- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 10 Jun 2019
Contracting is the activity of constructing a building in accordance with a pre-agreed set of requirements, regardless of whether these are verbal or expressed as drawings, specifications and contracts.
An individual or company that contracts in this way is termed a ‘contractor’, but may also be called a ‘general contractor’, ‘main contractor’, ‘building contractor’ or ‘prime contractor’ (if conducting work for a government agency). Irrespective of the name, the activities they undertake will go under the umbrella term ‘contracting’.
The term contracting derives from the fact that there is usually a contract involved in the process, particularly for large projects; alternatively, the builder ‘contracts’ to fulfilling a set of tasks to the satisfaction of the client. For domestic and other small jobs, the term builder or housebuilder is more often used and, in such cases, there may not be a formal written contract involved other than a specification of what is to be carried out or else a verbal agreement.
 What contracting may involve
- Being answerable to a client, or else to the client’s architect or engineer;
- Performing the role of general manager of a construction project;
- Responsible for the completion and overall coordination of the project;
- Responsible for providing all material, labour and equipment necessary for constructing the project;
- Completing the project, possibly through hiring sub-contractors and being responsible for their work;
- Responsible for on-site health and safety;
- May be asked to advise the design team at an early stage of the design process (early contractor involvement (ECI));
- May include applying for building permits, advising the client, providing temporary utilities on site, securing the site, managing site personnel;
- Duties around site surveying and engineering;
- Construction waste – disposal and recycling;
- Monitoring schedules and cash-flows;
- Keeping accurate records.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Appointing consultants.
- Construction contract.
- Construction manager.
- Contract administrator.
- Contract conditions.
- Design management.
- Design quality.
- Design, build, manage contractor.
- Early contractor involvement.
- Major project construction contract.
- Management Building Contract.
- Management contract: outline work plan.
- Management contracting - pros and cons.
- Managing the procurement process.
- Procurement route.
- Temporary works.
- Tender documentation.
- Trade contractor.
- Traditional contract - pros and cons.
- Traditional contract: outline work plan.
- Types of contractor.
- Works contractor.
- Two-stage tender.
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