What Falls Under General Conditions? We Can Explain!

A construction worker dies in a fishing accident on his 40th birthday and finds himself greeted at the Pearly Gates by a brass band. Saint Peter runs over, shakes his hand and says “Congratulations!”
“Congratulations for what?” asks the construction worker.
“Congratulations for what?” says Saint Peter. “We are celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old.”
“But that’s not true,” says the construction worker. “I only lived to be forty.”
“That’s impossible,” says Saint Peter, “we added up your time sheets.”


General conditions, or direct job overhead costs, are often greeted with derision in the commercial construction industry. Throughout each stage of a project, there are specific job costs that are not part of a trade. Let’s take a look at three job costs that fall under general conditions.

1. Site Management.

Superintendent and, if applicable, Assistant Superintendent time is a direct project cost that is not related to a specific trade. The Superintendent is responsible for understanding and meeting the various jurisdictional requirements on the job site. They manage and coordinate the continuation of utility services (including gas, electric and water.) The Superintendent manages all subcontractor manpower to ensure both the project schedule and owner standards are met. They meet with local inspectors, ensure projects are built to current codes and coordinate the timely completion of punchlist items.

The Superintendent and Project Manager also work together to coordinate subcontractors, schedules and materials. Often times, there are many specifications on a project. It is the responsibility of the Superintendent and PM to confirm that the material not only meets project expectations but that it is ordered in a timely manner.

2. Safety Management.

In our industry, safety is of the utmost importance. Communication between the general contractor team – including the Superintendent, Project Manager and Safety Officer – is critical to a safe and successful project. The Safety Officer, in particular, is responsible for determining the safest jobsite layout and monitoring its cleanliness throughout construction. They also work closely with the Superintendent to protect the jobsite from vandalism and theft.

Chesapeake Contracting Group holds itself to higher safety standards. Our project team members are responsible for upholding this principle and monitoring safety on a daily basis.

3. Temporary Facilities.

Lastly, general conditions captures expenses that are associated with temporary facilities. These items are not specific to a trade and can include temporary utilities, job site trailers, temporary toilets, telephones, rubbish removal, dumpsters, etc.

As part of our value-added service, Chesapeake Contracting Group does not include estimating time in general conditions. Our estimating teams spend a great deal of time soliciting pricing from subcontractors and reviewing drawings for conflicts at no charge to the owner.


Tim Keeney
Project Manager
Chesapeake Contracting Group

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