General contractors – complete guide to hiring one


general contractors guide2

Housing is easy with general contractors

Right around mid 20’s if every person life you get a feeling that you need to settle down. That is absolutely normal feeling that every person goes through. You might still be living in your parents’ house, renting a place or staying in college dorm – anyway, you must admit you dreamed about having your own place.  

Maybe your situation is way different. Maybe you already found your lovely pair, you have job, you settled down; but in the end of the day you both fancy about you own house. Dream house where everyone will have its own room, a study, a fireplace, a pool, and sooner than later a kid’s room.

Now, right off the start, we must warn you that building a house is not an easy nor cheap task. You might want to reconsider and talk with your lawyer as well as bank consultant about getting right mortgage or loan plan. Once you have both financial and legal issues off the way it’s time to find yourself a general contractor. 

General contractors directives 

In order to avoid falling into the trap of online and fake general contractors’ scams, you need to learn more about what general contractors do, the way they operate, guidelines of hiring one, the initial cost, the general availability, how to work with one and couple of more directives. Learning all of this might just save you headache and thousands of dollars down the road. Since we, at StaceyCohenInteriors.com have first line general knowledge on working with general contractors, we decided to conduct this small but valuable guide that will help you out. We also covered topic like: hiring a general contractor . We also cover anyone who just want to learn more about how prime contractors work.

General contractors by definition 

So, once you decided to step into the world of house building, have a budget and legal stuff planned out, the next stop is to consult with architect and engineers. They will conduct your dream project into architectural plan that you will handle to your general contractor. Nowadays, it is common practice that you find yourself a general contractor first, and that he/she is involved into developing a plan with architects. However, this isn’t standard procedure so you can’t insist on this. On the other hand, general contractors often offer this type of service for extra pay. 

Once you have architectural plan and follow-up schemes ready, it is time to find yourself a general contractor. By definition, the general contractor is person that is responsible for managing and trading aspect of your project. This involves bigger picture. General contractor is responsible for coordinating the whole project.  

Project-specified documents and proposals 

Since you are aware of basic definition of what main contractor is let’s move on. His first responsibility is to handle you a something called project-specified documents. This involves various types of documents like bids, estimated cost of everything, general project coordination plan, tender documents etc.  

Why is reviewing general contractors plans important and can you skip this part? 

We ought you not to do this. People get really tired and bored at this part because of the legal and financial stuff they had to take care of and tend to skip and look-over this part. Please don’t be that person since this is crucial part for you. Imagine a case where you leave a proposals and bids to a one person without supervising them? Not so wonderful idea, isn’t it? So, go through all estimated prices, bids and proposals with your general contractor. The general directives that general contractor should have provided you at this point are: 

-bids, proposals and tenders (this include prices and all follow-up information’s) 

  • -a so called “cost-plus” price or an estimate of what whole project might cost 
  • -cost of general materials, labor, equipment etc. 
  • -all of the drawings 
  • -project manuals (supplementary, specifications and general manuals) 
  • -the risk assessment and addendum 

What are the general contractors responsibilities? 

There are some responsibilities of general contractors that you won’t in any online guides apart from this one. First thing first is that you want your general contractor to be nice, well-educated person that will guide your through the whole process of construction. Well behaved, professional manner is something of upmost importance. No, you don’t need that person to be extra friendly and all but it really won’t do any harm if he is decent person. After all, you are the one paying and the one who’s head is full of worries and uncertainties and he must be a professional who will understand that. 

Apart from that, his main responsibilities are to provide all of the material and equipment to construction site. This also includes labors and necessary vehicles and tool required for whole project to run smoothly. Now this is the part that we do advise you not to get too involved into. If you are not a construction worker, engineer or some type of constructor yourself, please be decent and kind to your contractor since he is the one that knows the better. This doesn’t mean that you should elide every of your concerns out. 

Besides mentioned responsibilities, the general contractor’s responsibilities also include applying for all the permits, securing the construction site in general, providing temporary utilities, talking with personnel, waste disposal, managing cash outflow, keeping the records straight as well as keeping workers safe and sound. 

Subcontractors – a necessity or luxury? 

More than often a general constructor will hire a subcontractor to help him out with his work. This is done for number or reasons. Main reasons because your general constructor decided on this step is because he is overwhelmed with whole project and he just wants a help. This might end up costing you more in the end but you should never refuse such a proposal – it only means that general constructor you hired is taking good care of your project. What and how subcontractor(s) do their work is also none of your concerns. If you have something to ask about their work, go to the main constructor directly. To answer this subtopic question – the subcontractors are most definitely a necessity. 

General contractors qualifications 

This is also interesting topic that you should pay attention to since you don’t want some buffoon working on your project and wasting your fortune.  Now, depending on where you are from, requirements and proper licensing might change but generalities still remain the same. Anyway, you want everything to be done legally and safe.  

For example, in the USA, there is no specific Federal license required for person to become a general contractor. However, you will need a bachelor’s degree as well as local license to perform this type of work. There are few exceptions in some of the USA states but this article isn’t about that. 

How can you test general contractors experience? 

This step is fairly simple but it will require you to be cunning a bit. Ask them out about their pervious projects and their diplomas. Ask follow-up question and look at their reactions. Always be sure to run small background check on general contractor of your choice too. Ask around and talk with pervious clients to make sure you end up with great quality general contractor hired.