Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Does My Contractor Do For Me?

"Next time I'm going to be my own contractor and save a lot of money". "I don't know why I hired a contractor, he just shows up once a day for a quick check on things and then leaves". "What does my contractor do all day, his workers and subs do all of the work".

You have probably heard your friends and neighbors say these things after working with a contractor.

So, what does a contractor do for you?

Before making the decision to act as your own general contractor, let's make sure you understand what they do for you behind the scenes so you understand the responsibilities you will take upon yourself.

Here is a brief rundown of what a professional general contractor does for you:

* Obtains necessary building permits and interfaces with city agencies and inspectors.

* Selects subcontractors to complete the specific portions of your project.

* Coordinates and schedules the work of the specific subcontractors and resolves conflicts between the subs in respect to the technical aspects of the work.

* Safeguards your property and protects you from liability for the project duration.

* Schedules the work of crews employed by the general contractor and orders materials for their portion of the project.

* Coordinates the review and approval of material selections between the homeowner and the vendor providing the materials. This can range from color selections to faucet trim in the bathroom.

* Maintains an overall schedule of the project that allows all subcontractors and vendors to schedule their work and order their supplies on a timely basis.

* Inspects the work of all subcontractors on your project for compliance with your plans and specifications.

* Maintains proper documentation throughout the project including all required insurances, warranties, lien notices and releases. At project completion submits to the owner a project book that includes all information vital to future repairs and warranty issues.

* Maintains project accounting, pays all vendors and resolves money disputes, and verifies the payments from subs to their suppliers to eliminate liens on the property.

* Resolves warranty issues after project completion.

These are the items the general contractor does (or is supposed to do) when you are not paying attention. Not all general contractors are professionals and not all pay attention to their responsibilities on all projects. A professional will consistently handle all of the items above on your behalf and will have earned the fee you paid.

If you decide to hire a general contractor, the items above are what you should expect to be included in their fee for overhead and profit. If you decide to act as your own contractor, the above items still need to be provided by someone if the project is to be successful; that someone is you.

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