What Does a General Contractor Do?

General Contractor Richmond VA is a critical member of construction teams. They are responsible for turning the blueprints and renderings of architects into reality on building sites.

To make your resume stand out, you need to showcase your project management skills in the work experience section. Hiring managers look for quantified examples of your success on projects in this section.

The GC is the person on the job who takes the design created by the architect and engineers and turns it into actual building. They schedule subcontractors, order materials and supervise all aspects of the construction process. General contractors have a lot of power to affect project outcomes, and they often gain or lose business as a result of their performance. Because of this, they take a great deal of responsibility for the results of a build. They also have far more financial stake in the outcome than construction management firms do.

GCs must apply for building permits, secure the site and manage personnel. They also have to monitor and maintain accurate records. They are also responsible for the disposal or recycling of waste on the worksite. While a GC can handle many of these duties in-house, some projects require that they bring in their own professional team.

For example, an owner may need a CM to manage the architectural and engineering (A/E) phase of a build. They will hire an A/E firm or consortium to develop a preliminary design. Once they have a finalized design, the A/E will bid the build to general contractors and select a contractor with the lowest bid. The GC then takes over the project.

The A/E will usually not be involved in a GC’s daily operations unless they are required to aid in labor and material procurement. In these situations, the CM acts as an intermediary for the A/E firm and the GC. In other cases, an owner may engage a CM and a GC at the same time. This is called a CM/GC or CMAR job and it allows an owner to be less hands-on while still ensuring that the project is being executed according to specifications.

Contract Negotiation

Contracts are an important part of a general contractor’s job description. They often negotiate contracts with project owners and with subcontractors to ensure that their scope of work, payment terms, insurance requirements and other contract provisions meet the needs of all parties involved in the project.

The contract negotiation process requires knowledge of construction law and a strong understanding of the financial aspects of the business. A GC also works to keep the project within budget and to ensure that all parties are paid on time and in full.

A GC usually has a team of professionals that handles all the accounting, bookkeeping and other financial management of the project. They help manage the flow of personnel and materials in and out of the construction site to ensure that workers are on the job when needed and that all materials arrive when required.

Another part of a GC’s duties is to resolve disputes that arise on the project and maintain discipline among contractors and subcontractors. They may even take on the role of a mediator in more serious cases.

The GC can also be responsible for purchasing and storing all the material supplies for the project. This is especially important for large projects that require the movement of a lot of goods and equipment to be completed on schedule. Purchasing the supplies in advance helps ensure that the project stays on schedule and reduces risk that subcontractors will run out of material during the course of the job.

There are a number of commonly used contract clauses that traditionally stack the deck against a general contractor, such as “pay if paid” versus “pay when paid.” By familiarizing themselves with these provisions and knowing how to negotiate them effectively, a GC can avoid the types of conflicts that lead to litigation.


A general contractor, also known as a prime contractor or main contractor, schedules and directs daily activities on a construction site. They can be an individual for small projects or a company for larger ones. Their services can make all the difference in a construction project, keeping it on track to finish by its deadline and ensuring that building quality is maintained along the way.

The role of a general contractor also includes establishing the timeline for project completion, estimating costs to ensure that all project requirements are met, and developing a plan to avoid costly overruns. Creating a timeline can be difficult since the process of construction is unpredictable, but GCs have experience managing large-scale projects with numerous stakeholders and have the tools to help project teams stay on track.

GCs are responsible for creating and distributing schedules to project managers and team members, ensuring that all parties know what is expected of them. They can create schedules for specific subcontractors or entire groups of staff at once, making it easier to manage everyone’s workload and ensure that tasks are completed on time.

For large construction projects, a GC must handle the supply chain for raw materials and building components. This involves evaluating vendor proposals, negotiating pricing, analyzing capacity, estimating turnaround times, and invoicing. In addition, they must work to ensure that there is a seamless communication channel throughout the project.

If you’re looking to build a new home, remodel your existing house, or complete a commercial project like a shopping mall or public/government building, then it is crucial to partner with an experienced general contractor. They have the expertise, skills and resources to handle all aspects of your construction project, from the blueprints to the finishing touches, bringing it in on budget and on time so that you can move in as quickly as possible.

