What’s the Difference Between a Construction Manager & A General Contractor?

05 November 2019

A construction manager, or an owner’s representative, and a general contractor are both vital to any overall construction operation. Even though these positions sound similar they are pretty different in application. These two positions may both oversee the project as a whole, but you’d be surprised at how different the day-to-day responsibilities of each are.

Owner’s reps and general contractors are both hired by the property owner but generally, their contracts are structured differently, with the owner’s rep advocating for the interests of the owner and the GC working towards an agreed upon, bottom-line cost to build the building. Here we’ll give you a quick rundown of the difference between owner’s reps and general contractors and more.

Construction Manager vs. General Contractor

Here we’ll break down the differences between Owner’s Reps and general contractors in detail.

General Contractor

A general contractor is the person or company overseeing the construction of the building. As stated, they are hired by the property owner. A GC manages all trade partners and collaborates with engineers and architects on the project. They are the point of contact and supervisor for all moving parts of the project.

A general contractor is brought in during the bidding phase and begins operating during the construction phase. They can also participate during preconstruction in collaboration with an owner’s rep and architect to ensure cost and design elements. Overall, a GC is the primary person in charge of day-to-day construction operations and is responsible for keeping the project on time and within budget.

Owner’s Representative

On the other hand, an owner’s rep is always brought on during the preconstruction process. They will provide input on design, timeline, budget, and more technical aspects of the project.

As stated in their job title, an owner’s rep acts as the representative of the owner during all construction operations, ensuring that the goals of the owner are aligned with the actions of the GC. They will oversee trade partners and operations just as the GC does, but will collaborate more with the owner and property manager to ensure considerations on things like pre-leasing and marketing as they relate to construction.

An owner’s rep is the connection between the owner and the construction process so they’re the check to make sure the project is aligning with the owner’s goals.

Focus’ Ownership Mentality

Focus operates an integrated model, meaning we are both an owner and a general contractor. We build our own buildings and those of third-party clients. The teams that build our buildings and those for third parties are the same, and therefore they benefit from an ownership mentality inherent in our construction managers.

While an owner’s rep may be part of the team on third party jobs, the Focus construction team knows and expects to consider things like pre-leasing and marketing within their schedules. Our commitment to ownership results in minimal neighborhood disruption and impact. By adopting this mentality, we deliver a great experience throughout every phase of the construction process.

With the help of our integrated delivery model, Focus not only offers expert general contracting services but also design, marketing, and so much more. This model allows us to deliver a better overall experience for our clients.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive commercial general contractor in Chicago, get started with Focus today!

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