractor’ during the early twentieth century. This was the term used by major professional, trade, and consumer organizations when issuing contracts for construction work, and thus the term ‘general contractor’ fell out of use.
General contractors that conduct work for government agencies are typically referred to as prime contractors.
Licensing requirements to work legally on construction projects vary from locale to locale. In the Unites States, it is the states’ responsibility to define these requirements. For example, in the state of California, the requirements are stated as follows:
“With a few exceptions, all businesses or individuals who work on any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) if the total cost of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more.”
There are no set educational qualifications to become a general contractor, though most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree. Some general contractors obtain bachelor’s degrees in construction science, building science, surveying, construction safety, or other disciplines. To help out with construction safety, you can always visit sites like Raken to be taught safety tips and how this technology can work for you when on site.
General contractors often start out as construction workers. While gaining work experience, they learn about different aspects of construction, including masonry, carpentry, framing, and plumbing. Aspiring general contractors communicate with subcontractors and may learn the management skills they need to run their own company.
Experience in the construction industry as well as references from customers, business partners, or former employers are demanded. Some states require candidates to provide proof of financing to own their own general contracting firm.
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 build their business by networking with potential clients, buying basic construction tools, and ensuring that their subcontractors complete high-quality work. General contractors don’t usually complete much construction work themselves, but they need to be familiar with construction techniques so they can manage workers effectively.
In the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, there has been implemented a new Contractor Licensing program that requires various contractors and skilled trades to obtain licenses to do business within Toronto, even if they run their business outside the city. And in Ontario, it is mandatory that General Contractors who offer electrical services clearly state that they “only use ESA/ECRA Licensed Electrical Contractors”.
As a business owner
Businesses may choose to hire contractors over employees for a variety of reasons. For legal reasons it can be easier to hire and to release a contractor compared to a permanent employee. Additionally, business owners may choose to hire contractors because of economic uncertainty or other factors that make hiring employees impractical. Other reasons include access to specialist skills, flexible hiring and firing, and lower costs.
The first step in vetting a general contractor is to perform a contractor licensing lookup to ensure the contractor is properly licensed to perform the work. Most states in the United States have free online license check databases available to the general public.
General contractor example
A property owner or real estate developer develops a program of their needs and select a site (often with an architect). The architect assembles a design team of consulting engineers and other experts to design the building and specify the building systems. Today contractors frequently participate on the design team by providing pre-design services such as providing estimations of the budget and scheduling requirements to improve the economy of the project. In other cases the general contractor is hired at the close of the design phase. The owner, architect, and general contractor work closely together to meet deadlines and budget. The general contractor works with subcontractors to ensure quality standards.
It’s a question that bears asking, even if you’ve been in the business for years: what is a general contractor in terms of today’s economic outlook? Because the truth is, a successful general contractor today is much different than one thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago.
The Home Asset Management Plan has been created to allow you to keep your company’s doors open when many others have closed. It’ll show you how to be successful today, tomorrow, and for many years to come. And it’ll answer the question you absolutely need answered: what is a general contractor today?
What is a General Contractor? | Adapting to the New Economy
In recent years, the general contracting business has taken some serious hits. The real estate meltdown of 2007 and the latest recession have delivered vicious blows to the industry, causing many companies to go down for the count…for good. But you don’t have to be one of those knock-out victims. You can be the champ, instead.
With the Home Asset Management Plan in place, you can change the course of your business to not only remain open during these tumultuous times, but to grow and become even more profitable.
The HAMP is a recession-proof business model that will take your general contracting operation to new heights.
What Does a General Contractor Do? | The New Business Model
The new general contractor needs to redesign his or her business model to suit the current needs and economic strengths of the client. You will work hand-in-hand with your client to develop a schedule of projects, both big and small, that can be attacked and completed throughout the coming years. By stretching out your work schedule like this, you’ll be able to keep busy for the foreseeable future and work on several clients’ homes at a time.