Subcontractor Management

The quality of the work performed by subcontractors can make or break a project. That’s why the general contractor sets quality standards and benchmarks in the planning and contract negotiation phases. GCs also create a system for systematically evaluating subcontractor performance on an ongoing basis.

During the construction phase, a GC monitors the performance of subcontractors by visiting the job site and discussing progress with subtrade managers. GCs may also conduct regular inspections to verify that subcontractors are complying with schedules and meeting quality standards.

In addition, a GC will review and process invoices or payment requests submitted by subcontractors for the work they’ve completed based on their agreed-upon terms and milestones. Because it’s important to protect the interests of all parties involved, a GC should not withhold payments for poor performance without giving subcontractors proper notification. This could result in a breach of contract.

A good GC will develop strong relationships with subcontractors and consider them partners instead of adversaries. This approach promotes open communication and facilitates a smoother project execution. It’s also beneficial to communicate clearly during the pre-award phase, so subcontractors can plan accordingly and allocate resources according to their capabilities.

It’s important for a GC to maintain a list of qualified subcontractors that can perform various trades within a construction project. This allows the GC to select the best subtrades for each job and ensure that the project meets its deadlines. Moreover, it’s helpful for a GC to build relationships with subcontractors in different regions because of the availability of local labor. However, a GC should only choose subcontractors with a solid track record of delivering the quality of work expected on the project.


Safety is a top priority for GCs because they oversee construction projects that can be highly hazardous. They are responsible for making sure that all workers on the project follow safety protocols to avoid dangerous accidents and ensure that all work is done properly to comply with quality and safety standards.

GCs often handle complex projects that require several contractors with different skill sets to complete the work on time and within budget. For example, knocking down a wall to make way for a new master suite might involve obtaining a permit and multiple subcontractors to get the job done right. An experienced GC knows how to manage these projects from start to finish while maintaining the proper safety standards.

Many GCs and CMs depend partially or fully on sub-contracted services for electrical, plumbing, mechanical, earth moving equipment, sheetrock installation and more. In these cases, a GC or CM contractually employs the sub-contractor’s employees and is responsible for monitoring performance and adherence to the project’s safety requirements. Injuries to sub-contractor employees do not show up on the GC or CM’s OSHA logs, but a GC can still be held liable for a non-compliant sub-contractor’s violations.

GCs that have advanced contractor safety programs often rely on third-party providers to help with prequalification and monitoring of subcontractors. These partners have the technology and expertise to streamline contractor prequalification and inspections, provide a clear picture of contract workers’ safety training and experience levels and flag any issues that need to be addressed. This helps a GC’s EHS team focus on other initiatives and free up internal resources. This type of partnership also supports collaboration between a GC and its supply chain and allows for the sharing of information that might help both sides improve safety adherence on future jobs.

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor

Depending on the type of stains and finish you choose, it can take up to a week for your floors to fully cure. During this time, it is essential to ensure that nothing in the room could potentially mark or damage your new finish.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Placing tarps over large pieces of furniture in the room is also helpful. Finally, it is a good idea to vacuum frequently to remove as much dust as possible. However, if you need some professional help, you can contact Hardwood Floor Refinishing Bergen County NJ.

When water stains, scratches and dull areas mar your once glossy hardwood floors, it may be time for an update. While sanding can be a very dusty and time-consuming job, it is essential for revitalizing wood floors. However, sanding isn’t the only option for renewing wood flooring. Screening is an alternative that focuses on smoothing the surface without taking it down to bare wood. This process is much less time consuming and less costly than full sanding. In addition, it can indefinitely postpone the need for refinishing.

To prepare the floor for sanding, it should be swept and vacuumed to remove any dirt or debris. It is also important to examine the floor for protruding nails, which should be pounded in using a nail set or hammer. The floor should then be sanded with a drum or edge sander fitted with 60-, 80- and 100-grit sanding disks.

