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DR. ENGLISH: Contractor or Constructor?

from GBA

Ambiguity is the bane of effective communications and, all too often, the basis of spurious, but-nonetheless-effective lawsuits. Consider the word "contractor" In the construction world, it means an organization that is involved in constructing things or, in the case of "general contractor," an organization that usually is in charge of the entire building process, including coordination of subcontractors and all safety programs. In the wider world of which the construction world is a part, however, "contractor" means an entity with a contract. As such, in some agreements, a geoprofessional firm is referred to as "the contractor." So, when you see "contractor," what do you think of? A party with a contract or a party with a contract to build (or dig, demolish, etc.)? Given that either is correct, we have ambiguity. For that reason, many people are now starting to refer to contractors that build as "constructors," because they construct things or perform activities that usually are part of the construction process. And what do they call the "general constructor"? The far more effective "constructor in charge." If you don't want to change, so be it, BUT you'd be well-advised to develop a glossary of terms or a definitions sheet that you include in proposals, contracts, and reports, where "contractor" and "general contractor" are explained in terms clear enough to eliminate ambiguity. more


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