How To Tell If A General Contractor Is Worth Hiring
A general contractor, subcontractor or prime contractor is typically responsible for the entire day-to-day supervision of an office building, site development, coordination of trades and vendors, and the dissemination of details pertinent to the construction project. These are also responsible for making sure no work is missed and ensuring that completion time is kept at a reasonable minimum. This includes scheduling materials and labor as well as supervising their use and adherence to building plans and specifications. However, even these general contractors may find themselves taking on more work because a particular project is so large or unique in nature.
Most general contractors start out as part-time employees and gradually work their way up through the ranks to become full-fledged contractors. If they have done enough research into a certain area, they may choose to become an architectural engineer (AAE). The architectural engineer is responsible for many things beyond simply overseeing the construction of the buildings they oversee. They will be involved with drafting plans, determining which materials will be used, determining which building materials can be employed, as well as working closely with the general contractor to ensure that all the necessary regulatory requirements are met. Many architects also specialize in a specific type of building, such as housing, commercial, or residential.
Typically, an architect will have a number of years of experience in their field, but typically will not have a portfolio of any design work completed. For this reason, most architectural firms prefer to hire a general contractor to oversee the day-to-day work, supervise design meetings, provide references, provide updates and perform other services that can be of benefit to the firm. This arrangement works out fine for both parties. In fact, it can be more advantageous for them than paying an individual designer thousands of dollars per hour for every task. It also ensures that the general contractor’s reputation remains intact and that he/she will continue to work with only the best of the best.
A construction manager may have years of industry experience, but usually has less of a portfolio to prove it. In these cases, the hiring of an architect is more cost effective than hiring an engineer. However, an architect is well-versed in a wide variety of building related issues and knows how to handle large projects without going over budget. He/She also is familiar with local building codes, and is familiar with all legal matters such as permits, zoning, and liability insurance that can affect a project such as a large scale renovation or building construction project. Therefore, when a contract is agreed upon, the construction manager and architect are well-informed of the finer details that must be addressed.
General contractors often hire just one or two subcontractors, which is where the overhead is significantly reduced. This means that the general contractor can handle larger projects faster and more efficiently. The construction manager should ensure that the subcontractors are experienced, qualified workers, capable of completing the work that is being contracted for on time and within the specifications set by the general contractor.
When interviewing prospective general contractors for your next construction project, ask questions about their past experience working in your field of expertise. Ask how many prime or first preference jobs they have completed in the area of your construction project. It’s a good idea to hire a company or individual that has already demonstrated past success. Hiring an experienced contractor that has worked on similar jobs in the past is one way that you can ensure that the job will be done right.