Categories: News and Events

What Does A Commercial General Contractor Do?

Published by
Rami Tawasha
Updated 7 May 2020

When you are in the process of starting a commercial construction project, then the first thing you need to do is to find the right commercial general contractor for your project.

He is the most important person for the project.

He has to come into the project to take over the project from its planning stages at the earliest point of time. Whatever be the nature of your project, be it a construction for a shopping mall or one for a hospital or a commercial complex, you need to find the right commercial general contractor. He must have the necessary knowledge and experience in leading and completing large commercial construction projects.

A commercial general contractor may be an individual or a Construction company, who has the knowledge, experience, and professional standing to take control, conduct, and complete large to substantial commercial construction projects.

He leads the entire project and oversees the complete construction activity from the project’s starting until the project is completed in all senses. As such, he is in charge of managing all phases of the construction and handles the entire range of tasks connected with completing the construction work.

As a commercial general contractor, his work encompasses the entire range of operations required to be undertaken for the successful completion of the project like
• Preparation of the basic planning for the project
• Preparation of civil and structural drawings for the proposed construction
• Deciding about the structure and elevation of the building with architects
• Procuring the materials for the project
• Selection and appointment of labor groups for the project
• Selection and engagement of subcontractors to do specific parts of the project
• Vendor management and other related functions for sourcing of materials and consumables for the project
• Undertaking all the legal formalities and complying with all the legal and local law formalities
• Handling and obtaining all the legal, insurance, and other licenses and permissions required for the project
• Dealing with all the finances for the project and dealing all the financial transactions with the project owner, the subcontractors, the labor force, vendors and suppliers of the materials, etc
• Overall administration of the construction site and related areas
• Complete construction management and the actionable items required for this
• Creation and maintenance of communication facilities
• Overall in charge of the project

The commercial general contractor is responsible for overseeing and managing the entire construction from its starting stage to the final finishing stage. They take control of the entire project and are responsible for managing all construction phases and related activities. They take care of each bit and parcel of the project and make the construction complete with all the necessary building components like civil works, electrical and plumbing works, interior and exterior decoration, landscaping, and installation of all the HVAC and safety installations.

The Main Functions Of A Commercial General Contractor:

Project Planning

A Commercial General Contractor Does Project Planning

The constructor has to plan his work and plan the tasks of every team and give the teams a timeline to complete those tasks. He needs to identify the work that has to be done to complete the project and even estimate the costs to do that work. This planning is very useful as it breaks down the big project into controllable phases. He further divides each phase into inter-dependent stages. Then each stage is carefully planned and decides the deadline for each phase to increase the efficiency of all the phases and which eventually keeps the overall project on track.

Once the plan is ready, he will communicate the roles to the respective teams, each member of the team is aware of their role. Once the project’s execution begins, he will review the planned schedules with the actual work happening and make any alterations if there is any deviation between the two. The more detailed and clear the plan is, the better chances of having better control over the costs as the plan’s clarity facilitates efficiency and lesser chances of rework.

Human Resources Management

A Commercial General Contractor Does Human Resource Management

Another main area of the commercial contractor’s main function in a commercial construction project includes human resource management. One of the main qualifications to become a commercial general contractor is Personnel management, as they must take care of the entire human element of the project. For this, they are responsible for selecting and appointing of all types of construction professionals right from the planning stage.

They take care of the planning of the construction with the appointment of the right type of Civil engineers to prepare the detailed and required building planning documents that form the entire construction base.

Then they go for the structural engineers who design the basic structure of the commercial construction and get the structural diagrams and calculations and all other related diagrams for the proposed construction. They also appoint the architects to plan the commercial construction structure and involve them in finalizing the final shape and structure of the building.

They also take care of the appointment of the documentation personnel specially trained in the preparation of all types of documents necessary for all purposes for proceeding with the construction. After the appointment of all the professionals and basic documents necessary for the project, the commercial general contractor proceeds to select the construction personnel right from the construction workers, construction supervisors, managers, and Foremen who will build the commercial building.

They will find and appoint all the necessary construction workers as per the required skill sets and help the project take shape as per the original planning. They also appoint building supervisors and management staff who will be in charge of the day-to-day management of the construction activities besides preparing everything necessary for legal compliance of all construction and building regulations that apply to the worksite.

Apart from this, the commercial general contractor is responsible for all the safety features that must be in place in a commercial construction site. For this, they will bring in the necessary safety experts and give them the required permissions and facilities required for the worksite’s safety and security. In addition to this, the commercial general contractor is also responsible for selecting the right building equipment and their effective functioning during the progress of the project.

For this, they take steps to select and bring in the right type of equipment and allied machinery required for the type of construction in progress. They take care of the equipment’s safe operation and ensure that the equipment operators and those who are working near the equipment and with it are adequately protected and adhere to the safety requirements for ensuring workplace safety.

Subcontractor Management

A Commercial General Contractor Does Subcontractor Management

All types of commercial constructions need different types of subcontractors to do particular parts of the construction work. It is the commercial general contractor’s primary duty to find the right subcontractors who are experts in doing that type of work on the project. They bring in the right subcontractors, help them do the work they are entrusted with, manage them on-site, monitor and supervise their work, so the subcontractors complete their work as a part of the construction team and get paid for the work they perform on the construction project.

