What Does a General Contractor Do?

Whether you’re planning a major renovation project or building a new home, it’s often necessary to bring in a general contractor. These professionals can make your vision come to life.

General Contractor

You’ll want to choose a contractor with practical experience and a solid track record. Fully licensed, they should also have a strong network and glowing references. To learn more, visit https://www.infinity-construct.com/.

Planning is the process of setting goals and defining actions required to achieve those goals. In construction, general contractors set and execute plans to complete a project on time and within budget. Traditionally, these professionals design the plan for a construction project and then bid on the opportunity to carry out that work. However, some general contractors use a more collaborative approach to project planning and are hired to do the work without having finalized designs in place.

Effective planning is economical: it eliminates guesswork, streamlines processes, and employs facilities to the best advantage. A good plan also provides a framework to monitor progress and identify issues.

Developing effective plans requires open communication and realistic expectations. Skilled general contractors communicate clearly with clients and set realistic scopes of work based on city regulations, tight spaces, and busy schedules. They are honest about potential challenges and provide timely solutions to maintain momentum.

Once a client has selected a contractor, the contractor will prepare a proposal, or estimate, for the work to be completed. The estimate will include the estimated costs of materials, labor, equipment, and other essentials to complete the project. This can vary significantly among contractors, so it is important to compare and evaluate each proposal carefully. In addition to evaluating estimates, it is crucial to consider whether the contractor holds a DOB or HIC license, and has adequate insurance coverage, such as general liability and workers’ compensation.


Construction schedules are a primary part of every construction project. Whether you use a Gantt chart, an Excel spreadsheet, or whiteboards and markers, these schedules help match the resources of equipment, materials and labor with work tasks over time. They also ensure that work tasks don’t interfere with each other. This way, you can avoid production bottlenecks and get the work done as soon as possible.

These schedules are compared to the actual accomplishments on a job site to determine if a project is progressing as expected. In the case of a delay, the GC may be held responsible for any cost associated with the delay.

It’s important to address change orders as quickly as possible in order to minimize the impact they have on a project’s budget and timeline. A general contractor should be able to clearly communicate why they believe the change is necessary and how it will impact their budget, then offer creative solutions to make up for the additional expense. This way, they’re able to balance the needs of the project with protecting their profit. They can also be a liaison between the project owner and subcontractors to make sure everyone is on the same page.


Overseeing the work of a general contractor involves budgeting and tracking project expenses. This includes labor, materials, and equipment rental. It also covers items like workers’ compensation and insurance. A good GC keeps these costs in line with the scope of work and communicates them to the client regularly.

This is an important part of a GC’s role, as it ensures that they are meeting their contract obligations and delivering on their promise to the client. It also allows them to keep an eye on any unforeseen expenses and potential risks. In addition, the GC can assess whether the project will be profitable and adjust accordingly.

However, it’s important for a GC to not let profit dictate the work that they perform. This is why they should be able to collaborate with the client on a realistic scope of work and be honest about potential challenges. They should also be able to help the client find solutions and create cost effective options that maintain the integrity of the project.

Lastly, it’s essential that a GC is able to accurately forecast and track project costs. This is especially important when there are multiple contractors working on the project. This will help them prevent issues with payments from becoming overdue or a delay in work due to unpaid invoices. Moreover, it will ensure that the project is on schedule and that everyone is happy.

Overseeing the Work

GCs supervise every aspect of the construction project from start to finish. They make sure all the work is completed in accordance with the project plan and coordinate all subcontractors. For example, a GC will assign plumbers and pipefitters to complete pipe system assembly and installation as specified in the site plan. They also communicate with design professionals and painters to relay important information on the progress of the project, as needed.

During construction, the GC monitors the site to prevent disruption and ensures that safety standards are being met. They also make sure that all construction activities are being conducted at a level of quality that will not only meet, but exceed the client’s expectations.

Large construction projects depend on the timely supply of building materials from vendors. GCs oversee vendor management processes, including sourcing, estimates, capacities, quality work, turnaround times, invoicing and timely payment.

On larger commercial and public projects, the GC is often considered a prime contractor (though some project delivery methods call for non-GCs to be the primary contractor). They can also assume the role of a construction manager or CM.

As a matter of procedure, GCs must obtain all necessary permits and stay within the coding requirements for the project. They are also responsible for securing property and arranging any necessary facilities, such as temporary ones, and managing generated waste on the construction site. To make this happen, GCs will work with the architect or project owner to establish the scope of work and request the required bids.

Managing Subcontractors

On construction projects of any size, it’s essential to have a team in place that can handle all aspects of financial management. A GC often oversees this team to keep all project costs within budget and manage adherence to timelines. Regular communication with subcontractors and an organized schedule are key tools to success here.

A GC must also make sure that a project’s workforce is safe and productive. This includes ensuring that all safety procedures are followed, which requires the GC to set the tone on the jobsite and lead by example. A GC also establishes policies and procedures to ensure that all workers are compensated for their work in a timely fashion.

The GC is also responsible for ensuring that all materials are of high quality, which is important for the long-term success of a project. Quality materials can save a lot on maintenance costs down the road.

Throughout the entire process, a GC must maintain good relationships with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is happy and the project meets its goals. This includes working with subcontractors to resolve issues, and managing communication between the GC and the owner, architect, engineers and construction managers. It’s also a good idea for a GC to be licensed, since that helps verify their credentials and eligibility to operate in the industry. This is especially important for property owners, as it protects them from unlicensed contractors that might pose a risk to their project.

Managing the Site

Construction projects involve many different moving parts, and a General Contractor’s job is to coordinate and dynamically respond to roadblocks as they arise in order to bring the project home on time and within budget. This includes working with the architect and design team to ensure that all construction takes place as outlined in the blueprint and designs, as well as overseeing the safety of all professionals, workers and materials on site.

When it comes to completing large-scale commercial and public construction projects, a GC often hires subcontractors to complete the labor-intensive work. They may also perform some or all of the work themselves on smaller-scale residential construction. Regardless of how they manage the labor force, a GC needs to make sure that everyone is properly licensed and follows local guidelines for insurance, taxes and safety.

Strategically selecting the right specialty contractors is another important aspect of a GC’s job. They can improve project quality, timelines and overall outcomes by identifying and partnering with specialists who possess expertise aligned with the project’s parameters and goals.

GCs also need to be able to estimate how much it will cost them to complete the work and then calculate what mark-up is necessary for them to turn a profit. They do this by evaluating the risk inherent in each project, as well as the costs of purchasing materials and paying company overhead.