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Whether it is remodeling a kitchen, building a house or erecting a 100-story office complex, these jobs all have one thing in common. They all can involve both a general contractor and a subcontractor. While both are equally important, there are some key differences between the roles of a general contractor and a subcontractor on a construction job.

General Contractor

Every large project needs someone to manage it to make sure it is completed to spec, on time, and on budget. In construction, this job falls on the general contractor or GC. The GC’s job is to oversee the entire project from start to finish. The GC will develop and execute a plan to ensure the project is completed on time. They will be responsible for pulling any necessary permits and ensuring the project will meet all local building codes and regulations. The GC will work directly with the client throughout the process to keep them informed of any setbacks or unexpected costs that arise.

It is the responsibility of the general contractor to hire all of the subcontractors, who specialize in one area of construction. The GC will make sure the subcontractors have a safe working environment and are provided the equipment and materials needed to complete their job. The GC will ensure that the subcontractors complete their jobs on time and according to plan. When each task is done, the GC will handle payment to the subcontractor.



While the general contractor manages the project, it is the role of the subcontractor to follow the plan. Subcontractors are specialists in one area of construction and are hired by the GC to complete one aspect of the project. A few examples of subcontractors are plumbers, electricians, and painters.

Unlike the general contractor, the subcontractor will normally not deal directly with the client. Any issues the subcontractor runs into will be communicated to the general contractor. The GC will either deal with the problem themselves or consult with the client to come up with an agreeable solution.

While very different in their roles, both general contractors and subcontractors are vital in the completion of a project. They need to work together to make sure the job is completed on time, on budget, and to the client’s satisfaction.