General Contractors:
Bringing Your Plan To Life
The general contractor (GC, for short), also known as a construction manager, not only oversees the construction, improvement, or renovation project from development to completion, but is also the communication hub between the homeowner, design professional, the subcontractors (if any), and including but not limited to building officials, for getting that very necessary building permit. The GC's main goal is to get your home built or renovated according to the approved permit drawings without sacrificing quality or safety.

Secondary, is his effort to bring the project to completion both on budget and on time. This is a tremendous responsibility for the GC to take on and requires great attention to supervising the crew and responding to work delays and emergencies, all while balancing liability issues and complying with legal requirements and other enforced government and OSHA regulations.
A General Contractor's Responsibilities
  • Prepares cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Reports work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborates with the residential design professional and other construction specialists
  • Gathers and evaluates bids from sub-contractors and specialty contractors, and sometimes artisans, in a timely fashion
  • Keeps track of and makes available needed building materials and tools for the job and rents equipment if required
  • Chooses or helps homeowner choose finishing materials
  • Inspects work on-site and handles questions of issues that come up so work is not stalled
  • Arranges for permits and inspections
Do I Need a General Contractor and When Do I Hire One?
Well, those are good questions. Are you building a new home or remodeling an existing one? Perhaps, a remodeling contractor is what you need for the size and scope of your remodel or room addition. Maybe you're thinking you could do it yourself with a bit of guidance. Before making a final decision, however, take a look at what's involved with respect to time, money, and peace of mind with doing it on your own versus a seasoned professional. If you decide not to do the physical work but wish to oversee the project or just speak the lingo, check out this construction Glossary for Home Building.

If you'd like to search for contractors but aren't sure when to do that, the best time is after you've gotten your design drawings finalized. You can use those drawings to get construction estimates from contractors while interviewing them for the job. The best time to hire one is after soliciting firm bids using the required set of signed and sealed permit drawings.
What to Look For In a General Contractor
QUALITIES: Analytical Skills - to plan a project strategy, handle expected issues, and solve problems along the way
Business Skills - to address budget matters and to select competent crew members and support staff
Decision-Making Skills - when choosing subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs to meet deadlines and budgets
Communication Skills - since they're in constant contact with various people related to the project
Customer Service Skills - to listen to the needs and desires of clients and be sure they're up-to-date and involved
Leadership Skills - to effectively delegate tasks while establishing good working relationships with the crew

ACADEMICS: Education, training, work experience, licenses, certifications, and registrations differ from state to state, as well as within each city and county. State of Florida contractors (general, building or residential) must be certified first with the state and then registered within certain cities or counties where they hold a certificate of competency.
What are The Best Resources for Finding a General Contractor?
So, now that you know you need a contractor, when to hire one, and how to conduct the interview, here's how to find a great general contractor for your home building or remodeling project. First, it's one-part due diligence by researching and one-part gut instinct by closely listening to the answers to the questions you ask. To help you with this next step, here are four places to get started:

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