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What’s a General Contractor?

If you have a home improvement project on the horizon, then there’s a good chance you’ll need to hire a contractor—or a few. This is because for each home improvement project, there are usually a few different elements that require different specialties. For example, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, you may need to hire a counter guy, a plumber, and a painter. But isn’t there some kind of all-in-one contractor who can tackle it all so you only have to vet and hire one contractor? You’re probably thinking about a general contractor (GC). Let’s discuss what a general contractor is and their role during home improvement projects. 

General contractors are responsible for managing virtually all aspects of renovation projects. One of the large tasks that a general contractor is responsible for is sourcing and coordinating subcontractors, who are typically specialists in specific fields of construction and building (like painting, landscaping, or plumbing). But there’s so much more that they do. 

A general contractor’s duties include:

  • Getting the proper permits to ensure that all work complies with local laws and regulations
  • Providing the necessary materials, equipment, and labor for projects
  • Estimating costs, controlling project expenses, and managing timelines
  • Hiring and overseeing the work of subcontractors with specialized skills
  • Monitoring conditions and practices on the worksite to keep everyone safe
  • Maintaining worker’s comp and liability insurance
  • Keeping the work site secure at all times and organizing the removal of trash and debris
  • Ensuring that necessary inspections are completed<

Not only do GCs have a lot to do but they also have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. In fact, they assume responsibility for just about anything that might go wrong on a project. Everything from noncompliance with building codes to property damages and worker injuries. Simply put, if something goes south, it’s the GC’s job to resolve it.

Both by managing projects and handling any issues that arise, general contractors save time and stress for homeowners—and also for real estate agents who are helping their clients prepare their homes to sell.

Beyond their job duties as a project manager, what can general contractors do? GCs can provide services for a variety of project types. Let’s take a look at some.

What does a general contractor do?

Among other construction and building projects, general contractors (with the help of their network of subcontractors) can: 

  • Repair or install flooring
  • Repair a home’s foundation, electrical, plumbing, etc. 
  • Remodel bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms
  • Take care of room additions or change the layout of your home
  • Repave driveways and walkways
  • Repair damage from pests and water
  • Install fencing
  • Add or repair decks and patios
  • Repair or replace roofing

It’s worth noting that many of these tasks go beyond what your friendly, neighborhood handyman would be able to help with. But how do you know which projects warrant a general contractor?

When to hire a general contractor

GCs are equipped to help with complex projects that require several contractors with specific skill sets. They make sure that the appropriate subcontractors are brought onto your project at the right time and perform the work properly to adhere to safety and quality standards.

So, for example, let’s say that you wanted to knock down a wall to create a large, luxurious master suite. That would be a job for a general contractor since it usually requires a permit and several subcontractors to complete. 

Generally speaking, the more complex the project, the more you’ll want to consider hiring a general contractor for safety and peace-of-mind. Next learn about how Curbio differs from a GC