A general contractor is an individual that is typically a subcontractor to a designer or architect in the construction of buildings. Contractors are responsible for oversee the entire construction project from beginning to end including all phases of design, implementation and material management. In most states a general contractor is also responsible for supervising all trades and materials involved in the construction of the project and for the coordination of information from all involved parties during the course of the project. General contractors are very familiar with the construction process and have developed an extensive knowledge of local building codes, systems and laws.
Contractors are generally hired by a builder before construction work commences. They are generally responsible for managing the budget as well as coordinating all contract negotiations. After the budget has been finalized they are then responsible for submitting all contracts and tenders to the suppliers. The general contractor should keep detailed records on all expenses incurred during the project, they should track material purchase orders and labor estimates provided by suppliers.
Subcontractors are generally hired as a last-minute option to companies who can not afford the general contractor fees. In some cases they are also necessary as the owner may want to change the architectural design. They are hired to take over all the responsibilities of the general contractor such as supervise the completion of material and submit bid estimates, oversee subcontractors work and submit required documents. However, it should be kept in mind that subcontractors cannot and should not create any partial plans or draw-outs without the permission and agreement of the general contractor.
A general contractor’s licensing is typically done through a state approved contractor’s association. This group provides standardized licensing requirements and training seminars to ensure that all members are equally knowledgeable about the construction business. Each association will choose a format for submission of application and renewal of membership; this typically includes an annual licensing fee. Before a license can be suspended, refusal to pay the applicable fees or incomplete registration or certification can result in immediate suspension.
The General Contractor Act regulates the professional conduct of general contractors. Contractors are licensed to do business in each state in America and they are required to meet the same contracting laws as other licensed professionals. The GCA regulates the amount of hours a general contractor can spend on construction projects. It requires general contractors to complete the schedule of their work within the allocated budget.
There are no special training requirements to become a general contractor. They must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent to obtain their license. It is important for prospective contractors to be familiar with the regulations and rules of the construction industry as it applies to them. They must follow the rules of the state and federal government in regard to licensing, supervision and certification. They must maintain regular certification workshops and obtain continuing education to stay current on industry developments.