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What Is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is the one responsible in the management of a construction project. Main contractor or principal contractor is also referred to as the supervisor in charge of supervising the work and managing the whole project from the preliminary planning stages to the completion of the project. This includes coordinating with all other contractors and subcontractors, having the authority to decide when the work is completed, making sure that all required permits are complied with, having the authority to set the project up for reentry into the public domain and so on. The responsibility of the general contractor or principal contractor depends largely on the size and scope of the project, the type of materials used and even the land that is being used for construction purposes.

The typical duties of a general contractor are as outlined in the contracts that are usually prepared and drawn up by the architects, engineers and contractors. Contractors are hired for different projects depending on the size of the project. For instance, for houses, major construction work like roofing, bathroom remodeling, kitchen renovation and others will be done by general contractors while smaller projects like office renovations will be done by specialists. The contractor hired for any construction job is primarily concerned about the quality of work being done and his reputation in the industry.

A general contractor holds a license, which he acquired either during his educational years or after years of experience in his profession. Most licenses required by local and state governments are obtained from the Professional Engineers Organization (PEO). The International Code Council (ICC) also provides licensing for general contractors.

There are many different aspects of the job that a general contractor can perform. In terms of the residential construction projects, these would include everything from home renovations like kitchen renovation to the construction of new homes. General contractors have the authority to handle the entire project from planning to completion including oversee the site preparation through all the phases of the project including designs, materials and even the hiring of subcontractors. In most instances, they would handle all aspects of the project including the hiring of workers, material suppliers, contracting and subcontractors and supervising the work. They would also manage the budget of the project and ensure that all the goals and deadlines are met.

The term ‘general contractor’ is sometimes used as an individual but it can also be applied to companies or individuals who hold the license for specific services. Some of the companies involved in the construction industry may be engaged in multiple projects at the same time. This means that a company which may be responsible for several projects at a given time may be a general contractor. Companies may be categorized as general contractors when they have more than one project to complete as part of their responsibilities. In such cases, the contractor would be responsible for managing all projects under the umbrella of one company.

General contractors are highly qualified professionals who hold both general and contracting licenses. They are responsible for managing the overall construction process. They are able to bring about the best results while adhering to the strict regulations set by the various state bodies. In order to become a general contractor, you need to undergo training and then pass several examinations. The number of licenses holds a great significance in the industry as only licensed contractors can work without any interference from government authorities. To work as a general contractor requires you to be qualified with several years of training, work experience and of course, the license.

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