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T he terms “self-perform” and “in-house labor” are used by some general contractors to describe the services they offer, but what do these terms mean and, more importantly, how does an architect or owner stand to benefit by hiring this type of general contractor for a project? Let’s explore. What is a self-perform general contractor and why should your firm consider working with one? Self-perform general contractors

Roger Marquis

SELF-PERFORM DEFINED. By definition, a general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and the communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project. If we focus on the portion of the definition which relates to “management of vendors and trades,” we get to the heart of the terms “self-perform” and “in-house labor.” When a general contractor employs a team of craftspeople and manages the performance of their work, this is what is meant by “self-perform” or “in-house labor.” The opposite of this would be when a general contractor outsources the work by hiring a team of subcontractors, and is then responsible for managing that team throughout the lifespan of

a project. Fitting between self-perform and the use of subcontractors is a hybrid scenario, where the general contractor subcontracts out certain trades (e.g., mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) and self-performs the remainder. While there is no right or wrong as to how a general contractor chooses to manage and/or perform various trades, there are certainly some benefits for an architect or owner to know about, as it relates to self- perform or in-house labor: ❚ ❚ Nimbleness and control. One of the main benefits a self-perform general contractor can offer is the nimbleness and control of assigning tradespeople to a construction project. If, for example, the project requires an extensive amount of painting, to keep

See ROGER MARQUIS, page 10


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