Building a new home or having your property developed is a serious undertaking. You’ll be sinking in a substantial investment, so you need a good construction team with you. The question now is whether you need a general contractor or a building developer.
There have been countless debates about the merits of a contractor vs a building developer. A lot of people believe that there’s no difference between the two. There is, but it’s easy to see why people believe that especially since their duties and responsibilities overlap. However, it’s the distinction between a contractor and builder that could mean the difference between your project running smoothly or ending up in a disaster.
Contractor vs Building Developer: What’s the Difference?
To understand what sets a contractor apart from a builder or developer, you have to delve deeper into the details. A general contractor (GC) is the person who manages the entire project. He/she sees the big picture and will be at the helm from start to finish.
A contractor has a team of people working on all aspects of the project. In some instances, the GC might bring subcontractors on board to work on specific jobs, like the electrical layout.
A contractor is also responsible for estimating the total cost of the construction project. The cost will depend on several factors, like the scope and requirements of the project, the subcontractor’s fee, and the client’s budget.
Meanwhile, a builder’s job is more exact. He/she is in charge of the actual construction. From laying down the foundation, setting the frame, installing the roof, and putting down the tiles, all of these are under the builder’s purview. The mechanical, electrical, and HVAC aspects of the job are usually outsourced, although some builders will take on the task as well.
A developer is different from a general contractor and builder. Developers usually work with several housing construction projects simultaneously. As the name implies, a developer will take a plot or area of raw land and develop it into a residential, commercial, or industrial complex.
This often entails dividing the land into plots, allotting spaces for streets, installing the sewer and water systems, and the power lines. Once all that has been laid out, it’s the builder’s turn to come in and construct the commercial or residential structures.
Different Types of Builders
There are several types of builders, and they differ in job scope and specialty. There are “custom” and “semi-custom” builders, “production” builders, and “volume” builders.
Production builders put up numerous houses, one after the other. Volume builders are the same, except they build in larger volumes in multiple areas and different markets.
A custom builder specializes in unique houses and buildings. They typically work with architects who will be responsible for the one-of-a-kind designs. Meanwhile, semi-custom builders work with a basic plan but will redesign it based on the owner/buyer’s preference.
Construction Manager vs General Contractor: Are They the Same?
A construction manager is another confusing element of the construction hierarchy. Like with builders, many people believe there’s no distinction between a general contractor and a construction manager.
The two jobs are undeniably similar and the people in those roles are often considered as the project’s leaders. However, there’s a fundamental difference between the two’s place in the organization, where and when they enter the project, and their relationship with the client.
Aside from the previously mentioned description of a GC’s task, a contractor is more of a business entity. Meanwhile, a construction manager (CM) can either be a group of people with different specialties or an individual. A CM can be the architect, accountant, estimator, or project manager.
The construction manager is already involved in the early stages of the project. They can help with the pre-construction phase and can oversee the entire project. The CM also represents the owner and speaks for them. They make sure that what the client wants prevails. Unlike the GC, the construction manager’s fee is based on a set percentage of the project’s cost.
The overlap in tasks and responsibilities means it’s not unusual for a contractor to take on the job of a construction manager and vice versa. But do you really need a construction manager? The answer depends on you, but there are benefits to having one.
A CM can provide the client with expertise to ensure they’ll get the best result. They can help prune costs with their views on the scope of the project and the schedule. They provide much-needed checks and balances when it comes to tough decisions and decide for the client if they’re not available.
Did you find the article enlightening? Then you’ll enjoy reading this post on the Best Real Estate Construction Projects to Invest In.
A Final Word
Deciding whether you need a general contractor, a builder, or a construction manager can be confusing. At Rising Star Properties, we cut through the confusion. We are the leading construction company based in Florida.
We’ve been in business for years and have a team of dedicated construction professionals who can easily manage any building or remodeling project. Drop us a line at [email protected] You can also call us at (386) 316-9218 or (561) 301-3222.