Have you ever wondered what the difference was between your general contractor and project manager? What about a general contractor acting as a project manager?
You are not alone! In order to help clear any confusion, we’ve broken down the roles as well as responsibilities that each plays in your construction project.
Both a general contractor and a project manager are viewed as lead contractors on the job and it can be difficult to recognize the difference. Their operation is similar, and it’s common for a general contractor to operate a project or construction manager at times.
Beyond their similarity, general contractors and project managers are fundamentally different.
When examining each person’s organizational structure, it can be easiest to view a general contractor as a business entity. A general contractor usually has its set of employees with skilled trades.
A general contractor will also have an access to a variety of subcontractors they have worked with on other construction projects. This serves as an advantage because everyone is already familiar with working together and operational procedures; there is a certain level of cooperation and loyalty among the familiar parties.
A project manager sometimes referred to as the construction manager, could be an individual or a group of people. The key difference is that staff that actually performs the work are not employees.
If you happen to have both on your project, it is common to have a general contractor handle the structure changes and overall project responsibility, hiring and scheduling vendors, etc. while the project manager handles the day-to-day operations, such as meeting with your sub-contractors and handling the non-structural projects in-between.
General Contractor Acting as Project Manager
It is not uncommon for a general contractor to also act as the project or construction manager. This is more about trust and relationship to the owner. In some instances, the owner may request the general contractor also handle the project’s management.