The Difference Between Construction Manager and General Contractor
There are numerous companies across the globe and the stakeholders of a construction project. In other words, every individual involved in this kind of project- the architect, construction manager, general contractor, and others have different functions. However, all of these individual entities come together to make the project a truly successful one only with the help of a conductor who provides necessary guidance and directs the project accordingly on the right budget and within the specified time.
The Construction Manager or General Contractor is responsible for this stirring and conducting in massive commercial projects. These ones have the same goal, which is to execute the project satisfactorily. Meanwhile, the Construction Manager and General Contractor are differentiated by their process of selection for the particular project, what relationship they have with the owner of the project and the entire organizational structure.
On a project, the General Contractor is basically an individual who oversees the management of the daily activities on the construction site. In simple terms, they are the ones at the forefront of building or constructing the building. That does not mean they are the ones who do the labor but they have their own people (employees and laborers). The employees can be the project manager or foreman. These ones either do the project all by themselves or make use of other special subcontractors.
The general idea is that a number of subcontractors complete about 80-90% of the project work in large commercial projects. In this case, the General Contractor doubles as the project manager because his primary assignment is to coordinate the work of these subcontractors and stand in as the liaison when communicating with the architect or project owner on project activities.
The method of awarding projects to some General Contractors can be based on the previous relationships they have had with the owner or architect. Nonetheless, it is expedient for them to submit a proposal to be considered at all. The architect gives the contractors who received an invitation to bid a set of the completed plans and specifications. After that, the General Contractor collects proposals from the interested subcontractors, especially the ones with the lowest price bids and add every extra markup and overhead costs in the final bid submission. Once the submitted proposals have been reviewed, the owner of the project then selects and awards the project on the basis of price and quality.
Similarly, it is the responsibility of the General Contractor to ensure the entire project is kept within budget. The General Contractor gets whatever is left from the project once the overall costs of the completed project are found to be lesser than the bid price. The unused funds are then kept as profit. However, in a situation where there is a cost overrun, the owner of the project is asked for more funds or his consent sought for altering the scope of the project. This often happens when the General Contractor was not part of the pre-construction phase in order to provide better accurate estimates.
Generally, the Construction Manager has a more collaborative relationship with the project owner. As against what we have with the General Contractor, the Construction Manager does not have to be involved in some competitive bid to be selected. In other words, they are most often than not, selected on the basis of their experience against the lowest price and qualifications. In addition, their payment is on fee-based pricing (at once as a lump sum, a percentage of the total project costs or per hour). That means they do not have any form of competition whatsoever with the General Contractor in terms of profit.
Whatever the situation is, as an individual or an organization on its own, the Construction Manager is introduced into the project at the very initial stage to provide inputs on the design and directly work with the subcontractors in order to provide costs that are realizable and time-frames that are achievable. When subcontractors are involved in the design phase, they cater to all of the possible adjustments that could be made during the pre-construction process against the changes incurred in the construction phase. Thus, the Construction Manager does the onsite supervision of the subcontractors the same way the General Contractor would but the Construction Manager has a more direct and collaborative relationship with the owner of the project or the architect.
Actually, it is not every time that there would be cost savings when either of these individuals or organizations are used. The most significant difference is just in the collaborative partnership or relationship the Construction Manager has with the owner and their participation in the early phase of the project before construction begins. In a contrary manner, in a situation where there is some level of established relationship between the owner of the project and the General Contractor, the General Contractor takes on the role of the Construction Manager and is introduced early enough in the project to provide advice, participate in the design phase and provide some more accuracy with the estimates. Similarly, the General Contractor does not have to submit a competitive bid proposal to be selected but rather, give a more realistic proposal on the basis of their insight into the design development.
As a sum, the owner of the project or the architect makes the preference between choosing the General Contractor or the Construction Manager or better still perform an evaluation on a project-by-project basis. Whichever way, everyone has to contribute their own quota to achieve a successful project and deliver a satisfactory job to the owner.
I’m glad you talked about construction professionals and how to choose the right one for your project. Recently, my cousin said he’s interested in investing in a developing project. My cousin needs to find the right expert for the job, so I’ll be sure to share your guide with him. Thanks for the advice on construction managers and how they work closely with you. https://www.uplanddevelopers.com/bathroom-remodeling
Thank you for your feedback. Please provide us with your cousin’s contact info to see how we can help him.
