The Importance of General Contractors

Many different kinds of contractors can be hired for home improvement projects. For example, you might need to hire a counter guy, a plumber, and a painter. General Contractors Lexington KY can make remodeling your home run more smoothly. They are hands-on with the project and take a big stake in the outcome’s success.


A general contractor is the person who manages the construction project from start to finish. They oversee the day-to-day activities at the job site. They are responsible for managing various tasks, from scheduling and coordinating with subcontractors to providing oversight and approvals of work on-site.

They are also responsible for ensuring that the project is on budget and schedule and keeping the architect informed of any changes in scope or cost that may arise. They also ensure the project is built according to city specs and other relevant codes and standards.

GCs often utilize a mix of laborers and carpenters who complete some of the work, then contract out specialty workers to finish the remaining 80-90% of the project. This helps them control costs and maintain quality but can also create some issues. For example, a contracted tradesperson may need more experience to complete certain tasks. This can lead to delays and rework.

Large construction projects require a significant amount of materials and building components. As a result, the movement of these items must be coordinated properly to ensure that the right people have the tools they need when needed. GCs have a team of professionals skilled in vendor management and can handle the intricacies of sourcing, obtaining estimates, capacity planning, quality work, turnaround times, invoicing, and payments.

One of the most important functions of a GC is to serve as a liaison between the project owner and all the contractors involved in the project. This crucial role can help prevent disputes that could derail the project or lead to expensive legal costs. GCs have relationships with various vendors and can negotiate prices for materials and services to ensure the project stays on budget.

Another part of a GC’s duties is ensuring that all contractors are paid on time. This can be complicated in the construction industry, as a GC has to be sure that all required paperwork is filled out correctly, that lien waivers are properly obtained and fulfilled, and that other requirements are met for payment to flow down the chain.

A GC relies on subcontractors for the specialized labor and expertise required to bring construction projects across the finish line. Subs are the linchpin of any project, and their relationships with a GC can make or break a remodeler’s business. Understanding and negotiating contracts is essential for subs to be successful in their jobs. Having strong contract negotiating skills puts them in the best position to ensure the work is completed on time and within budget, as well as ensuring they get paid for their services.

When a GC negotiates with subcontractors, the focus is on establishing common agreement terms such as the scope of work, pricing, and payment terms. Other factors, such as the process for managing changes and dispute resolution, are also important negotiation points.

The key is to look at the negotiation from the subcontractor’s perspective. What’s good for the sub is often good for the GC. A subcontractor with a solid reputation for quality work will be more likely to earn repeat business and grow their business by providing their services on multiple projects.

Negotiating a contract is a complex task for subs, but if done correctly, it can put them in the best position to succeed on a project. Getting familiar with the AIA contract documents is a good start. The A201 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction provides the basic framework for how a GC and subcontractor will work together. Subs should be especially aware of payment terms, the list of materials used, the warranty on the work, draw schedules, scheduled completion dates, and other details, as these will affect how a job is managed.

Retainage, or payment percentages that are withheld until milestones have been hit can be one of the most difficult and costly contract additions for subs to manage. It’s a good idea to negotiate the retainage percentage down to a level that allows subs to manage their cash flow throughout the project.

Construction budgets are essential tools for guiding strategic decision-making throughout a project. For example, they can help decide which appliances to use or the level of expertise required for certain tasks. Budget management is also essential for ensuring construction costs align with the contract’s scope and identifying potential risks early on. In addition to calculating all material costs, general contractors often calculate labor rates and tax expenses based on local market conditions and permit fees that may fall to either the builder or homebuyer, depending on contract stipulations. Additionally, general contractors typically create contingencies, pools of money set aside to cover unforeseen costs during construction. This is an important safety measure to protect both parties from financial risk.

General contractors also take out a variety of insurances, including liability, builders risk, and property damage insurance, to ensure they’re covered for damages or loss during the construction process.

Whether it’s building the foundation, adding insulation, or remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, the GC oversees all aspects of the project. They work with the architect and subcontractors to ensure that construction occurs on schedule. They also monitor the timeline and budget and react to any obstacles that might impact them.

They manage large projects by breaking them down into smaller, interdependent pieces and assigning each team a deadline to implement these plans. This helps prevent overruns, and it’s a responsibility that general contractors take very seriously.

Unlike the rest of the project team, who work hourly, GCs are paid a fixed fee for their services. In the case of a negotiated contract, they review and analyze the drawings and scope of work for the overall project, then collect quotes from several qualified specialized subcontractors for each phase, add their overhead costs, and submit a quote. The GC then pays the property owner its fees and must deliver the project for that price. Any savings that are realized become additional profit for the GC.

Because they’re the main point of contact between the property owner and other project contractors, they ensure that everyone is working well together before any money is disbursed. This includes ensuring that the contractor’s work complies with the specifications in the blueprint and design.

Large construction projects require a significant amount of raw materials and building components. GCs are responsible for managing all these vendors to ensure that the correct materials are delivered on time and that invoices are processed quickly.

If a problem arises on the job site, the GC resolves it quickly. This includes anything from miscommunication between workers to damages to property. This is why choosing a reputable, licensed GC for your home renovation project is so important.

The most important thing to remember about general contractors is that they are responsible for virtually every construction or renovation project aspect. They don’t just build homes but also provide a wide range of other services to their clients, including plumbing and electrical work, roof repairs, and interior design.