During the sanding process, it’s a good idea to wear a face mask or HEPA-level N95 respirator, as fine sawdust can cause sinus problems. A dust mask will also help reduce the amount of sanding debris generated. Once the sanding is complete, the floor will need to be vaccuumed again and cleaned thoroughly. Depending on the type of finish used, it may take up to 24 hours for the floor to dry completely.

After sweeping and vacuuming, the floor can be buffed with a pole buffing machine or by hand with a terry cloth to get rid of any marks or streaks left from the sanding process. It is important to use a low or no-VOC polyurethane when buffing, as these finishes contain fewer VOCs and are better for the environment.

When refinishing, it is important to choose a high-quality product that will last for decades and stand up to daily wear and tear. It is also important to follow all instructions carefully to ensure a successful result. Attempting to cut corners will only lead to a lower-quality finish that is more likely to flake and peel. To minimize the chance of mistakes, it’s often best to have a professional do the work.


A solid hardwood floor can be refinished four to six times in its lifetime. Refinishing your floor allows you to change the color and give it a new look that is different from your previous floors. This is a chance to add personality and style to your home. You can choose a color that reflects your personality or one that matches the décor of your room.

Before you start staining, let your floors dry completely. The time it takes for a stain to cure will depend on the type of wood and the stain you use. You may need to reapply stain once or twice during the drying process to get the desired color. It’s important to read the stain container for directions and to follow them closely.

Once your floor is stained, it’s a good idea to seal it again. This helps protect the wood from spills and other accidents that could damage it. It will also make the finish smoother. If your first sealant looks cloudy or streaky, sand and reapply it.

You can buy oil-based or water-based polyurethane sealers. The water-based options are typically easier to clean up than the oil-based ones.

Before you begin the staining process, vacuum your floor to remove dust and other debris that has accumulated during the sanding process. If you can, use a powerful shop vac with a brush attachment. Otherwise, a large backpack vac like the ProTeam MegaVac is a good option. You should also use tack cloths or rags dampened with mineral spirits to wipe down the surface. This is a tedious job, but it’s essential to avoid dust particles that might interfere with the appearance or adhesion of the stain.

Starting in an inconspicuous corner, pour, brush or roll on the liquid stain, following the direction of the grain. Work in small sections to prevent lap marks and apply multiple coats as directed by the manufacturer.

As you’re working, keep your family and pets out of the area to avoid inhaling the strong odors caused by the chemical fumes from the stains and varnish. You’ll want to wait a minimum of 24 hours before moving your furniture back into place.


If you have decided to refinish your hardwood floors, there are several options available to you. Hiring a professional can be expensive and time consuming, so many homeowners opt to do-it-yourself (DIY). However, this is a project of moderate difficulty and requires a lot of equipment and supplies.

Before refinishing, you should carefully examine your wood flooring to determine its condition. Look for dents, scratches, and gouges, as well as any areas that are warping or separating. If you find any of these issues, it is best to refinish your floor rather than repair them. Refinishing will restore the appearance of your floor and extend its life, while repairs may not last as long.

To refinish your wood floor, you will need to clear the room and remove all furniture. You will also need to seal off doorways and electrical sockets with plastic sheeting to keep sanding dust from spreading. Once the room is cleared, you will need to sand the floor with an orbital sander. This will remove the old finish and expose bare boards.

You can then stain your hardwood floor with a new color. A dark stain will give your home a rich, formal feel, while a lighter stain can create a warm and inviting space. Once the stain is dry, you can apply a coat of polyurethane for protection. There are water-based and oil-based versions of polyurethane, so you should decide which one is right for your home.

The most common type of hardwood flooring is solid wood, which consists of planks of real wood that are joined together. This type of flooring is durable and can be refinished up to 12 times in its lifetime. However, it is not suitable for humid climates and can be damaged by moisture. Engineered wood is a more versatile option that can be made from different types of real wood, including oak, maple, and mahogany. It can be used in any room of the house and is suitable for any environment. It is also possible to refinish engineered wood, though this will not extend the floor’s lifespan as much as a solid-wood floor.


