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What is a Commercial General Contractor?

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AH Construction is a commercial general contractor based in San Diego, CA. Our goal is to help with all stages of a commercial construction project, from initial design to finalization.

But to understand whether our services are what you’re looking for, it’ll be helpful to define exactly what we mean by general commercial contractor. So, that’s what we’ll do here.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a company that oversees various companies and stages involved in a construction project. For example, a general contractor would manage builders, electricians, safety personnel, etc. during the project. We refer to these companies as contractors or subcontractors.

But a general contractor will also manage the construction site, building materials, equipment and vendors to keep everything running smoothly. After all, a construction project has numerous stakeholders and companies involved, so it helps to have one general contractor bringing everything together.

These services are applicable to both new build and renovation projects. Finally, a general contractor can also assist with design, predevelopment consulting, project planning and more to ensure you’ve got a clear idea of every project stage before it even starts.

What is a Commercial Contractor?

A commercial contractor is arguably much easier to define. In short, it’s a contractor that works specifically on commercial projects rather than residential ones. This would include hospitals, stores, tenancy buildings, offices and much more. Essentially, a commercial project is anything that isn’t a residential property.

Commercial projects have much larger specifications, from budgets and timeframes to building regulations and subcontractors. Therefore, a commercial contractor is experienced in dealing with these specific requirements.

Commercial General Contractor Responsibilities

Putting these two definitions together gives us a commercial general contractor. It’s a company that oversees a commercial construction project. As such, their responsibilities would include:

• Sourcing materials that match the project and commercial building regulations

• Understanding and complying with local and/or national codes and zoning rules

• Communicating between contractors, subcontractors and project stakeholders

• Arranging appropriate equipment for the project

• Logistics and project updates

As you can see, a commercial general contractor must balance numerous elements. Larger and more complicated projects can be even harder to juggle, which is why you should hire a commercial general contractor with relevant experience. Theoretically, having a single company managing all stages of the project will make things run more smoothly.

What Work Does a Commercial General Contractor Do?

A commercial general contractor will work on any commercial project. These might include:

• Hospitals/medical centers

• Restaurants

• Retail spaces

• Offices

• Warehouses

• Tenancy buildings/communal spaces

• Recreational facilities

Essentially, it would cover any public space that isn’t a private residence. This means there’s a lot of variation in the types of projects a commercial contractor could cover. Similarly, you might have commercial contractors that specialize in renovations and remodels over new builds, as these have different design requirements.

From a client’s perspective, it can help to hire a general contractor that specializes in a particular niche of commercial construction. This will likely be the case for unique projects, but if you have a fairly standard project (such as an office remodel), simply look for a general contractor with the most relevant experience.

How to Hire a Commercial General Contractor

Considering a commercial general contractor will be overseeing every stage of your project, it’s worth putting in the effort to find one that suits your needs. Be sure to consider the following factors during your hiring process.

Look for Local Companies

The first step will be to search for local commercial general contractors. Not only will they be experienced with the needs of your area but they’ll also have the correct licensing for the project.

Also, they’ll have good connections with local construction firms and contractors, meaning your project should come together more easily.

Understand Your Budget and What It Can Get

You should have a budget in mind for your project. However, if you haven’t done anything like this before, it can be difficult to decide on it without any outside help. To get this, you should contact several local general commercial contractors and ask for their advice.

In theory, they should be able to give you a rough idea of cost based on the information you give. Don’t expect it to be super accurate, as it’ll vary based on material choices, length of project, etc. Consider using this calculator to get an estimate for your project.

Based on your estimate, get a couple of companies to bid their costs for the project. You can then use this information to help you decide which company will be best.

Check Licensing and Insurance

All commercial general contractors should have licensing and insurance to work in your area. Make sure you check proof of both before hiring a general contractor to work on your project. Their insurance cost might be included in their bid, but you should be able to check all the relevant documents before the project begins.

Quality of Work

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should check the quality of their work. This includes not only their finished projects but also their professionalism during the project. To check this, consider reaching out to their previous clients or see if they’ve got reviews online.

You can usually find evidence of their previous projects on the company’s website. Look for projects similar to what you want and see if you’re happy with the style and results.

After making contact, spend some time discussing the project. You should get a feel for how they communicate and understand your needs. A professional company should be able to convert your ideas into plans without much difficulty.

Final Thoughts

By understanding what a general commercial contractor does, you should be able to make a more informed hiring decision. After all, if one company will oversee your entire project, it helps if they’re the right one for the job!

AH Construction is a commercial general contractor based in San Diego, and we’ve worked on a wide range of projects in the area. You can learn more about our remodel and new-build projects by browsing our website. And, if you have any questions or would like to discuss things further, feel free to get in touch.