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The Difference Between a Heavy Contractor and Other Types of Contractors

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The difference between heavy contractors and others is based on the types of projects they undertake. Heavy contractors work on major infrastructure projects which make life easier for the general public.

Projects in the jurisdiction of heavy contractors include; sewers, bridges, highways, tunnels, and more. In addition, large government contractors (working on state and federal projects) are mostly always heavy construction firms. Heavy contractors have the responsibility of spearheading solutions to the unique challenges these projects pose. 

Heavy contractors have to field industry experts and professionals. All heavy construction experts and professionals work towards completing projects on time and within budget.

The construction industry is quite broad, and there are different contractors for varying projects. In this blog, we’ll be exploring the differences between heavy contractors and other types of contractors.

The Different Types of Construction

The basic difference between heavy contractors and others lies in their roles. Hence, in this section, we’ll take a look at what each type of construction entails before exploring further differentiating factors.

Residential Building

Residential building construction involves the creation, repair, and remodeling of housing structures. 

Common housing structures in the residential building category include:

  • Nursing homes
  • Townhomes
  • Dorms
  • Condos
  • Apartment buildings

Beyond building these structures, maintenance and installation services in any of these building types also fall in the residential building category. 

The primary residential contractor may not be directly responsible for maintenance, design, and installation. Instead, they’ll most likely hire subcontractors. However, residential contractors have the expertise to coordinate such projects.

Commercial Building

As with residential constructions, commercial contractors also oversee the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of buildings in their care. Commercial building projects involve:

  • Sports arenas
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Retail stores
  • Shopping centers
  • Skyscrapers

Though private owners may also commission these structures, commercial contractors often work with huge companies or the government.

Specialized Industrial Construction

Specialized industrial construction involves erecting structures that necessitate high-level technical know-how in design, planning, and construction. Industrial companies and corporations commission these types of structures.

Examples of such constructions are:

  • Oil refineries
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Hydroelectric power plants

These structures are highly specialized, requiring high-level precision in design and construction.

Heavy Construction

Heavy construction also translates to infrastructure construction. Heavy construction involves:

  • Railways
  • Communication infrastructure
  • Skyscrapers
  • Tunnels
  • Dams
  • Bridges
  • Underground transit
  • Airport runways

These projects are always in the public’s interest and require heavy construction methods. Beyond the government, large corporations can also commission such projects. Heavy construction companies can often be found on local listing sites such as WeberDex.

Heavy Construction Crane

The Major Differences Between Heavy Contractors and Others

The differences between heavy contractors and others depend on the specifics of their projects and the construction methods used. In this section, we’ll look at the factors that make heavy construction projects different from others.

Use Case

Governments and large corporations often commission heavy construction projects. The impacts of heavy projects on the general public’s welfare are massive. Also, heavy projects are always at a large scale and in numerous locations across the country. Heavy contractors have the responsibility of delivering projects as economically as possible.

Heavy contractors have to ensure that their projects are environmentally friendly. The completed project must serve the general public for numerous decades. These are the usage metrics that distinguish a heavy contractor from others.

Design

Unlike other contractors who have to meet the specifications of specific individuals and companies, heavy contractors deal with the government and large corporate bodies. They have to ensure efficiency in coordination, schedule, and cost. The designs, project scope, and schedule for a heavy contractor’s project are more about functionality than aesthetics.

The design of heavy construction projects is always on a large scale and in line with architecture designs provided by the government entity in question. The design stage for heavy contractor projects also considers long-term longevity and accommodations for future growth. Other infrastructure will arise in the future and should complement the current project.

Support Infrastructure

When engaging heavy construction machinery, support infrastructure is vital. There’s the need for specialized support systems for the heavy equipment involved with heavy construction. 

The support structures help with the effective management of the project’s complexity. They also exist to ensure a heavy construction project has the least possible environmental impact.

Technical Requirements – Equipment and Capabilities

Heavy construction relies heavily on civil engineering capabilities. The equipment a heavy contractor will need differs from that of commercial, industrial, and residential contractors. For instance, you’ll need equipment like dredgers.

During heavy construction, it’s vital to use high-quality machinery. Only high-quality machinery can deliver excellent results.

A heavy contractor needs to learn to manage different teams. Heavy construction workers function as a team at every stage of project delivery.

Timing & Schedule

The scheduling of heavy construction projects may differ from project to project—the difference in schedule is based on the efficiency of the heavy contractor in question. But, on average, heavy constructions take more time. The time factor means heavy contractors need to be efficient to save as much time as possible.

Some projects take weeks, others take months or many years. Heavy contractors must build infrastructure to last several decades, hence the need for more time for design and construction. In addition, the need to effectively balance safety, risk, and innovation is an important factor during each stage of heavy construction.

Project Oversight

Commercial, residential, and industrial contractors are always under owner or investor scrutiny. Owners and investors want to cut down on expenses while speeding up project completion. The faster residential contractors finish a project, the sooner the owner or investor can start getting returns.

The reality is different with heavy construction. Governments and big corporations fund projects, making the project’s oversight subject to politics. Due to the politics within government and large corporations, efficiency is always almost impossible; projects often drag longer than they should.

Also, heavy contractors need to manage the interest of different project stakeholders. The burden of oversight makes the job of a heavy contractor tough. 

Final Words

Heavy contractors and others work in the same industry; however, there are differences between them. Heavy contractors may spend years working on a single project. The job is tedious, requires heavy construction methods, and is not profit-driven for the commissioners—government and large corporations.

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