General contractor

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A general contractor, main contractor or prime contractor [1] is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and the communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project. [2]

Construction Process of the building or assembling of a building or infrastructure

Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction as an industry comprises six to nine percent of the gross domestic product of developed countries. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; it continues until the project is built and ready for use.

Contents

Description

A general contractor is a manager and possibly also a tradesman that is employed by a client, usually upon the advice of the project's architect or engineer. A general contractor is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. [3] A general contractor must first assess the project-specific documents (referred to as a bid, proposal, or tender documents). In the case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. Depending on the project delivery method, the contractor will submit a fixed price proposal or bid, cost-plus price or an estimate. The general contractor considers the cost of home office overhead, general conditions, materials, and equipment, as well as the cost of labor, to provide the owner with a price for the project.

Architect Person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

Engineer Professional practitioner of engineering and its sub classes

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations.

Contract documents may include drawings, project manuals (including general, supplementary, or special conditions and specifications),and addendum or modifications issued prior to proposal/ bidding ad prepared by a design professional, such as an architect. The general contractor may be the construction manager or construction manager at high risk.

Responsibilities

A general contractor is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. A general contractor often hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work. When using subcontractors, the general contractor is responsible for the quality of all work performed by any and all of the hires.

A subcontractor is an individual or in many cases a business that signs a contract to perform part or all of the obligations of another's contract.

The general contractor's number one priority is safety on the job site.

A general contractor's responsibilities may include applying for building permits, advising the person they are hired by, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing or recycling of construction waste, monitoring schedules and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records. [4]

UK and Commonwealth usage

In the United Kingdom and some British Commonwealth countries, the term 'general contractor' was gradually superseded by 'main contractor' during the early twentieth century. [5] This was the term used by major professional, trade, and consumer organizations when issuing contracts for construction work, and thus the term 'general contractor' fell out of use except in large organizations where the main contractor is the top manager and a general contractor shares responsibilities with professional contractors.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Commonwealth of Nations Intergovernmental organisation

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.

General contractors who conduct work for government agencies are often referred to as "prime contractors". This term is also used in contexts where the customer's immediate contractor is permitted to sub-contract or circumstances are likely to involve sub-contracting to specialist operators e.g. in various public services.

Licensing requirements

Licensing requirements to work legally on construction projects vary from locale to locale. In the United States, it is the states' responsibility to define these requirements: for example, in the state of California, the requirements are stated as follows:

With a few exceptions, all businesses or individuals who work on any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) if the total cost of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more.

In every state (that requires a license), a surety bond is required as part of the licensing process, with the exception of Louisiana, where bonding requirements may vary in different parishes. Not all states require General Contractor licenses - these include Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, among others.

Licensing qualifications

In the United States, there are no Federal licensing requirements to become a general contractor, although most states require general contractors to obtain a local license to operate. [5] Some general contractors obtain bachelor's degrees in construction science, building science, surveying, construction safety, or other disciplines.

General contractors often start out as construction workers. While gaining work experience, they learn about different aspects of construction, including masonry, carpentry, framing, and plumbing. Aspiring general contractors communicate with subcontractors and may learn the management skills they need to run their own company.

Experience in the construction industry as well as references from customers, business partners, or former employers are demanded. Some jurisdictions require candidates to provide proof of financing to own their own general contracting firm.

General contractors often run their own business. They hire subcontractors to complete specialized construction work and may manage a team of plumbers, electricians, masons, carpenters, iron workers, and other specialists. General contractors build their business by networking with potential clients, buying basic construction tools, and ensuring that their subcontractors complete high-quality work. General contractors don't usually complete much construction work themselves, but they need to be familiar with construction techniques so they can manage workers effectively. Other reasons include access to specialist skills, flexible hiring and firing, and lower costs.

General contractor example

A property owner or real estate developer develops a program of their needs and select a site (often with an architect). The architect assembles a design team of consulting engineers and other experts to design the building and specify the building systems. Today contractors frequently participate on the design team by providing pre-design services such as providing estimations of the budget and scheduling requirements to improve the economy of the project. In other cases, the general contractor is hired at the close of the design phase. The owner, architect, and general contractor work closely together to meet deadlines and budget. The general contractor works with subcontractors to ensure quality standards.

See also

Related Research Articles

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A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement and execution of a project, in any undertaking that has a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish; regardless of industry. Project managers are first point of contact for any issues or discrepancies arising from within the heads of various departments in an organization before the problem escalates to higher authorities.

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A mechanic's lien is a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property. The lien exists for both real property and personal property. In the realm of real property, it is called by various names, including, generically, construction lien. It is also called a materialman's lien or supplier's lien when referring to those supplying materials, a laborer's lien when referring to those supplying labor, and a design professional's lien when referring to architects or designers who contribute to a work of improvement. In the realm of personal property, it is also called an artisan's lien. The term "lien" comes from a French root, with a meaning similar to link; it is related to "liaison". Mechanic's liens on property in the United States date from the 18th century.

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The New Engineering Contract (NEC), or NEC Engineering and Construction Contract, is a formalised system created by the Institution of Civil Engineers that guides the drafting of documents on civil engineering and construction projects for the purpose of obtaining tenders, awarding and administering contracts. As such they legally define the responsibilities and duties of Employers and Contractors in the Works Information. The contract consists of two key parts the Contract Data part one and Contract Data part two. Several approaches are included making it a family of options. It is used in the UK and internationally in countries including New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa.

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References

  1. Davies, Nikolas, and Erkki Jokiniemi. Architect's illustrated pocket dictionary. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2011. 289. Print.
  2. Hendrickson, Chris. & Au, Tung (2000), The Design and Construction Process. Project Management for Construction: Fundamental Concepts for Owners, Engineers, Architects and Builders, chapter 3
  3. Shekhar, R. K.. Academic Dictionary of Architecture. Delhi: Isha Books, 2005. 69. Print.
  4. Allen, Edward, & Iano Joseph (2009). Fundamentals of Building Construction Materials and Methods. 5th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
  5. 1 2 "General Contractor - Responsibilities & Licensing". Construction Coverage. 2019-01-15. Retrieved 2019-02-19.