Are General Contractors and Construction Managers Different?

The construction industry is one hell of an industry. It’s so big and there are simply a lot of professionals involved in it. Even if you start the simplest construction project, high are the chances that there are at least five people working on it. The owner of the property will sometimes hire an architect to make a blueprint of the project. Then he’ll look for a general contractor or a construction manager to help him build it. These two professionals will then hire plumbers, painters, electricians, HVAC specialists, roofers, and any other contractors to complete the job. 

While you may already know the difference between a painter and roofer, you might be confused about why you need to hire a construction manager and a general contractor at the same time. It then pays to look into these two professions to see whether or not you really need both for your project.

What’s a General Contractor?

The general contractor can either be a company or an individual who manages the everyday activities at the job site. They are in charge of building the structure. They usually have their own team which consists of foremen and laborers. For specialty projects, they may hire subcontractors and manage their tasks as well.

To be awarded a project, general contractors submit proposals that may come complete with plans and specifications from an architect. Or they may create a proposal based on the owner’s plans and specifications. Either way, they can be hired to start a project entirely on their own or with help from the other professionals whom the owner prefers to hire.

What’s a Construction Manager?

The job of construction managers is usually more collaborative than that of general contractors. General contractors can oftentimes work on their own, without assistance from the project owner. A construction manager, on the other hand, works hand-in-hand with the owner and they collaborate on different aspects in every step of the way.

Construction managers don’t profit from the project as general contractors do. They are paid a flat rate, hourly, or based on a certain percentage of the total project cost. General contractors, on the other hand, may possibly profit from the specialists that they hire as they are usually paid for the bulk of the project. But when it comes to most of their responsibilities, they can perform the same things and deliver the same results.

Which One Should You Hire?

Small residential projects usually require a construction manager instead of general contractors. However, if the project owner prefers not to go hands-on with the project, the services of a general contractor will suit them best.

When hiring either a San Jose general contractor or construction manager, always consider your preferences and how much you want to get involved in the project. If you want to be consulted all the time when it comes to design, ideas, materials, equipment, laborers, and finances, then you need construction managers. If you want to delegate the whole project to an expert and trust them to deliver the project exactly how you wanted with least involvement on your part, then you’ll need a general contractor.

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