The commercial general contractor also appoints and manages a team of building inspectors who are entrusted with the work of ensuring the following of all the quality standards prescribed for the type of construction that is underway. They offer all the facilities for these inspectors to measure, oversee the building construction and suggest changes wherever necessary. They also make necessary things necessary for the generation of reports for legal compliance and internal construction management purposes.

Finance Management

What Does A Commercial General Contractor Do: Finance Management

Towards successful and easy management of finances for the project, the commercial general contractor appoints a team of financial management professionals to take care of all the accounting, bookkeeping, and overall financial management.

As a commercial construction is large financial management may need a complete team of different types of cost and work auditors, finance auditors, and other types of persons to manage and control the flow of finances and related activities for the efficient management of financing operations of the project.

Supply- Chain Management

As the conduct of a large commercial construction project involves the movement of large amounts of men and materials at the right times for the unfettered progress of the project work, the commercial general contractor also employs a suitable team of persons for supply chain management and logistics.

This is a specialized team of professionals with special knowledge of ensuring the delivery of the right type of materials at the right times during each phase of the construction, and these persons are entrusted with planning the procurement and modes of transport and delivery at the construction site so that the project proceeds smoothly.

Vendor Management

A large commercial construction also needs the procurement of enormous amounts of building supplies, equipment, building materials, consumables, electrical items, HVAC equipment, Ducting materials, plumbing materials and equipment, paints and pigments, safety equipment, furniture, and fixtures, etc.

As such, the commercial general contractor has to select the right vendors for the materials to be used in the project, he will be dealing with the production companies directly and their dealers to manage the supplies to the project and ensure that all the materials arrive at the worksite at the right times.

Communication Management

A Commercial General Contractor Does Communication Management

Communication is the most vital element that ensures success for the project. As the person in charge of a large commercial construction project, the general contractor ensures that the complete communication infrastructure is in place during the entire phase of the construction project. He also selects and appoints the right communication team to keep the different units of the project communicate effectively and keep it going during the entire project for easy, successful, and consistent communication.

Thus, the commercial general contractor is the all in all people as far as the project is concerned, and he has said in every inch of the project. He is the first man to come into the project and the last one to go out, and during his entire stay in the project, he takes care of everything necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Quality Management

The contractor recognizes which quality of the material is best suited for the project; the quality selected will be the most durable one for the project. So in the long term, when the commercial space starts operations, its maintenance costs would be much lower. He will order the required materials from reliable suppliers, will hire a quality control officer to examine the quality of materials received throughout the project; this prevents entry of low-quality and damaged materials for the project.

He will make sure that the designers don’t consider very complex designs for the project, instead opt for minimum complexity in the designs. This assists in sustaining the high levels of quality in the project designs. He will very clearly define the project’s scope, which enables the contractor to secure the decided level of high quality across all the aspects of the project. Along with the above-mentioned measure, he will also examine the subcontractor’s quality of work; all measures are undertaken by the contractor to meet the client’s quality standards and do their work professionally and efficiently.

Dispute Management

A Commercial General Contractor Does Dispute Management

The contractor needs to make sure every activity is under control and his supervision. He is responsible for making sure that the work happens in a disciplined manner. So he becomes responsible for solving any dispute that happens on the site. The dispute could be among the construction workers, among the subcontractors, among the third parties involved, among the various functions-based teams, or even any dispute with the client. He needs to settle the dispute most professionally and fairly.

If the dispute takes quite some time to get resolved, it would surely break the flow of the construction activities, and if still not resolved soon, then it would surely delay the project and increase the overall costs. The contractor must set up preventive measures to reduce the probability of a dispute and set up a mechanism to solve the dispute in the shortest possible time.

This was all that you need to know when it comes to answering What Does A Commercial General Contractor Do? You can learn about the tips to select the right commercial general contractor in San Francisco.

If you think you would require a commercial general constructor’s services for your commercial project, please feel free to contact us.


This post was last modified on March 3, 2021 9:59 am

Rami Tawasha

An experienced civil engineer with more than 15 years of experience, Rami Tawasha serves as a senior project manager for Constructive Solutions, Inc., a commercial general contractor based in San Mateo and San Francisco. Under his leadership, the firm performs services ranging from design build to tenant improvement and renovation for corporate offices, medical facilities, building renovation, seismic retrofit, industrial and retail spaces across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Published by
Rami Tawasha

Recent Posts

Common Types of Commercial Construction Projects

Common Types of Commercial Construction Projects

Commercial buildings are the ones that are built for conducting commercial activities. In the modern… Read More

1 month ago
Commercial Construction Cost Per Square Foot in the US

Commercial Construction Cost Per Square Foot in the US

Cost per square foot factor is one of the most important metrics to be taken… Read More

3 months ago
What Are Pre-Construction Services

What Are Pre-Construction Services

Pre-Construction Services are crucial elements of the modern Design-Bid-Build construction method. It helps identify potential… Read More

3 months ago
11 Things You Must Know About Tenant Improvement Allowances (TIA)

11 Things You Must Know About Tenant Improvement Allowances (TIA)

The expenses you have to incur to make the building fit for running your business… Read More

5 months ago
What Is A Commercial Contractor And What do They Do?

What Is A Commercial Contractor And What do They Do?

A commercial contractor brings in the necessary mindset, expertise, and capability to gather both men… Read More

6 months ago
Everything You Need To Know About Medical Office Construction

Everything You Need To Know About Medical Office Construction

Medical office construction is not like any other ordinary construction. It has to be done… Read More

12 months ago