Building contractors or general contractors are construction professionals that contract other individuals or companies for the construction or renovation of a house, building, road or any other structure. They provide estimates to clients by studying the blueprints of the structure. Subsequently, once a contract is signed, building contractors will then be responsible for the means and methods to be used in the construction of the house, building or road. They have to make sure that all the details of the signed contract will be met.
Building contractors, especially established ones, already have their own equipment, manpower and even construction materials to supply their clients. However, for those who are still starting out, the only way to execute the contract agreement is to contract other contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Building contractors often work 24/7 throughout the duration of the project to be able to immediately solve problems that may occur from accidents or those caused by the weather. Other problems that may occur are lack of materials, malfunctioning equipment and lack of manpower.
Building contractors also accept projects for different government agencies and they are often referred to as the prime contractors. They often follow the same procedures similar to contracts they accept for private clients. In general, building contractors specialize in one type and size of construction project. Commercial contractors, however, sometimes accept residential projects and vice versa but most rarely take on large scale public works projects such as building industrial sites, bridges and sewage systems to name a few.
Building contractors often start out as construction workers mastering in carpentry, insulation, landscaping, plumbing and other similar jobs. After gaining the necessary skills, they will then work as apprentices or assistants for other contractors or developers. Before becoming a contractor themselves, they should have at least 5 years of experience in the contracting field and have certifications in mastering a construction skill. They are also required to get a degree in construction science, construction management or civil engineering. Many states require contractors to be licensed before they can work and get clients from the area. Building contractors must complete several requirements before they can be granted their licenses.
Other ways of getting a license aside from taking a four year course degree is to attend training programs plus at least two years of college programs in construction science or construction technology. The American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America often offer voluntary certification programs for aspiring contractors. Once you have completed the requirements and passed the written examinations, you will be granted your certification.
Working as a building contractor can be very demanding and stressful but can also be very fulfilling. With an average $69,870 annual income and with the employment rate for contractors and other construction personnel and workers increasing until 2014 (according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), there will surely be a lot of opportunities for building contractors for the next few years.