A modern building requires the expertise of dozens of different contractors to see it through to completion. While many individuals have skills in different areas, union regulations often prevent them from working in more than one field. Effective coordination of the activities of different trades is the responsibility of the general contractor, who works as a liaison between the client and the building activity.
A general contractor oversees a building project from start to finish. This may involve the creation of a building from the ground up, or a renovation project involving any combination of the trades. General contractors are often carpenters, because carpentry tends to encompass the activities of many other trades.
Electricians work on virtually every construction project, because very few buildings are built today without electricity. Electricians install breaker boxes, wiring and fixtures, and deal with power companies to have grid power turned off so that new systems can be hooked up safely. Electricians are increasingly involved in the installation of alternative and decentralized energy systems such as solar, wind and geothermal.
Plumbers are responsible for water systems in a building, including connecting a house to a well or municipal water main, installing water heating equipments, and building and maintaining drainage and septic systems.
Heating and Ductwork
Heating and ductwork contractors install and service furnaces, boilers, and the extensive piping and ductwork that they require to heat a building. These contractors may work in conjunction with electricians and plumbers, since their systems interlock.
Drywallers install drywall onto framing, and tape, spackle and sand the wall smooth. On a well run jobsite, drywallers are called in as soon as the plumbers and electricians have completed their work, allowing the work to continue swiftly without the various trades stumbling over each other as they try to get their jobs done.
Finish painters begin their work as soon as the drywaller has completed the sanding of the drywall. Finish painters prime the spackled drywall and then apply finish coats to suit the tastes of the client.
A finish carpenter is the final sub-contractor to work on the interior of a building. Finish carpenters install door and window trim, baseboards, and other interior trim that may include things such as crown molding and wainscoting.
Depending on the nature of the job being undertaken, other contractors might include pool builders, masons, roofers, excavators, landscapers, cabinetmakers, and interior design consultants.