• What is the role of a general contractor? How do you become a qualified GC?

    In short, a General Contractor oversees all aspects of a construction project. Responsibilities include defining a scope of work, developing a schedule, managing a budget, supervising subcontractors/tradespeople (see the definition of a subcontractor vs sub-consultant below), ensuring safety and health standards on the job site, reporting progress, overseeing quality control, and maintaining relationships with clients, design partners, subcontractors, and vendors.

    In North Carolina, the General Contractor State Licensing Board requires General Contractors to be licensed if a project exceeds $30,000. You can search to see if a General Contractor is licensed by going to the NCLBGC website at https://nclbgc.org/license-search/

    In order to become a licensed General Contractor, you must fill out an application on the NCLBGC website and meet the requirements as defined, which include being at least 18 years of age and passing an examination. Recently, the State passed a law requiring licensed General Contractors to achieve 8 credit hours of continuing education courses from January through November 30 in order to be eligible for license renewal. Licenses are renewed each year.

    The State now offers “assistance to homeowners who have suffered a financial loss caused by the dishonest or incompetent conduct of a licensed general contractor” through the Homeowner Recovery Fund. To learn more about if you are eligible, or to file a complaint against a General Contractor, click here to be redirected to the NCLBGC website.

    There are five NC General Contractor license classifications: building, residential, highway, public utilities, and specialty. There are three license limitations: limited, intermediate, and unlimited. You can read more about the classifications and limitations here, on the NCLBGC website.

    CT Wilson Construction Company, Inc. carries an unlimited building general contractor’s license (#2443.)

  • What questions do I need to ask a contractor before hiring them?

    • How long have you been in business?
    • Is your current business the only business you’ve performed this type of work under? (Sometimes contractors will have to dissolve a business due to legal issues, safety violations, bankruptcy, etc. This question helps to inform you whether or not the owners of the business are ethical, capable business managers.)
    • What is your single project bonding capacity? What is your aggregate limit? (Make sure that the single-project limit is higher than your estimated construction project. Also, make sure that the total amount of contracts that the contractor is working on – their WIP – is less than the aggregate limit. If their total project contracts are approaching their aggregate limit, they may be overextending themselves.)
    • Have you been involved with any legal disputes? (It is rare that a contractor who has been around a long time would answer, “no” to this question. However, a good answer would be that these disputes are few and far between and they were resolved prior to going to court or dismissed entirely.)
    • Have you had any major safety/OSHA violations in the last five years? (Major injuries or death)
    • Have you ever been banned from bidding on public work?
    • Have you ever been charged with bid-rigging? (In public work, this means that the contractor falsified information, performed work without the proper licensing, violated the law or safety regulations, etc. Bid-rigging is when competing contractors work together to drive up a price for a public owner, determine in advance who the low-bidder will be, or the winning bidder will joint-venture a portion of the work to the losing bidders in favor of the contractors over the best interest of the client/public owner.)
    • Are you licensed to do this kind of work?
    • What kind of insurance do you carry? (At a minimum, worker’s compensation, general liability, automobile liability, and umbrella.)
    • What kind of permits do I need? How long will those take to acquire (if not already obtained)?
    • Based on historic data and assumptions you’ve made about my project, how long does a typical project like this take to complete?
    • How much money should I budget for? How much money should I hold as a contingency for unexpected costs? (Owners should hold at least 10% of the construction cost as a contingency. Owners should also plan to pay an architect for design fees and construction administration throughout the course of a project. Architect fees generally range from 5-20% of the total construction cost.)
    • How do you prepare for unexpected costs, cost overruns, and inadequate funds?
    • How will the current state of the economic/environmental/social/political landscape affect my project?
    • Does this project require any third-party testing or inspections?
      What special circumstances do we need to account for in this particular project?
    • Do you foresee any issues with this project?
    • How many similar projects have you completed like this in my area?
      What kind of sub-consultants and subcontractors need to be involved with this project?
    • May I have a list of client/professional/trade/financial references? (You should check with clients, engineers, architects, subcontractors, and financial institutions to prequalify a general contractor on a large negotiated job to get a 360 picture of the quality of business relationships they maintain.)
    • Which contract is most suitable for this project? What are the options?
    • How will my project be managed and supervised?
    • What quality control measures do you have in place?What kind of written warranty do you have?
    • In addition to a lien waiver, what other closeout documents are required at the end of the project?
    • What will be included in my owner’s operations and maintenance manual? Will you provide an owner’s onboarding process?
    • Describe your pay application process and payment expectations.
      What is required of the owner/client for a successful project?
    • How do you communicate with your client?
    • Why should I pick you?
  • What is the difference between commercial construction and residential construction?

