Contractors are defined in each state according to the law and are usually considered those who contract, bid, negotiate a price or offers to construct, supervise, oversee, schedule, direct, alter, repair, install, improve, move, demolish, furnish labor, etc.


There are various types of Contractors such as building (residential and commercial); electrical; plumbing; mechanical; highway; and environmental, etc.

  • Contracts - A Building Contractor is an organization or individual that contracts with another organization or individual (the Owner) for the construction of a building, road or any other execution of work or facility.
  • Construction - A Building Contractor is responsible for the means and methods to be used in the construction/execution of the project in accordance with the Contract documents which usually include the Contract agreement, budget, the plans and specification of the project that are prepared by a design professional such as an Architect.
  • Supplying of Labour, Materials, Equipment etc. - A Building Contractor usually is responsible for the supplying of all material, labour, equipment, (engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. To do this it is common for the Building Contractor to retain a construction labor force or he may subcontract part of the work to other persons and companies that specialize in these types of work. These are called Subcontractors. Subcontractors put up the foundation, walls, roof, electrical and plumbing systems, supply the labour etc.
  • Owner acting as a Contractor -Occasionally the Owner commissioning the construction of the building, chooses to act as the Contractor. In such cases, he works directly with various Subcontractors and takes on all liability for proper sequencing of the work, and dealing with the realities of construction.
However, more times than not, the risks far outweigh the potential reward of saving the Contractor's profit even if things go perfectly. Owners considering this approach should keep in mind that Contractors make a living working with known Subcontractors. An established Contractor will have established relationships that will outlast one construction project and the Subcontractors will acknowledge this with their cooperation whereas the Owner seldom has this advantage as most Subcontractors will recognize the risk of working with a one time client with higher bids. Also the Owner is likely to be cheated on the quality of building materials and products as he is not an expert in it.


An Owner or Client prepares a program of his needs and selects a site (often in consultation with an Architect). The Architect assembles a design team of Consultant Engineers and other experts to design the building and specify the building systems.Today Contractors frequently provide pre-design services by participating in the design stage to help in getting an accurate estimation of budget and scheduling so as to improve the over all economy of the project. Otherwise the Contractor is hired just to build the building at the close of the design phase.

The Owner, Architect and Building Contractor work closely together to meet deadlines and budget. The Building Contractor then works with Subcontractors to ensure quality standards and make sure that the project is completed within the specified time and budget.

A building contractor has the following duties:

  • Understand plans: Examine and interpret Clients' plans.
  • Arrange sanction plans: Arrange for the drawing of plans to meet building regulations.
  • Submit sanction plans to authorities: Arrange submission of plans to local authorities for approval and arrange inspections of building work.
  • Submit tenders: (offers to do jobs at a stated price), quotes or prices for the project to Clients.
  • Organise Subcontractors: to carry out all stages of building and negotiate rates of pay.
  • Calculate quantities of materials: required for building projects and order these from building suppliers or advertise for tenders.
  • Arrange delivery times of materials to coincide with various stages of the building process
  • Supervise the work of Subcontractors to make sure buildings are of an acceptable standard and are proceeding according to schedule
  • Coordinate the activities of office staff involved in the preparation and payment of accounts
  • Talk to lawyers and financial institutions on matters relating to loans and contracts for building projects
  • Undertake some of the building work personally.

WORK DEMANDS OF A BUILDING CONTRACTOR - A Contractor’s work is mostly outdoor and demands the following:
  • Working in dusty or polluted environment
  • Full use of hands/fingers
  • Heavy lifting
  • Mainly outdoor work
  • Physical effort* Reading or writing
  • Standing for long periods
A Building Contractor must have the following traits in order to make a mark:
  • Good communication skills
  • Management and leadership skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Technical aptitude.
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