If you’ve never built a home before (and even if you have), the terms surrounding the residential building industry can be confusing, especially those describing specific industry roles. Before you begin your new home or renovation project, study up on what each of the industry professionals listed below does, so you know who to call when you need help.

General Contractor

A general contractor is a construction professional who performs a variety of construction services for clients. General contractors working on residential projects are required to have a residential builders license in the state of Michigan.

Unlike home builders, general contractors do not necessarily specialize in one area such as home building or renovations. General contractors will hire out subcontractors to perform specialized parts of the construction job, such as roofers and electricians. If you work with a general contractor for a new home, you will need to work with an architect to create your home design and provide blueprints for your contractor to work from.

Home Builder

A home builder is a company that specializes in the construction of private residences. In Michigan, home builders are required to have a residential builders license. Some home builders specialize in prefabricated homes or have a selection of home designs to choose from, while others build custom homes. Like a general contractor, home builders generally oversee the entire building process for their clients, hiring subcontractors for specialized work as necessary. Unlike general contractors, home builders generally offer design and architectural services to their clients, and may even have an architect on staff to create blueprints for the home.


Architects are different from both home builders and general contractors. Architects design buildings and spaces; they are not generally involved in construction. To be an architect, one must complete a college degree in architecture and be licensed in their state per guidelines from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Starting a home renovation or new home construction project can be intimidating, but we hope that we’ve cleared up a little bit of the lingo for you so that you can get your project off to the right start with the right pro for the job.

If you’re embarking on a construction project, whether you’re doing it yourself or looking to hire a pro, Zeeland Lumber & Supply is your source for lumber and building materials for any project. Give our office a call at (888) 772-2119, contact us online, or stop into one of our local showrooms to see how we can help today!

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