You are about to start a new construction project and are considering acting as your own general contractor, thinking it will save you money, but is this the best choice? If you have a simple project that will only require the hiring of one or two subcontractors, it may work. However, for most projects hiring a general contractor is generally in your best interest.
While construction projects may seem simple and easily managed, there are a number of moving parts that require a great deal of planning and expertise to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget. Construction projects can bring many challenges and unforeseen circumstances, such as scheduling, weather concerns, subcontractor hiring, safety, quality, insurance, and inspections.
A failure to plan and lack of expertise are the major reasons construction projects are delayed and finish over budget. An experienced general contractor can oversee the construction process from early phases of design through completion.
Why Use a General Contractor?
Good general contractors have experience working with architects, engineers, and other design professionals. If brought into the project in its early stages, the general contractor can work with those design professionals to assist the owner in reviewing the plans for accuracy, determine what design elements will work, or not work, and how each design element will impact the budget. Additionally, general contractors have experience working with municipalities and can facilitate the plan approval and permitting process along with making sure all of the proper inspections are completed throughout the project.
A general contractor’s real value becomes evident once plans are approved and it is time to assemble all of the trades necessary to complete the project. Selecting and coordinating the team of subcontractors and material suppliers can be a difficult and daunting task. A good general contractor will have a network of subcontractors and material suppliers that it has previously worked with and knows will provide good, quality work at reasonable prices. Through a competitive bidding process and the use of its buying power, the general contractor can select the best subcontractors and suppliers to meet the budget.
Once trades are selected, the general contractor will issue subcontract agreements, obtain liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates, coordinate when each subcontractor will begin and end its portion of the work through careful scheduling, and manage the entire workflow of the project. Often times, the general contractor assumes the responsibility and liability from the homeowner and protects them from unpaid suppliers or from subcontractor labor disputes. Scheduling of trades can be complex and knowing what order to schedule each trade allows the project to complete in an efficient manner without incurring additional costs or lengthy delays.
A general contractor has industry knowledge and expertise in areas such as building codes, workmanship standards, labor and material costs, construction methods, and project management. A general contractor will advise on how things should be done and know what details to be on the lookout for and ensure everything is being completed according to plans, installed in the correct location, and functions properly.
Quality of Work
When you use a general contractor, the general contractor becomes responsible for the quality of the work and correcting issues that may arise. He will facilitate and enforce the warranties afforded by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and the manufacturers of the material and equipment components of the project. The owner can have peace of mind knowing that the general contractor will provide field supervision and validate that all work performed on their project is of the highest quality and meets all workmanship standards.