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Why Hire a Contractor If Subcontractors Can Do All the Work?

    • Admin
    • 02 Mar 2021


    In construction projects, two key roles often come into play: construction managers and general contractors. While both positions are integral to the successful completion of a project, they have distinct responsibilities and advantages. In this blog post, we'll explore the positives and negatives of construction managers versus general contractors to help you better understand these roles and make informed decisions.

    Construction Managers:


    Expert Project Management: Construction managers excel in project coordination, overseeing all aspects from start to finish. They handle planning, scheduling, and resource allocation, ensuring efficient workflow and timely completion. Flexibility in Subcontractor Selection: Construction managers have the freedom to choose subcontractors based on expertise and price, allowing for more competitive bidding and access to specialized skills. Cost Control: With an emphasis on cost management, construction managers closely monitor budgets, negotiate pricing, and implement value engineering practices, potentially resulting in cost savings for clients. Enhanced Collaboration: Construction managers foster effective collaboration among stakeholders, including architects, engineers, subcontractors, and clients. Their role is to facilitate communication, manage conflicts, and ensure everyone is aligned with project goals.


    Limited Liability: Construction managers typically do not self-perform construction work, which means they may have limited control over the quality of workmanship and material selection. This places more responsibility on the subcontractors. Potential Communication Challenges: With multiple parties involved, communication breakdowns can occur if the construction manager fails to maintain clear and consistent communication channels. Higher Administrative Overhead: Construction managers require dedicated administrative support to handle documentation, contracts, permits, and other paperwork. This can add to project costs.

    General Contractors:


    Single Point of Contact: General contractors serve as the primary point of contact for clients, subcontractors, and vendors. They handle all communication, reducing the burden on clients and ensuring a streamlined process. Comprehensive Project Responsibility: General contractors take full responsibility for the project, overseeing subcontractors, managing schedules, and ensuring quality control. They provide end-to-end project management and are accountable for project outcomes. Expertise in Construction Execution: General contractors have the necessary skills and experience to self-perform construction work. This allows for better control over quality, scheduling, and coordination among subcontractors. Simplified Contractual Relationships: Clients only need to engage with the general contractor, simplifying contractual relationships and minimizing potential conflicts.


    Limited Subcontractor Selection: General contractors often have preferred subcontractors they work with regularly, limiting the pool of available options. This may result in higher costs or limited access to specialized subcontractors. Potential for Higher Costs: General contractors typically add a fee or markup to subcontractor costs to cover their management and overhead expenses. This can result in higher overall project costs compared to hiring subcontractors directly. Potential Conflict of Interest: Since general contractors may have their own construction crews, there is a possibility of bias toward self-performed work, which may not always be the most cost-effective or suitable option.


    Both construction managers and general contractors play critical roles in the successful execution of construction projects. Construction managers excel in project coordination, cost control, and collaboration, while general contractors provide comprehensive project responsibility, simplified contractual relationships, and expertise in construction execution. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific project requirements, client preferences, and the desired level of control and involvement. Working closely with industry professionals and understanding the unique strengths and limitations of each role will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals.