The Responsibilities of a General Contractor

General Contractor (GC’s) Responsibilities:

  • To Advocate and collaborate with the homeowner in all issues regarding suppliers and labor.
  • Be knowledgeable and experienced in all the products and service he is about to manage.
  • Be knowledgeable of all applicable construction or product specifications and building codes.
  • Properly vet all subcontractors and manage all their work so that all work is properly executed to meet specifications.
  • Track all costs and meet regularly with the homeowner to discuss budgets.
  • Provide lean release waivers for completed work.
  • The GC will be responsible for managing and obtaining all approvals, inspections, and the certificate of occupancy.
  • The GC will order, check, and accept all building material and components prior to installation.
  • It is the responsibility of the GC to clearly communicate with his customer any unplanned changes in schedule, additional expenses or new unforeseen problems.

General Contractor Interview Questions:

  • What means and methods will you use to determine the exact cost of the renovation?
  • Are you comfortable working with the style and quality of home that we expect?
  • Who will supervise the construction of my home and how often will my project be under direct supervision?
  • May I meet the project manager or project superintendent who will be supervising my project on a daily basis?
  • How will questions and concerns be addressed during the renovation?
  • How do you qualify the competency of the subcontractors who will work on my project?
  • In the event that there are changes to the design or unforeseen conditions that result in extra cost, what process do you use to communicate these changes to us?
  • How long do you anticipate the complete renovation of our home will take?
  • How are you compensated for your work?
  • How do you service your warranty once the construction is complete?

The General Contractor (GC) should be able to provide you with the following documents in order to illustrate in detail their processes and methods:

  • A sample contract and proposed method(s) of compensation.
  • A sample budget and explanation of how monthly billings are tracked, invoiced, and paid.
  • A sample draw request for you to provide to your bank for inspection.
  • A sample construction schedule illustrating construction timeline, milestones, and key decisions to be made on a project.
  • A sample change order request and description of process.
  • A sample of warranties.

Questions for References:

  • Were your original estimates accurate?
  • Was your renovation finished on time?
  • Was the project on budget?
  • Did the builder ask for decisions in a timely manner?
  • Were the finances clear and transparent?
  • How did the GC react in a stressful situation?
  • Did the GC communicate the schedule clearly?
  • What role did the GC take once the project began?
  • Were there other key individuals that worked for the GC that you would request if you were building again?
  • Did the GC return your call promptly?
  • Was the project clean and organized?
  • Were there subcontractors on the project that you would strongly recommend or avoid?

Red Flags:

  • The GC requires a large initial down payment or deposits prior to the commencement of work.
  • There is no written contract or a poorly written contract.
  • The GC has no local office address.
  • Cannot commit to a completion date.
  • The stated price is too good to be true and is significantly lower than other received bids.
  • There is an unclear work history.
  • The GC will not provide a complete estimate.
  • High-pressure sales tactics are employed. Ex. You need to sign now to get on the schedule.
  • Lack of insurance.
  • No references are furnished or are unable to be verified.
  • The builder is unwilling to provide evidence of certificates of Insurance for General Liability or Workers Compensation.
  • The builder offers a lump sum or very general estimate lacking detail.
  • His subcontractors are unfamiliar or new to him.