General contractors and subcontractors

Region: Ontario Answer # 1982

Broadly speaking, a general contractor is the individual or company responsible for overseeing the completion of an entire construction project. The general contractor hires and pays subcontractors, also known as sub-trades, to perform portions of the construction work, such as plumbing, electrical, roofing or heating and ventilation.


The general contractor usually has day-to-day authority over a construction site, budget management, coordination of trades, ordering of supplies and communication with all parties involved in the project. Since it hires the sub-trades, the general contractor generally assumes all legal responsibility for safety conditions and contractual obligations, such as payment of trades when work is completed properly.

In many cases, the general contractor is an experienced construction professional with in-depth knowledge of all aspects of a project and superior organization skills.


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