A general contractor, principal contractor or major contractor is in charge of the day-to-day oversight of a construction project, coordination of trades and vendors, and the dissemination of details to all parties involved in the construction project. They are primarily responsible for providing the technical expertise and structural know-how necessary to get a project up and running. A general contractor also supervises the construction crew onsite, ensures compliance with local building codes and ensures the project is completed on schedule and within budget. It can be extremely challenging to find a licensed general contractor. There are some specific steps you can take to make the job of finding a general contractor more efficient.
One of the best ways to ensure that you locate a licensed general contractor is to ask potential contractors for references. Make contact with at least three potential contractors and schedule an interview with them. You should have an outline of the type of construction project that they are experienced in and what they feel is their specialty. You may include specific tasks or requests in your bid for bids. If you are submitting bids, make sure that the general contractor’s bid is identical to the estimate provided to you by the subcontractor. This will help reduce confusion between the two and increase your chances of winning your bid.
Once you meet with the general contractor and get bids from the subcontractors, determine whether you require the services of a construction manager to oversee the project. The construction manager is in charge of everything involved in the construction project, including scheduling and supervising workers, supervising materials and labor, communicating with other contractors and the public, managing subcontractors, and communicating with other staff. The construction manager may also be in charge of receiving payment for all subcontractors, conducting inspections and documenting materials used. If you do require a construction manager, make sure the construction manager is licensed and has previous experience in your field.
During your first meeting with the general contractor, ask him about his record keeping and if he has a plan in place for making sure that subcontractors are paid on time. At this meeting it is also a good idea to request a list of past project records. You may be surprised at how many times a general contractor makes a simple mistake when entering information into his computer system or when making his daily schedule. It can take days for these errors to be corrected, so it is important to be vigilant about making sure that subcontractors are paid on time.
After the initial meeting with the general contractor you can then enter into a contract with the general contractor to work on your construction projects. Make sure that you are signing an agreement that specifies the scope of work and any fees that may be incurred. Your written agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the contractor. Your written agreement between you and the general contractor also covers any defects or mistakes that arise during your work that are not your responsibility.
Some of the other duties that your general contractors may include are putting together the drawings and plans for any project that you have asked him to do. They may also be responsible for interviewing the necessary subcontractors as well as hiring them for the job. Many general contractors also hire carpenters, plumbers, painters and electricians if they are needed for any construction project that you may have. They may also offer materials and tools that you need for the job.