The general contractor and the construction manager are key positions on a construction site and occupy an important place in the completion of the construction project. Though these two positions may look similar in scope and performance from the outside, they are different in many ways, and you can find many Construction Manager vs. General Contractor differences between a general contractor and a construction manager.
Let us see the important points that bring in the vital differences that categorize one construction professional as a general contractor and another as a construction manager.
Knowing the difference between a general contractor and a construction manager will help one understand the nature of his duties and responsibilities in a construction project. As they are handling different roles in a construction project, they are responsible for different things and be answerable to the owner of the project in a different manner.
The fact that many general contractors also act as construction managers and vice versa makes it difficult to label a particular person as a general contractor or a construction manager.
But by closely observing the below-mentioned facts will help us in many ways to find if a particular person or an entity is working as a general contractor or a construction manager in a construction project.
Differences In How They’ll Help
- Come into the project early in the project as in most of the projects; it is the general contractor who is entrusted with the starting of the project.
- When the owner of the project has finalized his requirements for the project, then his next task would be to find out a suitable General contractor so that he can entrust the entire project work to him.
- In such cases, the general contractor is responsible for the entire range of works starting from the design of the structure to the completion of the building project. Thus the general contractor comes into the project right at the start of the project and has his touch in every aspect of the project.
- His voice is heard at every corner of the project as he is responsible for each part of the project.
- Is a person who comes into the project after the project has already started if the preliminaries are taken care of by the project owner.
- In a large construction project, it is common to see that the initial parts of the project, like designing, estimation, are done by the construction manager and then oversee a particular part of the project or handle the task of managing the construction part project.
Differences In Their Place In The Overall Organization Of The Project
- Are a much larger entity than a construction manager and usually takes the shape of the legal business entity.
- A general contractor is a role that needs to take care of the entire responsibilities in a construction project usually employs a large complement of employees with specialized knowledge, training, and experience in conducting various phases of a large construction project.
- As a general contractor is expected to provide the right persons for each post on a construction project, he usually has experienced supervisors, superintendents, and key construction professionals who will be taking care of every part of the project.
- These persons work on the worksheet and conduct each of their parts to complete the entire project as planned.
- It is just an individual or a group of people with the necessary knowledge, skill set, training, and experience in managing a construction project by implementing the project design.
- They are simply construction professionals who are more qualified in taking care of tasks connected with the building activity in a construction project.
- As they are predominantly a group of people who are entrusted with the job of managing and handling the construction of the project, their group is often made by people who are trained to take care of the construction part alone.
Differences In Their Team Structures
- Their team size is usually bigger and comprises a diverse group of people who are well versed in different phases of the project, right from the early planning stage to the ultimate completion of the project.
- Towards this, the range of people who form a general contractor team has the right mix of people who come into the project as designers, estimators, suppliers, general laborers, subcontractors, and skilled artisans like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.
- Their team is usually smaller in size and contains mainly the persons who are trained in administrative capacities.
- The construction manager is entrusted with the administration of the worksite and focused more on getting on with the project as its administrator.
- The team of a construction manager is made of people capable of acting as estimators, accountants, project managers, general administrative and supporting staff whose responsibility is to help the project be completed as per the plan by effectively managing the people who are doing the building work.
Differences In How They Work With Subcontractors
- He has a pool of subcontractors to help him in various types of works on a sub-contract basis. For this purpose, he will be maintaining a team of subcontractors needed for the successful completion of the project.
- A general contractor has the liberty and freedom to select his team of subcontractors to do specific parts of the project.
- Usually, these will be the people who will be doing the actual building of the project. These persons will usually be those who have worked under the general contractor on other projects.
Thus, the general contractor by choosing to have and provide his team of subcontractors and others into the project for helping the early and effective completion of the project with the familiarity he commands with the subcontractors and other members of his team with a higher level of cooperation and support through established operating procedures. Due to this, there will be a higher degree of loyalty, cooperation, and camaraderie among the team members.
- It could be a person appointed afresh to conduct the building process, so he may not be familiar with the building team.
- As his work is limited to managing the works of other persons engaged in the building process, he usually does not have the power to bring in or select his team of subcontractors and other people to work on the project.
Differences In Their Specializations
- Are specialists in working on certain types of constructions like foundations, masonry works, or framing in building construction.
- Likewise, many general contractors are specialized in constructing residential buildings only or commercial buildings only or offer their services to certain constructions for specific sectors.
- Are people entrusted with just the management of the building process and can work in any type of construction project just taking care of the administrative part of the project.
Differences In Their Entry Points To A Project
- Gets into the project usually through competitive bidding or a reference from an old client, and hence they are third parties in the relationship to the owner of the project.
- He is an independent person who takes on the project for completion on a contractual basis. Hence, there is no employer-employee relationship exists between the general contractor and the project owner in the strict sense of the word.
- The project owner directly appoints him to manage his project, usually as his employee. Hence the construction manager works under the project owner.
Differences In Their Earnings From The Project
- Work on a fixed amount out of the project amount, and the general contractor make his profit by completing the project work within the amount agreed to between him and the project owner.
- Usually appointed based on a fixed salary or fees, and there is no question of making any profit out of the project execution. Their remuneration is fixed as a percentage of the total project cost and hence will be less costly to the project.
Who Is The Best Fit For Your Construction Project?
A general contractor could be perfect if:
- You favor the conventional building bidding strategy.
- You do not have enough opportunity to work closely together with all the people handling the jobs.
- You prefer to have the builder take the whole responsibility to their subcontractors and their job.
- You would like to hire somebody who has a community of go-to builders that do a great job.
A construction manager could be perfect if:
- You do not wish to bother using a classic general contractor bidding procedure.
- You need a more collaborative venture that contains the director’s involvement in the design phase.
- You prefer to pay a set fee.
- You want the construction manager to possess a more sophisticated and complete picture of this project’s general fiscal arrangement.
On certain construction projects, either a general contractor and a construction manager is going to be hired, together with the construction manager overseeing the general contractor. The functions are fluid and subject to change, and also the largest points of distinction nevertheless normally lie in reimbursement arrangements and degree of participation with project possession.