Alongside the designer, hiring the general contractor (GC) is the most important decision an owner/developer can make for a large-scale construction project. There are few choices as impactful on one’s project as choosing the correct GC for your facility construction. While there is often the temptation to skimp and opt for a cheaper option, you will want to hire someone you can trust and — as importantly — someone with whom you can collaborate with through adversity.
General Contractor Responsibilities and Nature of the Role
The duties of the general contractor are many and the nature of their projects is complex. They must negotiate contracts with the owner/developer, negotiate contracts with subcontractors, create schedules for workers, supervise the work of all trades, oversee employee payment and orchestrate the bidding of a project. This, of course, can vary depending on the delivery method and the role of the GC within that delivery method.
An owner will often be in close contact with the GC in order to quickly mitigate issues as they arise. In fast track construction projects, the smallest of mishaps can throw a project off schedule and it’s up to the GC to ensure the construction timeline doesn’t spiral out of control. Whether there is inclement weather or delays in the arrival of capital equipment or supplies, a GC must be vigilant and ensure any issues are relayed to the owner as necessary.
Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Speed to Market Initiative
If you are working in a design-bid-build delivery method, you will generally have hired an architect prior to selecting a general contractor. If this is the case, the architect will often have recommendations for which GC to choose for a particular design. Though an architect will likely have good recommendations, you shouldn’t stop your research for the optimal hire at that point. As importantly, you should ask around the industry, especially for those involved in a specific niche (i.e. healthcare construction).
What you want from a GC is not only a credible reputation, but also someone with whom you can build a rapport. Once again, do not beeline for the cheapest option and be sure to review a GC’s plans and specs if he writes them himself. Ensure the bid has everything you need to build the facility you envision as timely as possible.
General Contractors, Moisture Mitigation and Rapid-Drying Concrete
Though designers often specify the concrete for the project, the general contractor will execute the payment for materials and the navigation of subcontractors. As the ultimate project manager, the GC will oversee the installment of concrete slabs and the ensuing flooring materials. As an owner/developer, you have an obligation to understand the GC’s approach to concrete construction and if they have a preference for moisture mitigation methods. Furthermore, you should know that they have the proper processes in place to test for moisture in the slabs prior to flooring installation.
In the case of rapid-drying concrete, the GC will be glad to know the product will be able to accept flooring (without additional moisture mitigation) within 45 days. This gives you as an owner and the GC a predictable product that will not adversely affect the construction timeline.