Understanding the Main Contractor

In construction a contract acts as a binding agreement between the party commissioning the building project and the party responsible for carrying out the construction work.

The Main Contractor oversees and manages the construction of a building project. The work is delivered under a contractual agreement. There are a number of forms of contract and it is important to understand, the role of the Main Contractor will vary depending on the type of construction contract.

In both Traditional and Design & Build (D&B) contracts the Main Contractor influences product selection. In the case of Traditional this will take the form of advice to the Architect. But in D&B the Architect is employed by the Main Contractor and may even have to work from a list of approved materials.

The Main Contractor is looking for products that offer ease of installation, good availability and represent value. They want confidence that their Sub-Contractors are familiar with installation, to avoid complications. They need to know that building work will not be delayed by lack of product availability and that the product cost remains within the estimate, so they can remain profitable.

Although every commercial organisation has an eye to profit, within the Main Contractor organisation there are other influencers who have other priorities. The Estimating Department want to know about the compatibility and availability of products, the Contract Manager will be interested in sub-contractor familiarity and minimising disruption to the build programme. And the Design Manager will be interested in the most efficient solution to provide a first class outcome. By understanding these needs and offering solutions which represent value it is possible to reduce the influence of price.

So when specification selling on a D&B project don’t just focus on the Architect. Find out who the Design Manager is and understand his needs. Then present relevant benefits and work to win his confidence. From there you can help the architect specify products that the contractor will want to use.

Further Information

Understanding the Main Contractor – Developing Construction Personas

Creating Demand Through Specification – Online Learning