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Love what you said about “The Difference Between Construction Manager and General Contractor”
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Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.
I thought it was interesting when you explained that a construction manager has a collaborative relationship with the owner of the project. If I were to guess, I would think that a manager would probably help with the scheduling and budgeting for a construction process. That way the plans can be made by someone who is professionally trained to run a project.
My husband and I are planning to have our apartment building constructed within this year, that’s why we’re thinking of hiring a construction manager for the job. I agree with you that a construction manager will work hand in hand with us and their design inputs will be expected. Going through this project on our own will be difficult because we’re also attending to other difficult matters, that’s why we will need a manager that will be able to communicate well with the subcontractors.
Thanks, Rachel! Please let us know if we can assist you in any way.
Thanks for helping me understand the difference between a general contractor and a construction manager. I’ve been seeing a lot of ads regarding general contractors for hire and I wanted to know what they do. The idea of hiring someone who can ensure that the entire project is kept within budget, along with sourcing the people who can do the job for you is brilliant. My brother is thinking of building his dream home within this year and this might just work out for him.
Thanks, Zachary! I’m glad we could help you. Please let us know if you have any suggested topics for our next articles.
It’s great that this article talks about how it’s important to find a construction contractor who you’re compatible with by asking questions. Doing this could help you learn more about the services they offer as well as handle problems during the project. This could ensure they can make any necessary repairs or changes so that the project will be completed with the best results.
Good point, Chunitha!
It’s interesting to know that hiring a general contractor will help you to oversee your project to ensure the quality of the work. My husband and I are thinking about remodeling our house, and we are looking for advice about how to plan it properly. I will let him know about the benefits of hiring a general contractor to oversee my husband’s project.
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In large commercial projects, the conductor is either a Construction Manager or General Contractor. Thank you so much for sharing a great article.
My cousin is thinking about adding on to her home so that she can add another room so that her kids won’t have to share a room. She would love to get some help by talking to a professional so that she will know what she should do to her home. It was interesting to learn about how a general contractor can help make sure that the project stays within her budget because they keep the unused funds.
I had no idea that construction managers came into the project in the design phase and so they could work closely with the subcontractors. My sister owns a construction company and she told me she couldn’t decide if she wanted to hire a project manager. I’ll pass this information onto my sister so she can decide sooner than later.
I found it interesting when you said that a construction manager has a more collaborative relationship with the project owner. My brother told me that his boss is asking him to help him find the best way to build a new office where they can show the newest products. I will definitely tell my brother to contact a construction manager so that he can get better advice. Can you help him?
It’s interesting to know that a general contractor will help you to oversee the management of the daily activities of your project. My husband and I are thinking about remodeling our backyard, and we are looking for advice. I will let them know about the benefits of hiring a general contractor to ensure the quality of the project.
I like how you said that construction managers give inputs on the design. My brother is helping my husband with a construction project and he heard him talking about hiring a construction manager and didn’t know much about them. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to him so he can know more about them.
It’s interesting how construction management is in charge of conducting inputs with the design, costs that are realizable, and time frames that are achievable. My best friend wants to build his house, but he’s not sure of all the steps to make it happen. Thank you for helping me learn more about construction management, I’m going to let my friend know about the help it can provide on his home project.
My mom is planning to remodel parts of our home because it looks worn out and she’s looking for contractors for the job. It was explained here that a general contractor oversees the daily activities on the construction site. Moreover, it’s recommended to hire professional general contractors for quality services.
I love what you said about subcontractors and how they accomplish around 80-90% of the actual labor. Working with a construction contractor is a smart move when it comes to properly building an edifice with an intended purpose. If I were to require such services, I would make an effort to get in touch with a contractor that has a solid reputation with the general public.
If construction managers have a collaborative relationship with me, I think I would be able to deliver my plans more clearly with them. I like that they can provide inputs on the design and collaborate with the subcontractors for more feasible tasks. Since it would depend on my preference on whether to choose a general contractor or a construction manager, I think hiring a construction manager would be more ideal.
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Gary R Steudte
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