On any construction project, there are always a number of key players involved. The owner, architect, general contractor, construction manager, various specialty trades each with their own project manager and more. In large commercial projects, the ultimate responsible party for the overall project is either a Construction Manager or General Contractor. They both have the same goal of completing the project to the satisfaction of the owner. However, there are some distinct differences between the two regarding their organizational structure, how they were selected for the project and their relationship with the owner.
Typically, the General Contractor is the individual or company that manages all aspects of the day-to-day activities at the jobsite. They are in charge of actually building the building. General Contractors have their own employees who typically fill the roles of project manager and Construction Superintendent. Often a GC will have some of their own laborers and carpenters who “self-perform” some work on the project, however, General Contractors almost always utilize a variety of specialty subcontractors who complete 80-90% of the work. The GC serves as project manager coordinating the work of the subcontractors and serving as the liaison in communicating with the owner or architect on project activities.