A construction project may have many different contractors working to help complete it on schedule. For example, there may already be an old building on the site, which means a demolition company might be called in to demolish it and remove all the old residue.
Then, before the foundation is poured, you would need excavators. Following that you might have crews to pour concrete, electrical contractors, steelworkers, window installers, elevator companies, and more.
The company that manages everything, takes bids, control costs, and keeps the client notified of building progress is the General Contractor. Rarely does a general contractor have all the resources, equipment, and manpower to complete a major construction project on their own, so all the specialized work is done by subcontractors.
One of the reasons that general contractors exist is to help with the pre-construction of the building site. A client can express what she or he wants, an architectural team can design the building, but when you are talking about so many skills involved in the building of a 60-story tower or a new hospital, somebody has to figure out how much drywall is needed, how much paint is needed, how large an HVAC system is needed, what standards of earthquake, hurricane, and tornado requirements are needed, where the fire exits need to be, etc.
For example, not counting land and excavation costs, a new shopping mall typically runs around $25 million dollars. A general contractor, by overseeing the project, can ensure that the number doesn’t quickly turn into $35 or $40 million.
As a consequence, general contractors are worth their salt to keep bidding low, but at the same time, to ensure the building is done with quality.
Another key function is securing all permits. There are numerous permits required for any major building, and if they aren’t secured ahead of time, a city construction inspector can shut down everything until they are secured.
The Construction Phase
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. A client knows he needs steelworkers, window installers, experts to install drywall, HVAC systems to be installed, and more. Most people knows that steelworkers aren’t needed until the foundation has been poured, and the lower part of the building is completed first.
So general contractors ensure that needed subcontractors show up in the right order to keep workers from being paid to sit all day watching a foundation being poured. So scheduling who needs to be on-site and at what sequence is the job of the general contractor.
Better Performance from Subcontractors
Subcontractors like to keep busy to remain profitable. They know that a general contractor can supply them with half a dozen jobs after this one is complete. Therefore, one of the effects of having a good general contractor is that subcontractors bend over backwards to see they get hired for other projects in the future.
This can sometimes mean cheaper bids, but even if the bid is not cheaper, the quality will often be better because it could mean more work in the future.
For all these reasons, a quality general contractor you can trust to see that your building plans come in on time, and on or below budget, can be invaluable. If you’re searching for the best general contractor in Austin for your construction project, check out our article on Finding the Best Commercial Contractor or call T. F. Harper & Associates LP, an Austin construction company, to find out how we can help.