What is a Builder?

A builder typically refers to a licensed professional who is responsible for overseeing the construction of a building or structure, from the planning phase to completion. Builders may work on various types of projects, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities. Some common types of builders include:

  • brown wooden door opened with green window curtains
  • modern building with unusual architecture
  • brown high rise building
  • landscape sky water clouds
  • view of a city from an airplane
  • photo of house near beach

To become a licensed builder in California, individuals must meet specific education and experience requirements, pass a qualifying exam, and obtain a license from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Builders in California are required to comply with various state and local building codes and regulations to ensure the safety and quality of the structures they construct.

There are several players involved in the construction of a building, each with their own specific roles and responsibilities. Three of the most common players are general contractors, construction managers, and subcontractors. While all three are involved in the construction process, they each have different responsibilities and play different roles in the project.

General Contractors

A general contractor is responsible for overseeing the entire construction project from start to finish. They are responsible for managing all aspects of the project, including coordinating with architects and engineers, obtaining permits and licenses, hiring subcontractors, and managing the construction process. General contractors are typically hired by the project owner.

Construction Managers

Construction managers are responsible for overseeing the planning, design, and construction of a project. They work closely with the project owner, architects, engineers and contractor to ensure the project is completed on time, within budget, and meets all building codes and regulations. Unlike general contractors, construction managers focus on managing the construction process rather than performing or contracting the physical work themselves.

They use their technical knowledge and project management skills to coordinate the work of all parties involved. Construction managers are hired by the project owner or the general contractor and may also act as a general contractor in some cases.


Subcontractors are typically hired by the general contractor to perform specific tasks or trades within the construction project. Subcontractors may specialize in areas such as plumbing, electrical, concrete, or roofing.

Subcontractors are typically responsible for providing their own equipment, materials, and labor to complete their specific tasks. They work under the direction of the general contractor, and are responsible for completing their work to the required standards and within the specified timeline.