What is The Role of a General Contractor?

General contractors, also referred to as project managers or construction managers do not only supervise construction projects, they also help in planning, coordinating, budgeting, and supervising all the aspects of a commercial or residential construction process. A general contractor must be a good time manager and efficient communicator, in addition to being proficient and detail-oriented in managing personnel and budget. This job requires one to have remarkable multitasking skills. However, it also allows one to showcase their creativity in certain areas like aesthetics and creating plans.

A general contractor’s job description includes all matters related to constructing a new building or renovating an existing building. However, the job description can vary, depending on whether the contractor only provides management of the project, or if they are required to participate in the construction project. 

With that said, let’s look at some of the major roles of a general contractor. 

Project planning

Every construction project has a master schedule, which describes all the project activities, together with the planned budget and time distribution. The schedule has a set completion date, which the contractor should meet, otherwise face hefty penalties. 

A delayed completion date can be justified in the event external factors beyond the control of the contractor delay the projects. Some of these factors include extreme weather and insecurity, among others. 

Thus, the first role of a general contractor is to create a project plan and ensure that it’s delivered on time. Here are some of the responsibilities:

  • Planning all the important development and implementation details regarding the project
  • Determining the equipment and materials requires, and then planning how to source them
  • Meeting the required legal and regulatory issues
  • Forecasting potential changes and creating strategies to mitigate risks
  • Creating effective communication channels among the parties participating in the project

Besides, the general contractor must come up with a budget for the project and ensure that it’s followed. A budget is essential, as it helps in tracking the cost of the project because a contractor can easily identify wastage of resources. This happens when they compare the actual amount spent with the estimated budget. 

Project management

A general contractor must ensure that the project is completed on time. This will involve various project management activities like:

  • Ensuring the availability of funds for continuity of the project
  • Buying the needed materials, and then planning how they will reach the construction site on time
  • Renting or buying the equipment needed for the construction project
  • Interviewing and hiring contractors to perform specialized work
  • Generating progress reports to justify payment

In addition to this, it’s the role of general contractors to manage their personnel. They must make sure that they have the required number of personnel, with the technical skills needed for the project. Besides, a general contractor should be in charge of their employees’ payroll, as well as subcontractor payments. 

Coordinating subcontractors and architects

Typically, a general contractor will need the services of specialized contractors to handle various aspects of the project, like plumbing, electrical wiring, and painting, among others. Thus, it is the role of the general contractor to coordinate all the subcontractors, to make sure that they stay on track. Besides, the general contractor should relay any information from the client to the respective subcontractors. This is essential, as it prevents the delaying of the project. 

Acts as the main contact to the client

The tenant build-outs experts from AFS General agree that general contractors are the main contact to the client, regardless of the project size. Thus, they must make sure that the client is constantly updated about the progress of the construction project. Besides, they must update the client about what goes on at the site. From the first consultation going forward, a general contractor must ensure that they work hand in hand with the client until completion of the project. 

Legal and regulatory matters

General contractors have numerous responsibilities when it comes to making sure that certain legal and regulatory matters are met. First, they need to acquire the required licenses and permit before the construction project starts. Besides, it’s the responsibility of a general contractor to cover the fees and taxes required when getting these licenses. Moreover, they must ensure that the entire construction process follows the local building codes and legislation. 

Being uninformed of the set legal requirements shouldn’t be an excuse in any construction project. That means a general contractor must constantly update themselves with these rules. With the necessary construction licenses and permits, a construction project can go on smoothly, without any disruptions. 

Safety and health matters

It’s the role of a general contractor to implement safety and health in a construction site. For this to be possible, the contractor must fulfill the needed procedures, and also raise awareness among the workers. Moreover, a general contractor is responsible for the appropriate use and operation of equipment, which helps in preventing accidents caused by misuse. 

Also, a general contractor must handle any emergencies and unpredicted issues at the site and should report them to the client, or their supervision staff.