If you are in the process of constructing or remodeling your home, you may be wondering what a general contractor does and whether you need to hire one. General contractors are construction professionals who organize, coordinate, and oversee construction projects from start to finish. In fact, general contractors are responsible for nearly every aspect of a construction or renovation project. This can include securing essential permits, hiring skilled workers, creating a budget and schedule, and monitoring the safety of your project. 


Who needs a general contractor?


General contractors are required for nearly every construction or renovation project. This can include highly complex commercial projects as well as more simple residential renovations. The key to knowing whether you need a general contractor for your project is whether it will require a building permit. So, if your project is as simple as installing cabinets or tiles, a handy-man should suffice. However, if you are remodeling your entire kitchen, installing electrical work, or pipes, you will probably need a general contractor.


Types of general contractors:


General contractors typically work on a large variety of types of projects including roofing, plumbing, electrical work, foundational work, and framing. However, because some projects require specific knowledge or education, the state of California has divided general contractors into several categories:

  • General Contractor Class A


These types of contractors work on more complex commercial projects like the building of bridges, dams, high rises, skyscrapers, stadiums, parking structures, and other projects. These projects often require specific engineering skills or education. 

  • General Contractor Class B


General contractor type B can build both residential and commercial projects from the ground up. They can build your entire home or complex remodel from the initial foundation to the framing and carpentry of your home.

  •  General Contractor class C

These types of contractors have specialized skills that they work exclusively on. This can be projects like laying concrete, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fireproofing, and asbestos removal.  


Do general contractors need a license?


While there are no federal licensing requirements for general contractors, most states have their own individual local licensing laws. For example, in California, a general contractor must be licensed with the California Contractors State Licensing Board, gain four years of experience, and sit for exams for specific laws relating to their practice before they can call themselves a general contractor. There are no educational requirements for becoming a general contractor, but some obtain degrees in construction management or science, and other similar degrees. In California, you can verify that a general contractor has an active contractors license on the Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board’s website.


General contractors are important for every project- from homeowners renovating their house to construction professionals looking for someone with the necessary skills to coordinate their project.


*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.


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