If there is any one person that can be said to be essential to the successful completion of a construction project, it would have to be the general contractor. Considered the “point” person in every medium to large-scale construction project, the general contractor is usually involved in every stage of the project, from conception to delivery.
It is important to make the distinction between general contractors and subcontractors. It is easy to mistake the two because they often perform very similar roles in a construction project. One key difference is that while general contractors are often involved in virtually every aspect of construction, subcontractors typically perform only a very specific set of tasks. A general contractor will oversee everything that goes on in the construction site. In contrast, subcontractors will only work on specific aspects of the project, such as the operation of heavy machinery, the mixing of concrete, the installation of plumbing and electrical systems, and carpentry, refinishing, or painting. The general contractor is also always on site, while subcontractors perform only their tasks and then leave when they are done.
The decision on whether or not to hire a general contractor is dependent on your needs and your ability to manage the construction project. Hiring a general contractor is almost always a more expensive proposition, since they will usually need to recoup the cost of the salaries and insurance of the people working for them. On the plus side, you get a fully working team that is ready to go right off the bat.
Hiring a team of subcontractors essentially means that you will have to take on the role of a general contractor yourself. This can save you some money, but it will require a lot of time and hard work on your part. In many instances, it might be more beneficial and cost-effective to hire a general contractor for the basic construction job, and hire subcontractors for specialized tasks that do not require full time personnel.