A general contractor organizes the tasks that go into infrastructure. They plan, create a budget, and coordinate the project. They act as links between the client and the subcontractors like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and masons. Large projects such as roads or commercial buildings need more than one contractor. Other roles of a general contractor include;
- Scheduling tasks
- Planning for transportation of materials
- Ensuring that the project is complete within the set deadline
There are several qualifications you need to be a successful contractor. In this article, we dig into some of the things you should learn to thrive in this career.
To begin with, the most common legal requirements for this career include;
- High school diploma
- 18years old and above
- Clean working record etc
Other states may have more rules and requirements on the same. These earn you a license as a contractor.
To get a contractor’s license you need to provide proof of education or training in the field. A study stated that employers have a higher preference towards those with a degree. Those with a degree in construction management stand higher chances than others. Any other related field is also applicable.
It only requires four years to complete the program and you can do it online in some institutions. In such a qualification, learners get to understand the concepts of project management. These enable you to handle a project from the beginning to the end. Other skills in such a course include;
- Site planning
- Construction technology
- Value analysis
- Building codes and methods
A master’s degree in construction management also heightens your chances of employment. This degree improves your organizational, financial, and technical skills in supervising a project. It also sharpens your administrative skills for the construction company. Some of the concepts you learn include;
- Labor relations
- Business plan implementation
- Conflict resolution
General Contractor Certification
In a general contractor certification, you’ve got three options;
- Associate Constructor (AC), an entry-level course by The American Institute of Constructors (AIC)
- Certified Construction Manager (CCM) by The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
- Certified Professional Constructor (CPC). This is an advanced certification by The American Institute of Constructors (AIC)
To qualify for the CCM certification, you need to either;
- have at least four years of experience as a construction manager
- have a High school diploma and eight years of experience in construction
- have an Associate degree with an extra four years of experience in the field
- have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Architecture, Construction Management, Engineering, or Construction Science.
The exam covers cost management, project management, and time management concepts. It takes about five hours to complete.
The AC and CPC certifications do not need you to have an education. Your work experience can suffice if you do not have any formal education. To undertake the AC exam, you need four years of work experience or four years of education. You can also have four years of education and work experience combined. Undertaking the CPC exam depends on your AC status.
An AC-certified constructor will need four years of working experience, education, or both. Also, you’ll need two years of experience as a construction project manager. Without the AC certification, you’ll need eight years of experience. You will also need two years as a construction manager.
According to the experts from the general contracting company, AFS General Contracting, work experience will help you to put your knowledge into practice. It also grows your understanding of how the field works. Engaging in different roles will help you gain wholesome experience in the field. You can also engage in field jobs, internships, and other related programs. Local employers, trade unions, and trade associations also offer apprenticeship programs. These are classes that give you hands-on experience in the field. Within 3-5 years, your contractor skills will have grown enough for the world.
Now, once you become a general contractor, you will need to build your reputation. Yes, you’ve passed your exam, honed your skills, earned your certification and licensing—but you are not there yet.
You will also need to build a professional reputation to become a general contractor. Here is how to do it:
- Create a community – this calls for one to have strong networking skills. Always keep in touch with other contractors and professionals in the construction industry. Networking will help you to establish yourself as a pro in the industry. Besides, being in a strong professional community will put you in a better place to get clients.
- Prove yourself – you will need to develop a strong work ethic, and prove to your clients how hardworking and dependable you are. Besides, you need to make sure that you pay close attention to all your projects—and this includes carefully reviewing any work that you’ve completed.
- Harness your leadership skills – learn how to motivate your staff and bring the best out of them. Whenever challenges come up, offer solutions quickly and conclusively. Besides, you need to communicate effectively and professionally and know how to manage the expectations of other people.
- Continue improving yourself – always stay up-to-date with the ever-changing technology, regulations and codes in the construction industry. When you get the opportunity, make sure that you add new skills to your resume.