Below are the sixteen divisions of general contractors and the work and materials (and a few problems) associated with each:
16 Divisions Of General Contractors
This is all support costs associated with a project such as insurance costs, permits, job-site trailer costs (utility connections), portable toilets, dumpsters, office administrative expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. Be sure you ask what the general contractor includes in this category as it can be a catch-all for anything he wants to add to a project.
This is the preliminary excavation, filling, and leveling that might need to be done before a project begins. Roughing-out of landscape features is also done during this stage. Problems that can arise during site work are many, including hitting sewage, electrical, or gas lines that can delay and sometimes even halt construction. Before excavation begins, be sure the contractor has contacted the local authorities to determine if any city or county lines run under or near the house. Also, make sure you and the contractor agree on any plants or trees that need to be protected during the project.
Foundations, footings, and floor slabs are the common uses of concrete, but you might also need it for fuel tank or motor-home pads, pools, walks, or curbs. Weather plays an important factor in the pouring of concrete, so this is a stage that can often be delayed.
If you have brick or block foundations, fireplaces, or other structural or veneer installations then qualified masons will be employed. The primary complaint about brick-laying is in the brick itself. Be sure you’ve inspected the brick that the contractor has ordered to match the color and texture you’ve chosen.
You may have steel framing or decorative metal elements in the building.
Wood And Plastics
This comprises the wood framing stage, including sub-flooring and decks, but also shelving and finished carpentry details such as kitchen cabinetry. The contractor should give you an idea of the grade of lumber to be used. Also, inquire into the expertise of the carpenters scheduled to do the trim and detail work.
Thermal And Moisture Protection
Any new building or remodeling will need to include insulation, waterproofing, sealing, siding, and other plans to keep the external elements out while at the same time allowing the house to breathe and prevent mold on the inside. It’s not just the walls that need insulation, but foundations and ceilings as well. Siding is a major decision, whether it be stucco, brick, clapboard, aluminum, vinyl, or any countless other sidings. This can add or save a lot of money on the project.
Doors And Windows
There’s a lot here to decide on with a contractor including types of windows and doors, ventilation, sealing, hardware for doors and key and lock systems.
Be sure to discuss painting, wall finishes, tile, countertop, veneer, and any sound-proofing needs you might have. Coordination of interior design and colors will have to be done either between you and the contractor or between the contractor and an interior designer.
This generic category includes any bathroom accessories, shutters, pull-down stairs, handicapped accessibility, and even mailboxes.
Another general category, but contractors use it for general appliance installation, garage door openers, kitchen and laundry equipment, and safes. Be mindful that the installation of large equipment must keep in mind the dimensions of rooms so that you can actually get the piece of equipment into its appointed space.
This is the interior decorative elements such as window treatments and anything that’s not permanently attached to the house. This may not even be relevant to most building projects, but if you’re using a general contractor to design, build, and furnish the entire house, then this is another category to watch.
This is often a separate structure from the main house, such as a greenhouse, sauna, or steam room, but can also include darkrooms, exercise rooms, and home theaters. While this is on the high end of things, it’s something that a qualified general contractor can handle and is sometimes an expert in.
Specialty items such as wheel-chair lifts, elevators, dumbwaiters.
This is the respiratory system of the house, its plumbing, fans, air-conditioning, water heating and filtering, and even solar energy systems, if relevant. Be aware of insulation requirements for pipes to prevent heat loss and increase energy savings. Also, there are several options available now for heating water including boiler or furnace with a fuel source of oil, natural or propane gas, electricity, solar, or wood.
This is the central nervous system of your house and includes electrical service, controls, lighting, receptacles, communication and computer systems (wireless and Ethernet lines), thermostats, and fire prevention systems. There are a lot of code specifications that your contractor can talk to you about, but personal preferences also come into play including making sure you have the wall jacks where you want them.
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