Managing a building project entails a lot of tasks, activities, and concerns. You also deal with numerous workers, sub-contractors, and suppliers. To ensure the successful and timely completion of a project, someone with the right skill set to oversee and supervise the project is a must. This is where general contractors come to the picture.
What does a General Contractor do?
A general contractor manages the entire aspects of a construction project. They oversee all related activities, making sure that they meet set project design, specifications, and budget. Being the overall team leader, general contractors perform a supervisory role ensuring that the construction timeline is achieved. Furthermore, they ensure that the project conforms to the latest construction standards, as well as pertinent laws and regulations.
General contractors maintain constant communication with various project stakeholders, such as suppliers, sub-contractors, skilled workers, and regulatory authorities, but most especially the client. They are expected to be knowledgeable of technical aspects to ensure the quality of work. Likewise, these professionals handle onsite-related emergencies and issues.
Although the work of a general contractor is tough, it is also equally rewarding and satisfying. Typically, general contractors earn around $53,000 annually. The offer of a lucrative career has attracted throngs of individuals, and companies to offer general contractor services. This has made the construction market highly competitive.
Essential Skills of a General Contractor
To succeed in the construction sector, a general contractor must possess both soft and hard skills. Soft skills refer to character traits that enable the professional to relate with others easily, including communication, team-building, managing, and supervising. Meanwhile, hard skills include the theoretical and technical aspects of construction, such as project planning, technology, budgeting, and resource- and time management. Experienced tenant build-out contractors from AFS General, Florida note that highly successful contractors demonstrate a solid grasp of these competencies.
Here we take a look at the essential skills of a general contractor.
1. Technology Skills
Computers are increasingly becoming part of the construction industry – from drawing the initial designs to rendering and modeling the final output to calculating and tracking costs. As such, general contractors need to be tech-savvy to build a good career. Most construction projects now use complicated Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, which requires above-average computer skills. Likewise, the majority of everyday tasks now require computers, such as sending emails, ordering supplies, managing inventory, preparing reports, etc. Furthermore, contractors must keep abreast with the latest and emerging tech trends to stay competitive.
2. Project Management Skills
A must-have skill of a general contractor, project management is the core of this job position. This refers to the ability to execute project plans within schedule and budget. For example, a general contractor must ensure the timely deployment of workers, equipment, and supplies. The contractor also needs to keep track of all the moving pieces of the project, most of these aspects work simultaneously. All activities that are related to the project’s execution fall under the project management umbrella.
3. People Skills
Contractors constantly interact with clients, sub-contractors, workers, and other construction team members. They need strong people to skill to be able to convey messages, understand directives, explain thoughts, and offer solutions.
Strong communication skills are vital to understand and manage the customer’s expectations. It also avoids miscommunication so the project is complete within the budget and on time. People skills can go a long way in leading and managing workers, thereby completing the job as planned.
4. Problem Solving Skills
Even a well-planned construction project can face unexpected problems. A general contractor must be able to manage these disruptions and create a plan quickly to address the problem and proceed with the project. Often, this skill is gained through years of experience, although some people are innate problem-solvers.
5. Practical Skills
From building permit application to passing inspection processes, a general contractor must possess practical skills in dealing with building regulatory authorities, at the local, state, and federal levels. Non-compliance with regulations and building codes can lead to costly fines or even lawsuits. As such, a general contractor needs navigation know-how and connections within the market.
A reliable general contractor should be flexible in their skill set and in terms of their ability to respond to disruptions. Construction projects involve various aspects such as civil works, electrical, masonry, painting works, etc. A versatile contractor can take on different aspects of the project within the deadline. In some cases, this might even require them to work hands-on or extra hours. Likewise, the general contractor must have contingency plans for various eventualities. For example, if the delivery of supplies has been delayed, they should have backup plans so that workers will still have output and that the project doesn’t stop.
Whether you’re constructing a new building or renovating a commercial building, hiring a general contractor is a must. Their education, training, and experience have equipped them with the necessary skills to ensure that your construction project proceeds as planned and within budget. While it can be very tempting to DIY complete a project, working with an expert gives you peace of mind and saves you money in the long run.