    According to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors website, a general contractor licensed in building (commercial) construction “covers all building construction and demolition activity including: commercial, industrial, institutional, and all residential building construction. It includes parking decks; all site work, grading and paving of parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and gutters; storm drainage, retaining or screen walls, and hardware and accessory structures; and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities including natural and artificial surface athletic fields, running tracks, bleachers, and seating. It also covers work done under the specialty classifications of S(Concrete Construction), S(Insulation), S(Interior Construction), S(Marine Construction), S(Masonry Construction), S(Roofing), S(Metal Erection), S(Swimming Pools), and S(Asbestos), and S(Wind Turbine).”

    A general contractor licensed in residential construction “covers all construction and demolition activity pertaining to the construction of residential units that are required to conform to the residential building code adopted by the Building Code Council pursuant to G.S. 143-138; all site work, driveways, sidewalks, and water and wastewater systems ancillary to the aforementioned structures and improvements; and the work done as part of such residential units under the specialty classifications of S(Insulation), S(Interior Construction), S(Masonry Construction), S(Roofing), S(Swimming Pools), and S(Asbestos).”

    CT Wilson Construction Company, Inc. carries an unlimited building general contractor’s license (#2443.) We do not actively perform work on single-family residential units (homes.)

  • What is the difference between a Construction Manager and a General Contractor?

    Construction Managers are similar to, but not the same as Construction Managers at Risk (CMAR), which is a project delivery type. To understand the different Project Delivery Types, please see the various types in the FAQs section: CMAR, Design-Build, Conventional/Traditional (Design-Bid-Build), and Integrated (Negotiated.)

    Construction Managers are typically hired by the Owner/Client before any other steps in the process are taken. They can help an Owner/Client assess land entitlements for proper zoning and permitting, coordinate site analysis efforts, set financial expectations and goals, identify project goals (e.g. sustainability, minority participation, security details, etc.), hire the design team, solicit RFQs and RFPs for general contractor selection, permit expediting, construction monitoring, cost control, quality assurance, end-user vendor coordination, punch list and closeout management, and general project administration.

    On a negotiated project, the architect and general contractor can handle most of these tasks together.

    If you need a referral for a Construction Management Company, please contact us.

  • Which project delivery methods does CT Wilson use most frequently and how are they different?

    In the design-build delivery method the design and construction services are contracted with the owner under a single entity. This single point of responsibility, whether it be the design professional or the contractor, is used to minimize risks and reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design and construction phase of the project. Collaboration between the design team and the contractor is improved and subcontractors and consultants are hired based on qualifications, not solely on price.
    Construction Manager at Risk
    As a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), the contractor acts as a consultant to the owner throughout the design phase before proceeding as general contractor during construction. On occasion, this allows construction to start before design documents are 100% complete. The contract typically has a cost-capping feature or “Not to Exceed” price and the contractor is directly responsible for contracts with subs, fabricators, and material suppliers.
    Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) – Commonly Referred to as “Negotiated”
    IPD is a method of construction utilizing LEAN principles, which were originally developed for production facilities. When applied to construction, the same overall goal is true: to maximize efficiency and reduce waste. This is possible through early coordination with all team members and repetitive evaluation of work performed and projected each week. CT Wilson Construction implements this method on every job.
    Conventional (Lump Sum)/Traditional/Design-Bid-Build
    The owner first hires a design professional to develop the design and prepare final contract documents in this traditional delivery method. Bids are then solicited from general contractors based on those documents. The contractors propose an amount or “lump sum” and the project is awarded to the responsible contractor with the lowest price. How the cost was figured is not shared with the owner. Since the contractor is not involved until later, designers have more freedom of choice in terms of design and construction methods. This process also guarantees that the owner is receiving the best price.

  • What is preconstruction?

    Preconstruction is exactly what it sounds like – what happens before physical construction takes place. On traditional design-bid-build projects, the preconstruction phase is cut short or non-existent. With a negotiated delivery method (CMAR, Design-Build, Integrated Project Delivery, etc.), this phase is critical for setting the tone for the duration of the project. During preconstruction, the team is defined. This includes the design lead (architect, typically), any subconsultants, and the construction partner. Some specialty subcontractors may be defined as well, if there is a particularly large, critical, or complex scope of work involved. Once the team is in place, they work on establishing cost estimates, schedule, logistics, and constraints. They will perform a constructability review to make sure that the design intent is both functional and aligns with the overall goals of the project in terms of operational costs and efficiencies. Initial estimates may reveal that the projected costs exceed the intended budget, in which case the team will provide value engineering services to see where costs can be reduced before major design changes have to take place. The ROI of time spent in the preconstruction phase of the project is invaluable. It is impossible to catch all issues from the beginning, but the goal is to eliminate as many problems as you can prior to ordering material, labor, and equipment. For more information about each of the preconstruction services we offer, please see the preconstruction page of our website.

  • How much do preconstruction services cost?

    Preconstruction services vary depending on the project type, scope, and scale of the services required. Do you need an estimate of preconstruction service fees for your project? Reach out to our Estimating Department here.

  • What is CT Wilson bidding right now?

