June 23, 2022

General Contractor & Construction Manager Differences

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Before you begin a commercial construction project, it’s important to understand the roles and responsibilities of possible partners. A couple of titles that sometimes get intermingled are a general contractor and a construction manager. So, what are the real core differences, and what impact will either have on your particular project?

We get these questions often, especially when working with clients who are newer to the commercial construction process. Here’s what you, as a property owner, need to know about a general contractor vs a construction manager. We’ll also outline what you need to know about how each can bring value to your upcoming project. Understanding each role will make it easier in making final decisions on bids, processes, and commercial construction partners.

Distinguishing Definitions and the Basics

Let’s start with the commercial construction terms and basics. When exploring options for a general contractor or a construction manager, these are the general distinguishing definitions and their responsibilities. Keep in mind, some companies may define roles slightly differently or assign varying responsibilities based on experience.

The Role of a General Contractor

A general contractor for commercial construction work is usually chosen through a bidding process. They generally oversee the project while also performing some of the work themselves. General contractors oversee all aspects of the work and manage contractors needed to complete various portions of the job.

A general contractor will create a project schedule and cost estimate to follow timelines and maintain the budget. This person most often is selected or chosen by the property owner.

The Role of a Construction Manager

The construction manager’s role is primarily that of the property owner’s representative throughout the entire project. A construction manager oversees all aspects of the work and manages subcontractors needed to complete various portions of the job. However, specific circumstances, such as project size and extensive scope, may warrant a construction manager over a general contractor.

What Credentials Are Required for Each Role?

Every general contractor and construction manager will present unique experiences and credentials on their resumes. And both will need to have first-hand, on-the-job training and experience to consider them professionals in their crafts. The best way to determine a potential provider’s capabilities is to contact several of their previous clients. The length of time they have been in the construction industry cues their level of experience and connections with reliable subcontractors.

Licensing and certifications will vary by state. You can use this outline as a general guide of what each role will likely present. Jerdon Construction is fully licensed to work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to act as a property owner’s construction manager.

General Contractor Vs Construction Manager

Before you officially make your commercial project partnership decision, ask for credentials, licensing, bonding, and insurance requirements.

How Each Contributes to the Commercial Construction Project

Now that you understand these roles, you can learn how each can contribute to your specific project. Here’s a breakdown of the more common “best fit” qualities to help you determine your next steps.

General Contractor Vs Construction Manager

Consider these distinctions as they apply to your commercial construction project. From there, you can determine which professional will make the most sense to your timeline, budget, preferences, and processes.

Is One Better Than the Other?

The construction manager is involved in the design and execution of a project from start to finish. This can allow more effective project management leading to better results. In some studies, 76% of property owners reported either “very good” or “excellent” experiences with the design-build strategy. Here are some industry organizations you can rely on for additional information about evaluating construction execution processes and management styles.

Before making a decision on your project, it is important to know your objectives and speak with multiple providers. This will help you choose the right approach. Here is a quick checklist to consider when vetting potential partners.

  • Check professionalism, reviews, and years of experience.
  • Review education, licensing, and certifications.
  • Inquire about the ability of the construction partner to undertake the scope of work and budget.
  • Ask about communication commitments, and contract documents including progress reports.
  • Verify ability to secure permits, necessary construction documents, and reputable subcontractors.
  • Discuss quality control and safety measures on the construction site.

Let Jerdon Construction Be Your Guide

Take all the guesswork out of who to hire and approach to take with your project plans by calling Jerdon Construction. We harness the best of all commercial construction solutions to apply only the best-fit strategies to each project. Whether you’re focused on a construction manager engagement or a general contractor engagement, we can help.

Jerdon Construction Management

When partnering with Jerdon Construction you can expect us to fully represent your interests and provide complete oversight and project management. Our team will coordinate with all parties, contractors, and vendors to ensure every execution step is on-time and within budget. You’ll appreciate our high standards for quality designs and builds, scope of work execution, and functionality of your final results.

The Worry-Free General Contracting Solution

The key to a successful general contracting experience is having the innate ability to overcome challenges. A commercial construction project is going to be wrought with unforeseen obstacles that only the best general contractors can overcome.

Jerdon Construction will provide you with the creativity and problem-solving you need to have a worry-free project experience. We have the reliable teams needed to self-perform construction tasks. We’ve been working in the commercial construction industry for long enough to have a reliable network of subcontractors. We’re able to handle every detail of a project, from the design phase to final inspection and completion.

For anyone who’s exploring partnership options for a commercial construction project, consider these distinctions between general contractors and construction managers. And give Jerdon Construction a call when you’re ready to make your project partner decisions!