If you’re thinking about starting a construction project on your investment property, you may be wondering what is a general contractor vs construction manager. A construction manager represents you, the property owner, and is part of your team. A general contractor, on the other hand, wins the job by bidding on your project. Read on for more comparisons between general contracting and construction management.
A general contractor usually is not involved with pre-construction planning. Once the architect has completed the design, the general contractor enters the project and develops a bid package based on the design. Other pre-construction duties include hiring subcontractors and obtaining permits.
A construction manager is involved from the beginning of the project and often has input into the design process. Like a general contractor, they handle hiring subcontractors for the project.
Budget and Timeline
General contractors and subcontractors both keep the owner informed about the project budget, timeline, and delays. The general contractor and subcontractors must personally adhere to the schedule, while the construction manager monitors the contractors’ adherence to the schedule.
A major difference between the professions is the way they are paid. A general contractor is paid based on their bid for the project. If the completed project costs less than the bid, the general contractor keeps the difference. If the project will take longer or cost more than the bid, they must either charge the client more money or change the project specifications.
A construction manager is paid a flat fee that is usually a percentage of the total cost of the project. They set and oversee the budget, but unlike a general contractor, they are paid the same amount whether the project goes over or under budget.
Subcontractors and Site Supervision
Both general contractors and construction managers hire and coordinate subcontractors. One difference, however, is that a general contractor usually has a network of trusted electricians, plumbers, and other subcontractors. Over time, these subcontractors develop a sense of teamwork and cohesiveness.
A construction manager hires subcontractors, but their immediate team usually consists of project managers, accountants, and other professionals who do not do construction work. The team works at every stage of the project, from design to completion.
General contractors and construction managers may hire supervisors to oversee a construction site. A general contractor implements and oversees job-site safety, while a construction manager oversees the constructors’ adherence to safety procedures and building codes.
Credentials for General Contractor vs Construction Manager
Qualifications for both professions vary from state to state. In Massachusetts, general contractors and construction managers must obtain a construction supervisor license from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections. Both professions require three years of work experience in building construction and design. Enrollment in a relevant vocational school or college degree program can substitute for some of the job experience.
Although it is not required for a license, a bachelor’s degree in construction management can be an advantage when looking for a job as a construction manager.
At RH Blanchard, we’re the experts when it comes to Boston-area general contracting and project development. Get in touch today for a free consultation.