General Contractors are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a commercial building site, the management of trades and vendors, and the coordination of information for all involved parties. This means that the General Contractor must be experienced in the most current standards for safety, waste management, and construction integrity. A General Contractor is usually an architect or engineer that brings together a team of other experts to build a structure. The General Contractor is generally responsible for the entire construction project from beginning to end.
In a nutshell, roofing contractors are responsible for planning, designing, and orchestrating the entire construction project. They are the architect or engineer who takes the blueprints and sets the development stage, negotiating contracts with subcontractors and suppliers, supervising construction employees, and overseeing any changes that may need to be made during the project. The General Contractor essentially ‘manages’ the project. There are some key differences between general contractors and their sub-contractors. A General Contractor must have a large staff to include several design specialists and a large variety of subcontractors and sub-contractors. General Contractors must also set up and maintain a large facility such as a shop or manufacturing floor to perform all the necessary work, including materials gathering, bids reviewing and designing the project, testing and inspecting the project, and eventually approving it for completion.
A critical distinction between a General Contractor and a Handyman is that Handymen are licensed professionals. All licensed Handymen have had a certain amount of training, typically one year of professional experience working under another professional such as a plumber, roofer, electrician, etc. The general contractor does not have this level of training and is considered an inexperienced contractor. In addition, the General Contractor does not have insurance coverage like the handyman does because he/she is regarded as an unlicensed contractor. So, in essence, a licensed professional (such as a plumber) is responsible for any resulting injuries during a job.
In addition to having no license requirements, general contractors must take and pass comprehensive and often multiple sclerosis-based exams. This demonstrates to contracting agencies that the general contractors have taken the time to study and acquire these essential skills. Having these skills requires that the contractors follow strict construction management and scheduling system. As you can see, the general contractor’s job description is quite different than that of the handyman.
Most people face the most common scenario with the construction industry being on the receiving end of a General Contractor lien notice. The General Contractor has filed a lien against your property, which is currently being collected. If the construction project is delayed, you will be sued for your past payments. If the project is completed and you are not paid in full, you may be issued a final demand for payment. The problem with these demands is that they are not required to show a lien before a contractor receives his/her last request for payment.
Some may think that by being licensed to work in the construction field, the general contractors cannot sue for past due payments or damages. This is not the case in all states. In most states, contractors are required to have a valid license in order to collect past due wages.
Once you have received a General Contractor’s final demand for payment, you must then take action. Most states have a time limit within which you must bring your dispute to the attention of the contractor’s counsel. During this period, if you do not receive an amount that is in compliance with your preliminary notice, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the contractor. Once you receive the complaint, you will need to respond to the complaint within two months unless you can prove that the defendant knew of the non-compliance prior to hiring you (i.e., the contractor requested a copy of your GCT; the builder/developer did not request a copy).
Most states require general contractors to obtain a state license in order to provide services in that state. In some cases, however, these laws are only implemented to protect the rights of consumers and contractors alike. For example, the rules regarding workers’ compensation (as implemented by various states) generally require contractors to be licensed before they can engage in contract work. In other instances, the state laws only require contractors to have liability insurance – and typically this is just to ensure that the contractors’ personal property is protected from damage in the event of an injury. Regardless of whether or not a contractor is required to obtain a state license, obtaining one will usually help guarantee that your contractor adheres to applicable laws and regulations.