The final step in refinishing hardwood floors is to apply a protective sealant. This ensures that the wood will hold up against everyday wear and tear and minimizes the need for future refinishing. Homeowners can apply the sealant themselves or have it done professionally. If homeowners decide to do it themselves, they will need to rent specialized equipment like a drum sander and have enough time to work through the entire floor. A mistake during this process could damage the floor and result in a costly repair or replacement.

Before applying any type of sealant to a hardwood floor, it must be completely sanded. This is an extremely time-consuming and labor intensive step, and it must be completed thoroughly to produce a smooth surface for the application of the sealant. Once the sanding process is complete, the floor must be cleaned thoroughly. This is an important step that helps to remove any dirt, dust, or grit left behind. It is also necessary to clean the sanded boards to prepare them for the application of the sealant.

After cleaning, the floor should be lightly sanded again with a fine grade of sandpaper, usually #220. This helps to ensure that the second coat of sealant will adhere properly to the floor. Once the sanding is complete, the floor should be thoroughly vacuumed and wiped down with a tack cloth to remove any remaining debris.

There are several different types of sealants that can be used on hardwood floors, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Shellac, for example, is a popular option that provides a natural appearance, but it doesn’t hold up to foot traffic very well and must be buffed in regularly. Polyurethane is another common choice and offers a wide range of finishes, from matte to glossy. Water-based polyurethane is becoming more popular than oil-based options because it dries quicker and produces fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Once the first coat of sealant has been applied, it will need to dry for at least eight hours. Homeowners should be sure to wear personal protection during this process, as most of these products will emit harmful vapors that can be detrimental to health.

How To Take Care Of Your Home Patio

Home Patio

Patios are exposed to the elements, so they can easily suffer from mold and mildew. They can also become the target of pests that look for food, shelter and nesting areas.

Look for patches of what looks like fuzz clinging to cushions, pillows and the underside of your furniture’s umbrella. Discolored mold and mildew should be removed immediately to prevent it from spreading.

Clean It Regularly

Just like other areas of your home, patios need regular cleaning to maintain their beauty and function. Sweeping and mopping will remove the dirt from daily foot traffic and prevent stains and discoloration. It will also eliminate potential tripping hazards and make your furniture more comfortable to sit in.

You can also use a pressure washer to give your patio a thorough cleaning. However, be sure to follow the directions for your equipment and keep it a few inches away from the surface so you don’t damage the paving material or the paint on your furniture. If you want to go a step further, try applying a cleaner designed specifically for patios, such as Simple Green Patio Cleaner. This will remove the deep-seated dirt and prepare the surface for future treatments, such as sealants.

The best time to clean your patio is in the spring before you start using it regularly, and again before putting it away for the winter. During this time, you’ll have more energy and motivation to tackle the project, and you’ll be able to enjoy your newly-clean patio while you’re working on it.

It’s recommended that you sweep the patio at least once a week and mop it at least twice per month with warm soapy water. There are also products that are specially made for patios, but you should always check the label to make sure they’re compatible with your paving material. Also, always test a new solution on a small, hidden area of the patio before using it.

Vinegar can help lift organic stains, such as those from food splatter and pet urine. Mix a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water, apply it to the paved surfaces, and leave it to soak for a few minutes before using a stiff brush to scrub any visible stains. Rinse with clean water, and allow to dry completely before you put any furniture back on the patio.

You can also make the process more convenient by investing in a set of foldable chairs and a table that can be easily stowed when not in use. You can also take the time to wrap any fabric cushions and pillows in plastic bags or old blankets for protection during storage. Be sure to also store any glass or metal items in a safe, dry place.

Seal It

Whether your patio is made from wood, brick, concrete or some other material, it needs to be protected from the elements. While most outdoor furnishings are tough enough to withstand the rain, sleet and snow, prolonged exposure to sunlight and other weather conditions can cause them to degrade over time. Regular cleaning and a good sealant can help prolong the life of your furniture and keep it looking good.

Before you apply a patio sealant, make sure to read the manufacturer’s care guidelines carefully. Many of these will specify which cleaners and cleaning methods to use, as well as which ones to avoid. Using the wrong cleaners or applying them incorrectly can damage your furniture and void any existing warranties.

