Choosing a General Contractor
The term “general contractor” can mean many different things. It could be called a prime contractor or the main contractor, and is the person responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the construction site. They coordinate vendors and trades on a project and communicate with all parties involved. The following are a few important considerations when choosing a general contractor. These contractors should be able to meet your specific needs and expectations. This will help you get a high-quality building that meets your budget and timeline.
Experience. Many general contractors are also experienced carpenters or skilled tradesmen who are highly capable of translating a client’s vision into reality. In addition to knowledge of the field, general contractors need extensive experience with construction to ensure the success of the project. The ability to read blueprints is vital in translating the vision into a reality. However, you’ll want to check with the city or state that requires licenses for contractors before hiring one.
Payment. Most GCs outline a payment schedule based on the scope of the work. Some of them require a down payment to begin, and the remainder is due upon delivery. Large projects may require multiple payments, and final payment is made once the work is complete. Payments upfront may be risky if you’re not familiar with the nuances of this process. However, the right general contractor can help alleviate any project-related headaches.
Design. A general contractor will coordinate the project to meet your goals, budget, and timeline. They will also coordinate with other contractors and subcontractors to make sure the project is completed according to the highest standards. While the overall responsibility of the project lies with the general contractor, sometimes the owner will remain involved throughout the process. The general contractor will coordinate the project with other team members, which includes architects and engineers. If the plans are approved by the city, the contractor will begin construction.
Safety. A general contractor will work to ensure the safety of everyone on the construction site. In the case of a large commercial project, a general contractor typically oversees the work of several different subcontractors. In addition to overseeing the work of subcontractors, a general contractor is also the person that will hold them accountable if something goes wrong. Most general contractors work in offices and report regularly to the construction site. However, if you’re hiring a general contractor to handle your project, ensure that everyone is familiar with the terms and expectations of the project.
To become a general contractor, you’ll need to obtain a license in your state. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but they are generally similar. In Louisiana, you need a license for all projects above $500, despite the fact that some parishes have their own licensing requirements. The state’s Contractors State License Board regulates licensing and sets the requirements for contractors. Further, there are some exceptions that may apply.