If you’ve never been involved with building a home or any kind of large structure, you may not have any idea what a general contractor does. You see construction people in hard hats and vests around things being built, and they kind of all look the same: people working. But general contractors have a very specific set of skills and they are critical to the success of a building project.
A general contractor is the overall person in charge of a building site. An architect creates the building plans (and despite old Cary Grant movies, very few architects spend time on the building site), but the general contractor brings it all to life.
If you want to build a big structure—home, office—you need someone to take the plans and estimate the costs based on current prices, then assemble the subs and make it all happen. That is your general contractor.
The general usually has a team of great subcontractors who pour the foundations, frame the walls, run the electrical wiring, set up the plumbing, install the windows and doors, put weather barriers up, install insulation, pound in the sheetrock, install the flooring, build a roof, do the finish carpentry, build cabinets, paint the walls…and all the other stuff that goes into a soundly built edifice.
Most people don’t even think about all the components of a home. They see walls and floors, paint and windows and cabinetry. They don’t know about stick frame versus trusses, and they shouldn’t have to. That is the general’s job.
Without the right general contractor, you don’t get the right subcontractors. With subpar work, you have a drafty home or one where the paint is uneven or the driveway starts spalling within a year.
Find the right general for the best work.