A general contractor, main contractor or prime contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and the communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project.
A general contractor is a manager and possibly also a tradesman that is employed by a client, usually upon the advice of the project's architect or engineer. A general contractor is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. A general contractor must first assess the project-specific documents (referred to as bid, proposal or tender documents). In the case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. Depending on the project delivery method, the contractor will submit a fixed price proposal or bid, cost plus price or an estimate. The general contractor considers the cost of home office overhead, general conditions, materials, and equipment, as well as the cost of labor, to provide the owner with a price for the project.
Contract documents may include drawings, project manuals (including general, supplementary, or special conditions and specifications),and addendum or modifications issued prior to proposal/ bidding ad prepared by a design professional, such as an architect. The general contractor may be the construction manager or construction manager at high risk.
A general contractor is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. A general contractor often hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work. When using subcontractors, the general contractor is responsible for the quality of all work performed by any and all of the hires.
The general contractor's number one priority is safety on the job site.
A general contractor's responsibilities may include applying for building permits, advising the person they are hired by, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing or recycling of construction waste, monitoring schedules and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records.