So What Does a General Contractor Do, Anyway?

Until you need one, most people aren’t really aware of the role a general contractor plays in a construction project, such as building an addition on your home or rehabbing a bathroom or kitchen.

Unlike a specialized contractor — such as a plumber or electrician — a general contractor oversees the entire construction project. They are the go-to person for your project, answering questions and keeping you informed about every aspect of the project.

Roles Played by a General Contractor

A general contractor may wear a hard hat on the job site, but he or she actually wears many different hats when it comes to your project.

They serve as construction foreman, keeping workers focused on individual tasks and directing the operation so that it can be concluded on time and within the budget. They also act as a mediator, negotiating on your behalf with inspectors, architects, neighbors and municipalities.

Another role the general contractor plays is financial adviser, offering you advice on ways to save money or warning you against taking shortcuts that will end up costing you more in the long run. Your general contractor may even be able to help you with securing the financing for your project if you aren’t planning on paying for it out of pocket.

Translator, Advocate, Realist

The general contractor on your home construction project also serves as a translator, putting technical terms used by architects, carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and cabinetmakers into plain English that you can understand so you can make the right choices.

He’s also an advocate working on your behalf and protecting you against being ripped off or taken advantage of by unscrupulous sub-contractors.

Finally, your general contractor is a realist, giving it to you straight when your expectations are unrealistic and breaking the bad news to you when something doesn’t go exactly as planned.

In the end, all of these roles played by your general contractor help you get the best results from your home construction project.

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