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Construction Developer vs. General Contractor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Construction developers and general contractors are both important roles in the construction industry. While developers typically work on the planning and design aspects of a project, contractors are responsible for the actual construction. If you’re interested in a career in construction, understanding the difference between these two job titles can help you decide which path is right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast construction developers and general contractors, and we provide information on education and training requirements, job duties and salary expectations.

What is ?

Construction Developers are responsible for the overall development of a construction project. They work with architects, engineers, and other construction professionals to plan and oversee the construction process from start to finish. Construction Developers typically have a background in architecture or engineering, and they use their knowledge of the construction process to ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest standards. Construction Developers typically work for construction companies, engineering firms, or architectural firms.

What is a General Contractor?

A General Contractor is a professional who is responsible for the overall coordination of a construction project. They are in charge of hiring and managing subcontractors, ordering materials, and making sure that the construction project stays on schedule and within budget. General Contractors typically have a team of workers who they direct and oversee, but they may also work independently on smaller projects. In either case, they are responsible for ensuring that the construction project is completed safely, on time and within budget.

vs. General Contractor

Here are the main differences between and a general contractor.

Job Duties

General contractors and construction developers fulfill different duties during the building process. Construction developers research, plan and manage the entire development process. They work with clients to determine project requirements and design buildings based on those needs. Construction developers also hire subcontractors and manage budgets and schedules.

General contractors oversee construction sites to ensure that projects remain on schedule and within budget. They monitor construction crews, provide feedback and communicate with clients. General contractors may perform some hands-on construction tasks, like installing fixtures or painting walls. They also assist construction crews by providing materials and equipment.

Job Requirements

Construction managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in construction science, engineering or management. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many construction managers pursue certifications through the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) or the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use construction software and other tools they might need on the job.

General contractors typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some jobs may require general contractors to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, construction science, engineering or management. In addition, many general contractors pursue certification through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This organization offers training programs that teach professionals how to use construction software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Construction developers work in an office environment, while general contractors work on construction sites. Construction developers may spend their days sitting at a desk and using computers to create plans for new buildings or renovations. General contractors often travel between different job sites, where they oversee the entire project from start to finish. They may also spend time working with clients to ensure that projects meet their needs.


Construction developers and general contractors share some similarities in the skills they use on the job. Both need to be able to read and interpret blueprints, as well as have a strong understanding of construction methods and materials. They also both need to be able to manage workers and projects effectively, as well as stay within budget constraints.

However, there are some key differences in the skills used by construction developers and general contractors. Construction developers typically need to have stronger financial skills, as they are often responsible for securing funding for their projects. They also need to be adept at negotiating, as they may need to negotiate with landowners, government officials and other stakeholders. General contractors, on the other hand, need to be more hands-on, as they are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a construction site.


The average salary for a construction developer is $91,880 per year, while the average salary for a general contractor is $69,149 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company you work for, the location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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