General Contractors in Fort McMurray: Choosing Your Best Pick

If you have had even the smallest engagement with a construction project, the chances are that you’ve come across the term ‘general contractor.’ However, although the name sounds generic and appears easy to understand, not many people can accurately describe the importance and job responsibilities of a general contractor. In this article, we try to explain what there is to know about these people called general contractors.

General Contracting 101

The term general contractor is used to refer to any company or individual that’s capable of taking the full course of a construction project. A general contractor works in residential and commercial construction, overseeing projects from skyscrapers to even single-family homes in highly populated urban areas.

For a person to be employed as a general contractor, either as part of a more prominent construction company or as an individual, there is technically no requirement for education. However, most companies that want to hire general contractors often prefer individuals who have both experience and knowledge. Typical educational qualification is a bachelor’s or an associate degree in construction, although other degrees may be considered as well.

All the 50 states in the US do require that general contractors sit for a written exam on construction laws and practices before they can be issued with a license that enables them to operate in a specific area. In some instances, contractors are even required to establish financial backing to run a business, network with professionals and present letters of recommendation from past clients before they can be granted a license.

What is the Role of a General Contractor?

One of the sticky issues of questions that surround a general contractor has to do with their job responsibilities. Not many people understand the exact functions of a general contractor. The most straightforward and most straightforward answer is that a general contractor does all jobs, but that’s hardly the truth. On the contrary, a general contractor has different responsibilities which vary from company to company and from job to job.

Generally speaking, the first job of a general contractor is to seek out work and put proposals or estimates on relevant projects which match the company’s/his qualifications and capabilities. The general contractor is tasked with approximating the cost of materials, adding up costs of labor and factoring in extra costs associated with working with subcontractors. General contractors must complete all these tasks before submitting a construction proposal.

Assuming that the contractor’s proposal is accepted for the project, this is the time to start thinking of plans for subcontracting work like electrical, plumbing and other specialist crafts that could fall outside general contractor’s abilities.

After this has been done, a general contractor, like the guys at IPC Reno often takes the role of oversight. They will guide employee and company performance, ensuring that progress benchmarks are in place. It’s also the responsibility of the general contractor to coordinate with other subcontractors and make sure they arrive and leave construction site on time.

How to Choose a Reliable General Contractor

Because a general contractor typically has their hands on all matters of a construction project, the most critical decision that you will have to make is choosing a reliable and experienced contractor.

A carefree or inexperienced general contractor could adversely affect the whole construction project, leading to delays in completion and cost overruns. So how do you go about choosing a reliable general contractor?

Firstly, you need to look out for a contractor with a substantial presence in your locale. If the company can’t give you physical address of their offices, treat this as a warning sign. The next thing you want to know is to find out how vastly experienced the contractor is. Make sure that the contractor has previously completed a project like yours. If they have, how did it go? Ask the contractor to furnish you with at least two referrals from previous projects and make sure you call them to see how their experience with this contractor was.

Before you consider the proposal or the estimates of any contractor, ensure that they have given you a detailed and written estimate for the project.

Lastly, take advantage of the Internet. Go to BBB website and even your local state Department of Consumer Affairs. The best way to avoid a situation where you sign a contract with a contractor with a dubious past is through research.