What is a General Contractor?
A simple general definition for a contractor is someone who coordinates and supervises every aspect of a building or remodeling project. That includes securing the proper permits for the project and hiring, scheduling and overseeing the work of other subcontractors such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Their work goes well beyond managing the hands-on tasks, however. Licensed general contractors take responsibility for the entire worksite which means they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance. If a worker is injured on the job or your property accidentally damaged, the contractor handles the situation. In short, if something goes wrong, the general contractor is financially responsible for making it right.
Another responsibility of the general contractor is to make sure that all work is done in a way that doesn’t void any product warranties or guarantees. Qualified professionals must install siding, roofing, windows and major appliances in a particular way or the manufacturer may refuse to honor their guarantee. This can become troublesome if you have do product issues down the line.
Finally, the general contractor is also responsible for securing the workspace and supplies. They handle major projects such as cleaning up and disposing of all trash and debris—and minor but key details such as ensuring workers wear protective foot coverings or lay down floor covering to safeguard your new floors. The last thing you want is to have your beautiful new flooring damaged!
Do you need to hire a General Contractor?
If you are not familiar with how the construction process goes, then handling a large remodel as a DIYer would not be a good idea. It is possible that a homeowner can general contract their own project. However, we’ve seen time and time again homeowners who bit off more than they could chew. We recommend hiring a reputable contractor to manage any major project, such as a new build or major remodel.
Can you be your own General Contractor?
There are some things you need to think about when deciding if you should hire a GC or do it yourself. A big one is how much time do you have to dedicate to the project? If you and your spouse work full time jobs, have kids with extracurricular activities, or want your own time to relax, it will be very difficult to have a project that is completed in your desired timeframe. Even if your project is successful, it will likely bring a lot of stress from trying to manage and schedule subcontractors. On the otherhand, if you’re retired, have no kids in the house, etc., you’ll likely have more time that you’d be able to dedicate to your project, increasing the likelihood of success and decreasing the amount of overall stress.