General contractors work directly with the building owner and design team to bring a construction project to completion. The general contractor (GC) on a project is responsible for overseeing the construction job site’s day-to-day functions, effectively communicating with the project team, and management of vendors, trades and budget throughout the course of a construction project.
A general contractor’s primary priority is safely leading a construction site to project completion and helping the client to achieve success. Safely leading a construction site to completion directly depends on the GC’s ability to manage subcontractors, meet client goals, effectively communicate with project teams, and seamlessly turn the building over to the client.
Upon gaining an in-depth understanding of the construction project from drawings and construction site surveys, the GC develops a construction bid for the project. The clarity in the bid details, scope of work, and accuracy of material needs directly affect the entire project team’s bottom line. The GC manages the bid process to source all project needs; working diligently to secure competitive pricing on all bid items; generally relying on strong relationships with skilled subcontractors. In some cases, the GC may self-perform work on the job, ultimately benefiting the client by bypassing markups.
During the course of a construction project, there are many complexities to manage in order to maintain schedule, budget and design intent. The jobsite is constantly evolving as the project progresses through phases and it is imperative that the GC is able to accommodate for unforeseen changes to the scope of work or project design. When working as a general contractor on a renovation project, unforeseen changes can be common and it is important for a GC to manage these changes without affecting the overall project goal.
In a typical construction project, the owner holds separate contracts with the design team and the construction team. The general contractor must effectively communicate project progress to both of these teams while also managing the on-site subcontractors. The GC leverages an extensive on-site project management team to effectively communicate work progress, manage subcontractors, instill safety procedures, and address any questions or concerns on-site. The overall project success hinges on the ability of the GC to quickly communicate project information to all parties to maintain project progress.
The general contractor’s responsibilities extend past the construction phase of the project. When a project is complete there is an extensive amount of education on the operation and mechanics of the new facility as well as the completion of punch list items to ensure finished quality. Education includes detailed building tours, training, and maintenance & operation manuals. Additionally, the GC may also manage the delivery of furniture, furnishing and equipment installation. Finally, the general contractor secures final waivers of lien and certificates to fully turn the project over to the client for building occupancy.
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