Why You Need a General Contractor

Whether you’re planning a home improvement project, constructing a commercial building or designing a new space, it takes more than just painters and plumbers to make the project work. You need General Contractor Lexington KY.

General Contractor

GCs are responsible for turning construction visions into reality and managing virtually all aspects of renovation projects. Here are some of the major tasks they take on:

Managing costs is one of the most important aspects of general contractor operations. Cost control strategies help ensure that projects stay on schedule and within budget while fostering project profitability. Cost control techniques include accurate estimating, monitoring expenditures, evaluating cost variances, identifying opportunities for cost savings, and implementing preventative measures to avoid future problems.

A key tool in controlling construction costs is the original detailed cost estimate, which serves as a baseline against which actual expenses are compared throughout the project. To facilitate comparison, the original estimates are converted into what is called a job cost structure. Specific items from the estimate are referred to as work elements. Expenses recorded during the construction process are then categorized by work element, and these job cost accounts are then used to compare with the original estimates.

As the construction project progresses, regular financial reports are produced for the primary contractor and/or project lead to indicate the current status of the project and any discrepancies with the budget. These reports are used to identify and analyze the cause of the variances.

Increased costs can arise from many different reasons, including scope changes, design modifications, and unexpected circumstances. Effective cost management requires a robust change management process that carefully documents any scope or schedule impacts and evaluates the potential impact of each requested change before approving it.

During the pre-construction phase, the GC will develop a thorough cost estimate of all components needed for the construction project. This includes material, labor, equipment, and overhead costs. The cost estimate will also include the cost of other unforeseen expenses, such as utility relocation and environmental cleanup. A thorough, accurate estimate helps the GC and owner agree on a contract that is fair for both parties.

Real estate developers must be careful in the contracts they negotiate with a GC, and consider the type of fee structure they prefer. There are various types of fees that a GC can offer, including time & materials, fixed fee, and cost plus percentage. Each structure has pros and cons and impacts the GC’s incentive to be cost-conscious.

Managing Subcontractors

While GCs manage the overall project, they often rely on subcontractors to execute specialized scopes of work. Subcontractors’ performance ripples through the entire project, impacting quality, timelines and costs. Choosing the right subcontractors is critical, which is why GCs commonly curate lists of pre-qualified specialty contractors to choose from during the bidding process. GCs also evaluate potential project partners through detailed prequalification criteria such as safety ratings, previous experience and references.

Effective project management requires open communication with subcontractors. Keeping subcontractors informed about progress helps them meet deadlines, reducing delays and maintaining momentum. GCs can further enhance this collaboration by incorporating collaborative planning techniques such as pull scheduling, which engages all stakeholders and trade partners in the project schedule and planning process. Fostering this partnership enables GCs to gain valuable onsite and specialty trade feedback, resulting in more comprehensive and realistic project plans.

Managing subcontractors also helps GCs control project budgets. To minimize scope gaps and cost overruns, GCs examine subcontractor bids with an eagle eye to ensure that they’re competitively priced and aligned with project requirements. GCs can further bolster this effort by developing comprehensive contracts that clearly delineate project deliverables, scope, timelines and payment terms.

Another important aspect of managing subcontractors is ensuring the quality of workmanship and materials. GCs make this happen by resolving any disputes and ensuring that all parties follow established site protocols. This includes securing all requisite permits and approvals, as well as ensuring that all work is performed in accordance with local building codes.

It’s also the GC’s job to maintain constant contact with subcontractors, communicating updates and resolving any issues that arise. Moreover, the GC is responsible for overseeing the movement of both people and materials across the construction site, which entails complex logistics. Managing these activities requires the use of effective management software that can facilitate communications and track progress in real-time, facilitating efficient coordination and minimizing errors. This type of software can also help GCs stay on top of safety protocol by providing real-time visibility into who’s attended training sessions, toolbox talks and completed equipment checklists.

Managing the Construction Site

The general contractor takes the design concept that a project team creates and makes it a reality. As such, they’re much more hands-on than construction managers are and have far more financial stakes in the project outcomes. This means that they’re in charge of scheduling, managing subcontractors, and managing payments.

The first thing a general contractor does is establish the construction project budget. Then, they’re responsible for tracking the progress of each phase and handling any issues that arise during construction. This requires a lot of attention to detail.

They also create the schedule and then make sure everyone stays on track with it. That includes subcontractors and other construction staff. In addition, the GC is responsible for purchasing all materials and ensuring that they’re delivered on time. They’re also responsible for scheduling inspections and ensuring that all work is up to code.

Choosing the right subcontractors is another part of their job that can have a major impact on the success of the project. They usually compile a roster of pre-qualified specialty contractors that the project manager can choose from. During the screening process, they look at the experience, safety rating, references and financial stability of each candidate.

In order to create accurate cost estimates for the project, a general contractor needs to perform quantity and material takeoffs, analyze billing data, consider office space expenses, labor costs, insurance expense, equipment rental, worker’s compensation, supplies and travel costs, and more. Moreover, they need to create project proposals that clearly explain the scope of work and how it will be performed in an efficient and cost-effective way.

GCs also help the project team select the best equipment and materials to use for each phase of the construction project. They can even recommend new technologies for the clients if they have extensive industry knowledge and experience.

The GC is also in charge of creating the construction site plan and ensuring that all phases of the project are completed. They do this by checking in with the project manager regularly to ensure that the plan is on track and to handle any issues as they arise.

Managing the Project

Whether they are managing construction on site or working with a team of project managers and superintendents, GCs are experienced in coordinating tasks throughout a construction project. Their intricate knowledge of the projects critical path allows them to keep the project on schedule and to react quickly to any challenges that may impact its completion.

The GC collaborates with the architectural and engineering teams to assess the constructability of a project design and begins to make preliminary arrangements to secure any essential permits or regulatory approvals. He also develops a cost estimate of the project and shapes a procurement strategy. He evaluates potential subcontractor partners and engages in contract negotiations. He may use a combination of selective bidding or open bidding to select contractors for the job, depending on project delivery method and project objectives.

A GC also understands the labor issues associated with various project types. He knows the type of craft workers required for each project and can work to find specialty contractors who have the skills and experience needed. He has a relationship with these companies that can inspire loyalty and cooperation. In some cases, these craftsmen are affiliated with labor unions, which means that the GC can utilize trade contracts and benefits that the union provides to help keep the costs of a project in control.

During construction, the GC coordinates all tasks and performs quality inspections of each subcontractors’ work to ensure that the project is proceeding according to specifications. He also monitors progress against the project schedule and budget, addressing any deviations in order to meet the required milestones. In addition, the GC works with the architect to resolve any conflicts or problems that arise during construction.