Most manufacturers recommend a water-based acrylic sealer for patios, as it is durable, low cost and non-yellowing. It is also breathable, allowing moisture vapor to escape. If you prefer a less shiny look, there are also penetrating sealers that will give the same level of protection.

It’s important to power wash your patio before you apply a new coat of sealer, as this will remove any dirt and grime that may have settled in the cracks of your patio bricks. You should also sweep the area thoroughly to make sure you get rid of any loose or broken pieces. It’s also a good idea to sweep up any sand that has accumulated between the individual patio bricks and add more if necessary.

If your patio has a wide gap between it and your house, a rubber strip is an inexpensive solution that can last up to 12 years. Caulking is another option, but it’s best combined with a rubber sealant to prevent moisture absorption.

Keeping your patio in good condition can take some effort, but the results are worth it. If you follow these simple tips, your patio can look new and beautiful for years to come.

If you don’t have the time or energy to maintain your own patio, hire a professional. They will clean and seal the patio, as well as provide other services such as landscaping, gardening and pool maintenance.

Inspect It After Heavy Weather

When heavy gusts of wind or severe rain hit, they can damage your patio or ruin furniture. To prevent this from happening, move furniture into a protected area before storms hit. A garage or shed is a good option. If you cannot take your furniture inside, wrap cushions and pillows in plastic sacks or in old blankets to protect them from moisture.

After a storm hits, you should also inspect your patio for damage. In addition to checking the ledger (a piece of framing that attaches the deck to your home), you should probe for signs of rot around the posts, railings, and joists. If you see rot, make repairs as soon as possible to keep the structure safe for use.

It is also a good idea to examine the area for trip hazards. These include cracks wider than a quarter inch and areas where the sidewalk slopes upward more than half an inch. It is also important to check for signs of drainage problems, such as standing water. These can be corrected by making sure there is a downspout nearby, and that the gutter system is functioning correctly.

Another common problem with outdoor furnishings is mildew and mold. These can be hard to spot, especially when the growth is a sickly shade of white, gray, black or brown. If you spot these spores, wash your furniture with warm soapy water or a commercial solution that is compatible with the material of your patio.

As with dirt and grime, mold and mildew are easier to remove if they are caught early, before they have a chance to spread. You can spray fungicide or rub the surface with ammonia mixture or a mild bleach solution to kill it and keep it from returning.

Finally, before the weather turns cold, it is a good idea to inspect your patio one last time. This is a great time to look for damage to the ledger, as well as check for the presence of critters looking for shelter. A general maintenance plan that includes keeping food and garbage away from the patio can help deter these pests, as will ensuring that plants are kept trimmed and healthy.

Inspect It During the Winter

The cooler weather of fall is a good time to think about winterizing your patio. Keeping it in good condition can help protect your furniture, keep pests away and allow for smooth operation once the warmer weather returns.

To begin with, remove any cushions or fabric from your furniture and give them a thorough cleaning before storing or covering them. Depending on the material, this might mean brushing and vacuuming or a washing with mild soap and water. Be sure to allow the furniture and cushions to dry completely before putting them away or covering them. Moisture left on furniture can lead to mold or mildew which will be difficult to remove once cold weather sets in.

If you have a deck, inspect it for signs of rot, particularly around posts and railings. The ledger is a critical piece of framing that attaches the deck to your house, so be sure to check it thoroughly. If you notice any cracks or damage, repair them as soon as possible.

Sweep the patio of leaves, sticks and other debris regularly to keep it free from damage. A stiff bristle brush or outdoor broom can be used to ensure a thorough cleaning. If you have a wood or composite deck, it may be wise to reseal it now as well.

Consider changing your seating arrangement for the winter. For example, if you have an open patio area with a table and chairs, you might want to add a comfortable bench or loveseat for additional seating during the colder months. In addition, it’s a good idea to add some extra lighting to your patio for the winter. For instance, hanging some string lights can help create a cozy atmosphere and add a touch of elegance to your patio.

Taking care of your home patio will not only make it look nicer but also increase its lifespan and help reduce your energy bills. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your patio throughout the winter and have it ready to go when the warm season arrives again.