This new model of business is relationship-driven, wherein you pay much more attention to the client than perhaps you used to. By working as partners, you can ensure a life-long professional partnership with clients, attending to their household needs as they arise. It’s also a model that embraces the idea of home asset management over big project supervision.
It may be a major change for the way you do business, but I guarantee it’ll be a positive one.
Here’s a basic rundown of three of the major tenets of the new remodeling business model, as outlined by the Home Asset Management Plan:
- Smaller Scale, Longer Term – By working on smaller projects over a longer span of time, you create excellent job security, which keeps the cash flowing continually throughout the year.
- Home Asset Management – You need to broaden your focus from one corner of the house to the whole structure. Houses will always need upkeep in various ways, so you must be the one to take care of them all.
- One-Stop-Shopping – By offering full-home service, you become the go-to gal or guy for all your client’s home remodel, repair, or renovation needs.
What Does a General Contractor Do? | Finding Future Success
When shifting focus away from a project-driven business model and towards a relationship-minded one, you’ll notice that your future has never looked brighter.
For one, you will have scheduled out the next 3-5 years of work with your clients. For another thing, your clients will surely be so impressed with your patience, that they’ll recommend you to their friends and neighbors who need some residential remodeling work done.
When you work with people instead of with their money, your future becomes full of potential successes.
If you’d like more information about what a general contractor is in today’s economic climate, or what one needs to do to begin experiencing success, please contact us today. We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.
FAQs on General Contractors
Q: Do I need a permit?
A: Yes. Any major rebuilding requires that you have the necessary permits to do so. A good contractor will assist you in this process.
Q: What can I, as a homeowner, expect to do while a remodeling project is being done at my house?
A: The most important thing you can do is ask questions. If there is something that doesn’t look right, or you think you ordered one thing, and something else is being installed, ask! A contractor wants to know if things are not right immediately. There are no dumb questions, remember, it’s your money. Remember, there will be dust and dirt in your house. It doesn’t matter how careful the contractor is, expect it. You can have a silica dust control plan in place to help minimize the dust and make the area cleaner. Make it easy for the contractor to have access to your house. There will be times when he will have to leave and come back. Give him a key if possible. It will make your life easier to schedule. If you are remodeling a kitchen, eat out a lot. Most kitchen projects take 4-6 weeks. Arrange ahead of time with your contractor to have the refrigerator set up in an alternate location, away from the dust and dirt. If you are remodeling a bathroom, and it is your only bathroom, make arrangements to have the toilet reset each day it is pulled.
Q: Should I get three estimates?
A: That depends. If you have lived a long time in your neighborhood and know a reliable contractor, then go with him. A realtor is often a very good resource for finding a good contractor, and the realtor who sold you your home is always willing to help. If you are new to the neighborhood, then it is always a good idea to get three estimates. Remember, going with the cheapest is not always the best. Ask to see some of the contractors work and ask for references. A reputable contractor will be more than glad to assist you.
Q: I have three different estimates, and the prices vary greatly. Why?
A: Good question. There are a number of different factors that go into pricing a remodeling job. Check the obvious first. Make sure that every estimate has the same scope of work. If the estimates are so vague that you cannot decipher that information, go back to the contractor for clarification, in writing, not just a “yeah, it’s included” over the phone. If you cannot get satisfactory written results, eliminate that contractor from future bidding. The level of service given by a contractor greatly affects the cost. If the contractor spends lots of time picking out materials, attending to every detail, and taking care of all the little extras, so you don’t have to, it will cost a little extra. When a contractor carries all the proper and required insurances, his prices will be higher than a ‘pick-up contractor’. Quality of work, hard to show in a written estimate, is also a factor in costs. For example, our carpenters do very high quality work (their standards are usually much higher than our customers). Rarely, does the customer ever ask to have something re-done because of quality issues. That piece of mind is worth extra money up front to most people. This facet of the cost difference is usually only confirmed by calling references or visiting jobs the contractor has done in the past.
Dont forget who to call for all your home remodeling.
Call 1 Home services 704-614-3420