- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 26 Jan 2023
In very broad terms, contractors are the organisations appointed by clients to carry out construction works. However, this apparently simple relationship is complicated by the fact that contractors tend not to have all the trades required to construct a building in their direct employment.
Civil Engineering Procedure, 7th edition, published by the Institution of Civil Engineers defines a 'general contractor' as '...a contractor who undertakes the whole of the construction of a project, but usually in turn sub-letting parts of his work to specialist or trades contractors and others as sub-contractors'.
NRM2, RICS new rules of measurement, Detailed measurement for building work, defines the main contractor (or prime contractor) as '...the contractor responsible for the total construction and completion process of the building project. The term ‘prime contractor’ is often used in central civil government and the defence sector to mean ‘main contractor’.' (see also Prime contractor below).
The construction manager manages trade contractors, but the trade contracts themselves are placed with the client. This generally requires an experienced client. A construction manager is generally appointed early in the design process so that their experience can be used to improve the buildability and packaging of proposals as they develop.
A construction manager may also programme construction to begin before the design is completed. This requires careful planning of information release so that the construction process is not delayed by lack of production information.
The client enters into a long-term multi-project relationship with a contractor in which competition is introduced at the sub-contract level. Prime contracting is generally only appropriate for very large clients such as the Ministry of Defence which is continually commissioning new buildings and refurbishment work.
NB: NRM2: Detailed measurement for building works suggest that; 'The term ‘prime contractor’ is often used in central civil government and the defence sector to mean ‘main contractor’', that is; 'the contractor responsible for the total construction and completion process of the building project.'
 Design, build and manage contractors
The contractor is appointed not only to design and build the works, but also to manage them during operation, sometimes providing operational services over and above building maintenance, such as supplying prison staff or sterilisation of hospital instruments.
- Specialist contractors.
- Domestic sub-contractors.
- Nominated sub-contractors.
- Named sub-contractors.
- Trade contractors.
- Trades contractors.
- Work package contractor.
- Works contractors.
- Approved contractor.
- Builder vs contractor.
- Construction Industry Scheme.
- Construction manager.
- Construction contract.
- Construction strategy.
- Contractor vs supplier.
- Contractor's working schedule.
- Due diligence when selecting contractors or subcontractors.
- Job order contracting.
- Management contractor.
- Master builder.
- Principal contractor.
- Procurement route.
- Trade contractor.
- Trades contractor.
- Types of contractor.
- Traditional procurement method.
- Work package contractor.
- Works contractor.
Featured articles and news
The last few days, but action needed over the next decade.
80 construction leaders and companies from across the UK.
Promoting the importance of building and fire safety.
A brief run through essential training tips from a user.
A comprehensive guide from a Cohesive BIM wiki user.
From the basics to the future from our Cohesive BIM wiki.
As electrical sector feels skills shortage bite.
CIOB Academy’s course take-up inked to external factors.
Q and A with self-representing artist, Hannah Shergold.
And publishes three-year strategic plan.
Introducing changes to make it more effective from 2024.
Shortlist announced for 2023 public choice award vote.
The last of the Victorians. Book review.
An exotic name that is shrouded in mystery.
From practice to research and the business of materials.