Understanding The True Role of A General Contractor


The role of a general contractor in any home construction, renovation, or improvement project is often misunderstood. You may think of the general contractor as the guy responsible for doing all of the work required to finish building a house – but the true role of a general contractor is much more deep and complex.

Essentially, your general contractor is the brains of the entire operation. He may do some of the work himself – but his true role is much more managerial in nature. Think construction site foreman, rather than an actual construction worker.

His knowledge goes much more deeply than simple construction and building techniques, and extends to relationship management, delegation, and much, much more.

In this article, we’ll take a look at nine of the roles that a great general contractor will take on in a construction project, so that you can understand the true depth of expertise required for general contracting.

Role 1: Financial Adviser

If this is your first construction project, you may have no real idea how much money it will cost, and you’ll likely have to finance part of it – and anticipate hidden costs.

Your general contractor will have tons of experience negotiating with banks, pricing out projects, and understanding the “money side” of building – and if you have a great contractor, he will be a fantastic resource when estimating a budget and a reasonable timeframe for your project.

Role 2: A Realist – Who Keeps Your Head Out Of The Clouds

Contractors have a specific job – get things done, and get them done at a reasonable cost, in a reasonable timeframe. If you keep dreaming up big ideas about your home improvement project, a great contractor will be there to keep you grounded – and to inform you about the massive costs that changes in plans will incur.

Role 3: A Real Estate Adviser

General contractors do large varieties of projects, and see many homes – perhaps even in your neighborhood. If you’re looking to improve your home’s resale value or cost out specific features that you would like added to your home, a general contractor can be a great resource.

This can also help you determine whether or not it’s worth renovating the home you’re in – or if it would be better to simply sell it and move to a new one.

Role 4: Therapist

Building a home is stressful. Renovating a home is stressful. Delays are common, hidden costs are the norm. Your general contractor is probably going to have to hear you vent – and will have the ability to talk you through these sorts of situations, and come up with realistic solutions that will keep you satisfied.

Role 5: Mediator

There are many different parties involved in homebuilding and renovation. Architects, builders, landscapers, suppliers, subcontractors, and even family and friends. Disputes, unfortunately, are common when dealing with so many different parties – and general contractors are the ones who must deal with issues, so as to prevent extra costs and further delays.

Role 6: Marriage Counselor

One of the most important roles a contractor has when dealing with a couple is making them understand each other – often, before a project begins, partners can have different ideas about how the project is going to turn out. A great contractor makes sure that you and your significant other are on the same page regarding your project – before they lay the first brick or build the first wall.

Role 7: Handyman

Chances are that your home has some hidden issues that you don’t know about – and a great contractor is going to be able to sniff them out. If you have outdated plumbing, wiring, mold, broken fans, or any number of other issues that need fixing, your contractor is going to notice – and recommend a course of action.

Role 8: Translator

You are not going to understand what masons, architects, cabinetmakers, electricians, or plumbers are talking about – most of the time. Your general contractor can help you explain the specifics of what each specialized subcontractor is doing in your project – in plain English.

Role 9: Secretary

Your general contractor is the nexus of communication between all parties in the project – you, your subcontractors, suppliers, and every other important person. He is likely going to have to coordinate the efforts of these individuals, and keep logs of time spent, costs, records of payments, and other important information.

Find A Great General Contractor – And Ensure Your Project Goes Off Without A Hitch.

Because your general contractor does so much for your project, it’s crucial that you choose an experienced, qualified, and licensed contractor – even if it costs a little bit more.

Remember, delays and hidden costs are the norm for construction projects, so find a great contractor, hash out the details of your project, and get it done. If you have an experienced general contractor at the helm of your home remodel or build, you’re sure to find success.

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