General Contracting is a project delivery method in which an Owner issues a complete set of construction drawings developed by an architect to interested construction firms. The general contractors then develop pricing for the cost of materials, labor, equipment, insurance and other factors associated with that specific project. In order to develop their pricing, general contractors reach out to subcontractors and solicit bids for the various components of the project (e.g. concrete or structural steel). Once bids are received from the subcontractors, they are evaluated by the general contractor to ensure the entire scope of the project is accounted for. Finally, one comprehensive bid is submitted to the Owner. After all bids are received from the participating general contractors, the Owner (and oftentimes the architect) reviews each of the bids for completeness and the lowest responsible bidder is awarded the contract for the construction of the project.
- Both the Design Team and the General Contractor are individually accountable to the Owner.
- Once bids are received, the Owner contracts with the lowest responsible General Contractor. The General Contractor awarded the project in turn contracts with his or her lowest responsible bidding Trade Contractors.
- General Contracting typically results in highly aggressive pricing results due to competition among the bidding General Contractors.
- General Contracting does not allow for contractor input during the design phase on project planning, scheduling or budgeting.
- This linear design – bid – build process oftentimes means a longer schedule duration than other construction delivery methods.
- The price is not established until bids are received from General Contractors; as a result, the schedule may be lengthened if bids exceed the budget and re-design and re-bidding are necessary.