A general contractor is someone you hire when you are looking for any residential or commercial renovation or construction project. They will be overseeing the entire project from pre-construction to completion. What that means in detail and what is expected of you is all explained in this guide.
Duties of a General Contractor
On a small job, such as a roof replacement, the general contractor may be direct contact with a small team of people they have hired or who work for them regularly at their company. At Home Care Contractors, we handle these sorts of jobs. Our general contractors work directly with a few of the skilled tradespeople, vet them, ensure they have the proper licenses and certifications needed to do the work and are with them on the job site.
A larger job, however, will require more specialized workers such as plumbers, commercial and residential painters, electricians, and skilled tradesmen in welding and other specialized fields. So the general contractor will use their connections from their years in the industry to hire other contractors they know, but sometimes the contractors they hire are in charge of hiring their own subcontractors. You want to work with a general contractor who won’t be outsourcing work to too many people they have not personally vetted or can vouch for. Instead, hiring within a company that has their own contractors is a more secure way to ensure the work will be done by experienced professionals.
The most common construction accidents that lead to death on construction sites are electrocution, getting caught in/between tight spaces, falling, and being struck by an object. In fact, out of the 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry in 2017, 971 of them, or 20 percent, occurred on construction sites.
The main person who is responsible for preventing tragic incidents is the general contractor. By law, they have to abide by the standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prevent electrocution, death, dismemberment, and other serious injuries.
The second greatest cause for these deaths was poor communication, cited after failure to provide proper fall protection. Other lackings and failures included:
- Insufficient eye and face protection
- Insufficient respiratory protection
- Improper checking of scaffolding, ladders, and other structures workers are expected to climb on
Weather Conditions in Bellevue Affecting Buildings
With harsh winters and heavy snows come many types of problems. So if you’re looking to do work, then you want a contractor who knows the Bellevue area well. Not only does that give them an advantage in knowing local ordinances that dictate how to abide by construction codes, but it also means that they know what common issues buildings in the area face, and what solutions to put in place as preventative measures. For example, it snows a lot in Bellevue. This snow can lead to three typical and bad results: the weight of snow can cause a roof to collapse, or it can cause a tree branch or powerlines to collapse onto your house and finally, snow that leaks into your house through cracks in the roof will lead to mold problems later on. Keeping all of these things in mind and using only the best products for the northwestern weather,
How To Find A Great General Contractor
A general contractor doesn’t have to be able to tell good jokes or know how to charm a room, but they need to have some people skills. After all, you don’t want workers on your property’s construction site that are brewing animosity toward the general contractor. Work gets sloppy that way. A general contractorship is a leadership position, and the GC sets the tone for the entire project. So what kinds of questions should you ask yourself and the general contractors you are hiring? No list is perfect, but here are some to start:
- How do they respond to you when you have a question, especially one that may come off as ignorant? A condescending tone in front of the client means that it will definitely come out in front of the workers. A general contractor who can answer your questions with detailed answers is someone who wants to earn your trust.
- Have they been recommended by anyone? Your architect and engineer may have some general contractors in mind that they’ve worked for.
- What kinds of projects have they managed in the past? Were they the same in scope as yours, or will this be their first time?
There are numerous skills a general contractor must possess. Among these include:
- Project management and development
- Site planning
- Construction methods and materials
- Budgeting and accounting
- Have an understanding of inspection procedures
- Understand and know all building codes and laws
- Be able to follow safety procedures dictated by OSHA and other laws
- An understanding of basic architecture and engineering
What Does a General Contractor Need From You
So now you’ve chosen a general contractor, but what are you responsible for as the property owner? This is a great question to think about so there are no surprises, and that you have reasonable expectations going into the project. One of the most important points to remember is that this is a business transaction as much as it is a work of love and passion for both parties. But even the most loyal tradesman to any craft will expect payment for their expert services on-time and without sudden changes to the payment schedule. Agree on a schedule that you know you will be able to keep so you do not forget, and be clear on where they are to be delivered to. Lastly, you will want to be clear about your design and desires. You don’t want to change your mind later if you decide you don’t like something. Take the time to gather pictures and to look at various options before adding to your costs and time by needing to redo work.