General Contractors are highly skilled workers who do a variety of different types of construction work. Some general contractors specialize in particular types of work, while others tend to take on any type of job that is thrown their way. A general contractor, principal contractor, or subcontractor is ultimately responsible for the day-to-day oversight of an active construction site, managing contracts, and vendors, and making the necessary communication with all involved parties during the course of a construction project. They are often referred to as the “acting in the hole” variety of contractors because of the key position they hold in the construction chain.
Contractors tend to be younger, often inexperienced, and have less education and training than the typical licensed contractor. Many also began working on their construction jobs as apprentices under another master general contractor and then went on to become primary contractors on their own after receiving their license or certificate. Most general contractors start out working as floor contractors and throughout their career, they gain experience by working various jobs in the construction industry.
There are many different types of contractors in North America. Although most are specialized in one or two types of construction projects, there are virtually hundreds of prime contractors involved in various construction projects. To be qualified to become a contractor, it is required that the person obtain a general contractor license after completing a specified number of project hours as well as the completion of state and/or federal construction projects. The licensing requirements vary from state to state, so it is best to contact your local contracting office to inquire about the exact requirements in your area.
Some contractors also work as subcontractors. This is a type of contractor who is responsible for providing the materials, labor, and other costs involved in the construction project but is not an employee of the construction company. Subcontractors are often an essential part of construction because they can provide the expertise needed when certain tasks are neglected, such as hiring subcontractors or performing some modifications to complete a particular project on time and without problems.
General contractors and sub-contractors both have their benefits and drawbacks. Contractors are typically hired to oversee the overall project while the subcontractor is hired to perform specific tasks that the general contractor cannot handle. On the flip side, both also have risks and rewards. For example, if a subcontractor does not properly perform his job, the overall project may be jeopardized which may cost the general contractor additional work and money.
Typically, general contractors will not need any type of licensing requirements. This is because they will usually hire their workers from the local workforce, so it is always the case that at least one of the workers will be experienced in the specific trade skills needed to do the job correctly. This also minimizes the likelihood that workers will be injured on the job since general contractors already have a record of providing safe working conditions for their employees.
However, some contractors have special interests and knowledge that may make them better qualified to perform certain jobs than general contractors. For example, electricians and plumbers may have specific tasks that only they are capable of completing. Also, these specialized professionals may offer materials and services that general contractors normally do not offer. This is another reason why it may be beneficial for an architect to hire a general contractor to oversee the overall construction project.
Finally, general contractors often hire architects to complete their designs. The same holds for plumbing and electrical contractors. Contractors can provide specialized and valuable inputs that can greatly impact the finished product of a home.