What’s a General Contractor?

What’s a General Contractor?

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A general contractor is a company or an engineering firm that assists its client in a real estate project from A to Z. Whether it is a new build, a renovation or the extension of an existing site, the general contractor offers a turnkey service – from design to completion.


Like a conductor, the general contractor orchestrates all stakeholders to create a building ideally matched to the client’s needs, carrying out the required surveys and coordinating the various trades throughout the project.


The general contractor makes contractual commitments on quality, price and deadlines.


Why rely on a general contractor?


Acting as a single point of contact, the general contractor assists clients in the development of their projects and throughout the construction process – up to the handover. The entire relationship is based on an ongoing, fully transparent dialogue.


  • At the outset, general contractors take part in the project’s legal and financial set-up, as well as in the administrative feasibility study. They define with the client the project’s characteristics (specifications) and carry out the environmental surveys.
  • During the project’s design phase, they provide all their expertise in engineering, architecture and interior design. They fine-tune proposals to address the client’s technical challenges and constraints.
  • Also during the design phase, the general contractor handles administrative authorisations (building permits, environmental licences), as well as the technical design and energy optimisation.
  • In the building’s construction phase, they manage all the professionals working on the site. They oversee on-site quality and safety and – where applicable – advise the client in the environmental certification process.
  • Finally, they ensure the handover of the turnkey building by the agreed deadline and assist the client during commissioning and in the defects liability period.



GSE: a general or a global contractor?


Founded in 1976, GSE was already a specialist and a pioneer, among the first to outline the profession of general contractor. GSE’s organisational model and expertise became the benchmark for the construction industry: a structured organisation with expert teams in design and construction, meeting the objectives of quality, safety, technical innovation and environmental optimisation. Our commercial and technical teams are entirely dedicated to client satisfaction and are fully attuned to their needs.


With 280 engineers and offices in France, across Europe and in China, GSE is now the French and European leader in commercial real estate: research centres, production units, logistics platforms, office buildings and head offices.


45 years on, GSE has extended its offer as a general contractor: we provide more in-depth support in the earliest stages of the project – from the search for land or conversion of industrial brownfield to the legal & financial arrangements. Throughout the project, our deep and strong relationship with the client is the best guarantee of success.


Digital and environmental innovation, based in particular on design and site monitoring tools, combined with a constantly expanded offering of responsible building solutions, make GSE a reference in the construction industry. In addition, we complete our offering with client care after the building’s handover, particularly during commissioning and with the monitoring of energy consumption (EnerGiSE solution): we offer a global contracting solution.