    Please check out our bid room on the subcontractors page of our website.

  • What is Lean Construction?

    According to the Lean Technical Institute, Lean Construction is “a comprehensive system of processes and behaviors that re-integrates our siloed industry into high-performing success-oriented teams, committed to collaboration, innovation, knowledge-sharing and interpersonal respect. Lean thinking and processes deliver better employee retention and quality of life, safer worksites, reduced project waste, and greater project value.”

    To us, this means establishing a collaborative team early on so that the information used to develop the budget and schedule is coming from the people who will be procuring the materials, manning the job, and performing the work. This approach infinitely improves the accuracy of the information used to set project cost and schedule expectations at the beginning to reduce inaccuracies, omissions, and waste over the project’s lifecycle.

  • What is the difference between subcontractors and subconsultants?

    Subcontractors are hired by the General Contractor to perform a specific Scope of Work (SOW) or trade. Typical subcontractors on a commercial construction site include a framer or steel erector, plumber, electrician, mechanical (HVAC) contractor, mason, concrete installer, insulator, roofer, window and door supplier, specialty contractors, flooring installer, painter, etc. The General Contractor is responsible for making sure all of the subcontractors perform their activities per the construction documents, local building requirements, industry building codes, safety and health regulations, and quality expectations.

    Subconsultants are hired by the Design Team Lead, typically the architect, to perform professional services that may be beyond the Design Team Lead’s area of expertise. For instance, an architect usually hires a site surveyor, geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, landscape architect, structural engineer, systems engineers (plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire suppression, etc.), specialty engineers (e.g. acoustics), and interior designers as the project requires. For more information on construction engineering disciplines, licensure, roles, and responsibilities check out these resources:

    If you need a referral for an architect or engineer, please contact us.

  • How do you prequalify subcontractors?

    CT Wilson has over 70 years of experience building relationships across the State. Our innate knowledge of the local subcontractor market enables us to staff projects with the best subcontractor for the scope of work desired based on availability, capability, experience, subcontractor preference, and cost. Our departments (preconstruction, operations, and administration) communicate regularly on subcontractor performance throughout the lifecycle of a project. This data helps to inform subcontractor procurement, onboarding, project award, development, and retention. If a subcontractor is not performing well in any phase of the project pipeline from preconstruction to closeout, we will take the necessary measures to ensure that the project is least affected.

    For new vendors, we ask subcontractors to fill out a basic vendor registration survey so that we can begin the process of setting the subcontractor up in our system. Once they’ve created an account on our subcontractor bid solicitation system, they will start receiving targeted bid invitations for their specific scope specialties or trades. If they appear to be a good fit for any particular project, we will start the process of checking their financials, workload, skills, demographics, safety record, and references. On a hard-bid job, the lowest price usually wins. If the lowest price for a specific trade comes from an unknown subcontractor, CT Wilson can make preparations for any potential risk that comes with working with a new sub.

  • Who do I contact if I have a major issue on my project?

    You should start with your main project contact – either your Site Supervisor or your Project Manager. If they cannot resolve it, and you have a Project Executive assigned to your project, reach out to them. Lastly, your architect is usually the client’s representative unless you’ve contracted an owner’s rep or construction management team outside of the construction team. They are ethically and contractually obligated to help you.

  • What is Procore and how do I access my project?

    Procore is a cloud-based, widely used construction management software that “connects everyone and everything on one platform.” Each project team has access to all the important information on their project, which is updated in real time so that everyone has the latest information. This includes up-to-date construction documents, requests for information (RFIs), change orders, financial reports, daily logs, safety data, contracts, etc.

    Already using Procore? Login here.
    First time user? You will be sent login information with your contract.
    Trouble logging in? Troubleshoot here.

    For more information, please check out our General Contracting services page

  • What kind of projects does CT Wilson specialize in?

    CT Wilson performs all types of commercial construction projects except for hospitality (hotels, resorts, theme parks, sports arenas), strip malls, gas stations, or pure multi-family (apartment complexes, off-campus student housing) unless the apartments are part of a mixed-use development. We specialize in educational, worship, and historic projects, but we get really invigorated by complex projects in occupied spaces.

  • What is multi-family construction?

    Multi-family construction is exactly what it sounds like: multiple families, or more than one residential/living unit. Typically, multi-family construction projects are many apartment buildings with multiple units surrounding a recreational area or community building.

  • What is mixed-use development?

    A mixed-use development provides multiple uses for the community, which can include housing, retail, restaurants, offices, healthcare, recreation, etc. Mixed-use developments are typically pedestrian friendly and incorporate some version of green space. These developments can include abandoned buildings that have been converted to new uses – or adaptive re-use – and can be great land-use solutions. An ideal development would help with density, infrastructure, affordable housing, connectivity, diversity, and access to resources and opportunities. The main goal of these developments is to provide a place where people can “live, work, and play” while creating a destination for those in the surrounding community.