The general contractor is a manager, and possibly a tradesman, employed by the client on the advice of the architect, engineer or the architectural technologist or the client him/herself if acting as the manager. A general contractor is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. A general contractor must first assess the project-specific documents (referred to as bid, proposal or tender documents). In the case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. Depending on the project delivery method, the contractor will submit a fixed price proposal or bid, cost plus price or an estimate. The general contractor considers the cost of home office overhead, general conditions, materials and equipment as well as the cost of labor to provide the owner with a price for the project.
Contract documents include drawings, project manual (including general, supplementary and/or special conditions and specifications), addendum or modifications issued prior to proposal/ bidding and prepared by a design professional such as an architect. The general contractor may be the construction manager or construction manager at risk.