Today, no project can be built without a contractor because they play one of the biggest roles in the construction process and carry out some of the most important duties. Therefore, it is crucial for clients to understand exactly what contractors do, how to find the correct contractor, and their relationship with architects.
What is a Contractor?
A general contractor is a manager that is employed by a client. Typically, the architect will suggest a few reliable options for the client to decide from. Usually they are responsible for the overall coordination of a project. This coordination requires the contractor to provide all necessary material, labour, equipment, and safety measures required for the project’s construction.
More of the responsibilities include acquiring all necessary permits, providing temporary utilities (such as ablutions) on site, supervising workers on site, providing services such as site surveying, controlling construction waste, and lastly – advising their client where necessary. A general contractor will also employ subcontractors to execute specific work required in the building’s construction. This means that they becomes liable for the standard of work completed by the subcontractors.
They also provide the client with the total cost of the project, which in turn determines their fee. To do so, the general contractor must calculate the total cost of all materials, equipment, labour, and other overheads, to provide the client with a final price for their project.
Finding the correct Contractor
Finding the right contractor is similar to any other hiring process. Firstly you, as a client, need to understand exactly what you want for your project. This includes everything from its design, to its budget. Once you’ve established this, you can refine the hiring process by searching only for contractors that fit your budget and have a portfolio of work that conforms to your desired design aesthetic.
Now, the search for your contractor begins. Usually the architect will provide the client with a selection of dependable contractors to choose from. It is imperative to consider the architect’s suggestion – as they have the best understanding of the project’s needs, as well as a working relationship with each of the contractors they suggested. However, if none of these suggestions suffice, there are other ways to find options as well. These include online searches, magazines, newspapers, and the suggestions of family members.
Once you have a variety of suitable candidates, thoroughly research each contractor. This can be done by browsing their website, acquiring their portfolio, researching their company history, and assessing their level of experience with projects your type. This will narrow your selection further, allowing you to interview the remaining candidates.
The Relationship between Contractors and Architects
On any building project, contractors and architects are required to work with one another for the entire construction process. Therefore, it is important for both parties to have a healthy working relationship. Contractors and Architects both have the task of making their client’s dreams a reality. This shared goal creates shared responsibilities – such as adherence to the client’s budget and vision. This can only be achieved through stringent communication. Of course, their individual tasks are very different – architects are concerned with the design of the building, and contractors ensure that this design is faithfully realised. They are required to supervise their workers and maintain safety standards on site, whilst architects complete their work in an office space equipped with the necessary resources.
Despite these differences, both parties should constantly work in tandem during the construction process, as it will only serve to greatly benefit the project. As a client, you should ensure that your chosen architect and contractor have a good understanding of not only the project, but of each other.