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To be a General Contractor

General Contractor Meaning


By the term ‘General contractor’ we make reference to a company, or an individual, that deals with the complete execution of a general construction project, renovation contractor or building contractor construction which can be houses, offices, up to a work execution.

At the general contractor is entrusted the complete assignment of the planning and all those essentials steps needed to create the work the client needs. The contract must include, along with the requested work or services, the amount of the available budget, the general conditions and the technical specifications to carry out the clients demanded project.

The general contractor deals with the agreements with raw material’s suppliers or companies specialized in carrying out construction works, renovation, plant building, and all those necessary services in order to respect and carry out the construction project itself.

To fulfil with these duties, it makes use of a subcontractor; we are talking about individuals with great experience and professionalism that are routinely addressed and with whom they have trust based relationships in order to ensure the costumer an absolute assurance and reliability.



* General  Contractor main activities


General Contractor Construction

At a contractual level the full liability towards the service provider represents the major assurance for each person in charge to face and sustain a considerable building, industrial and plant engineering turnkey investment. There are 6 formal levels that differentiate this business model from the most traditional contracts:

1) ENGINEERING. Figure out a new project contract with the client by drawing up a real feasibility study. It must take into account the current urban planning regulations of the geographical area covered by the new project contract, the layout industrial needs of production and the sizing of the process plants. In the construction of new turnkey industrial plants, the plant equipments have the greater role both in terms of design and costs. The importance of a good engineering study is precisely that of identifying, in association with the costumer, the redundancies and the oversizing of those technical factors that actually constitute a productive handicap and sometimes a waste of energy consumptions too. The engineering study ends with the drawing up of the entire project contract documentation in its key phases : preliminary, definitive and executive of the construction site.

2) BUDGET. Envisage to the service provider an overall contract budget for the establishment of an appropriate financial planning of your own investment. The budgeting activity will have to take into account all the areas of expenditure concerning the construction phases as well as the planning and the contract management.

general contractor

3) WORK’S TIMELINE. Gantt represents the heart of the General Contractor’s organizational model. It is strictly linked to the specific needs of the service provider and therefore the whole investment hinges around the timing of the project contract in its entirety. The General Contractor must therefore guarantee to the service provider not only a general and a summary timing but must demonstrate to have the project step by step under control every day. A good work planning must also be seen in terms of interference management and in the coordination of the work phases.

4) QUALITY. The General Contractor is equally obliged towards the service provider to respect the products and materials quality identified during the design phase, as well as in the administration and in the sub-contractors vertical selection that have been identified for the construction of the under contract work.

5) AUTHORISATIONS AND TESTS. The General Contractor is also involved by the service provider to fulfil all the administrative-burocratic procedures related obtaining the qualifying titles scope of the new project, as well as in preparation all those necessary documents in order to obtain the final testing both in a structural and plant engineering level.

6) EXPERIENCE. The knowledge and the Project Manager’s technical preparation belonging to the General Contractor is the ‘key-factor’ of the business model, relying on a consolidated and well organised team matters more than the business size itself. The experience detected in action by the same manager both nationally and internationally gives substance and structure to the business solidity, an organisation mostly made up by men and skills rather than by products and machinery.
Another fundamental characteristic that formally identifies these organizations is the management execution of the plant and construction works in cooperation with external suppliers, subcontractors, outsourcing activities that involves a correct selection upstream.
As mentioned before, independently of the number of subcontractors; the client and therefore the investor, has a single contractual guarantee strictly linked to the General Contractor’s role. According to this logic, the power of a Contractor is strictly linked to the ability or not to make system in an highly heterogeneous and mostly interconnected market.

General Contractor in Italy

The construction market in Italy is lacking of a reference legislation that well regulates all the perimeters of action of these organizations, just in the public works the sub-contracting levels are established.
In my opinion it would be actually appropriate to make a procurement’s classification, both publics and privates, in terms of sizes and characteristics and setting in a distinct manner the legislative areas.


In conclusion, ‘to be a General Contractor’ means to be a company specialized in engineering. It must be capable of organizing and coordinating all the construction and civil engineering works, both in a civil and industrial level in accordance with a given budget, a work schedule and in the respect of the contracted work’s quality. Those who wish to invest their resources in complex projects, have the chance to entirely rely on a General Contractor. It must also be able, as a single general contractor, to get from the public administrations all those necessary authorizations in order to achieve their project regardless of the reference country and the geographical area.
At the end of the works, if he will act in an optimal way, he will obtain all the structural and plant tests along with the related usability permission.
The factors described are synonymous of an overall saving in absolute sense, both in a timing and economic level, consequently the investor has numerous advantages when entrusting his own project and resources to a General Contractor.