How does this whole General Contractor thing work, anyway?
Think of a General Contractor as an orchestra conductor. The orchestra can play without a leader, but the music wouldn’t sound very pleasing. Like a skilled conductor, a General Contractor auditions the players, makes sure everyone comes in on time with their piece of the project, and coordinates the details for a harmonious finale.
In addition to having a team of carpenters for hire, New Prairie normally acts as a General Contractor for our customers. Here are some of the services we provide as your GC:
- Apply for building permits
- Pay necessary fees and taxes
- Verify liability and other kinds of insurance are up-to-date with all subcontractors
- Order materials and confirm they’re in good condition when they arrive
- Create and maintain job books to keep track of progress and to follow Lead Safety laws
- Schedule all carpenters and subcontractors in the order they need to be on the job, and oversee that scheduling each day as the work progresses
- Maintain ongoing communication (via phone calls, e-mails, and site visits) with the homeowners and subcontractors to ensure that the homeowner’s needs are met
- Be on hand to answer any questions that come up during the course of the work
- Swiftly resolve any problems or unexpected issues that arise
- Make sure Lead Safety laws are followed
- Stay current with new legislation that impacts day-to-day activities and record-keeping
New Prairie has the experience to ascertain which subs and vendors will be needed in order to complete your project. Will permits be required? If so, which ones? Will it be necessary to call J.U.L.I.E.? Sometimes multiple site visits are required to pull all of the pieces together. It may also involve extensive phone and email communication, online research, and time spent estimating costs.
Part of the work of a general contractor is to inform and organize all of the workers in a project so that the work is accomplished smoothly and quickly with the fewest possible mistakes, missteps, or surprises. If changes or problems occur, New Prairie can address the issue with minimum disruption to the job schedule and the homeowner.
VETTED CARPENTERS AND SUBCONTRACTORS:
New Prairie’s carpenters are trained in demolition, framing, drywalling, plastering, tiling, painting, cabinet installation, and much more. Having these skills “in house” allows us to work quickly and efficiently without necessarily involving other companies.
When a project involves specialized tasks such as plumbing, electrical, masonry, or roofing, we usually subcontract to other businesses. For example, a typical bathroom or kitchen remodel could involve the following tradespersons: carpenters, tile layers, drywall hangers and finishers, painters, plumbers, electricians, and cabinet/countertop vendors.
New Prairie enjoys long-term relationships with the majority of our subcontractors and suppliers. We know which companies’ employees are respectful of your space and do high-quality work. We offer the benefits of these strong relationships to our customers. If a problem does occur with a sub’s work, it will be addressed quickly and to your satisfaction. Because of our ongoing relationships, we can ask for and obtain prime scheduling spots for our projects.
When considering whether or not to hire a GC …
take a look at your available time and comfort level in performing the tasks listed above. Researching products and legal issues, applying for permits, hiring and scheduling tradespeople, and being on hand every day to make sure the project is running smoothly can be time-consuming and stressful.
Of course, there are times when it makes sense to hire a tradesperson directly. If a project is relatively straightforward (i.e., only one tradesperson is involved), then it can be simpler and less expensive to hire that tradesperson directly, and not use a General Contractor.
However, even in such cases it is not unwarranted to hire a GC. A General Contractor who is familiar with good practices and craftsmanship can be a valuable advocate. A GC can review proposals submitted, ask pertinent questions, and make sure the work is performed in an acceptable manner.
Interested in having New Prairie orchestrate your next home improvement project? Fill out our Request an Estimate form, email us at email@example.com, or give us a call at 217-344-5131.
We’d love to hear from you!