What Does a Utility Contractor Do: Differences with General Contractors

In today’s modern world, it’s easy to forget how much work goes into making society run. Without utility work and general contractors, our world would look much different. 

Many people ask, “What does a utility contractor do?” Everything from making coffee in the morning to watching TV at night involves unseen labor from utility contractors.

There’s a whole world underneath the steel and concrete you see every day on your way to work or to pick up groceries. Under your feet lies a complex network of pipes and cables, smoothly running the world. Utility construction is quite literally the foundation of our society. 

This blog will explore utility contractors’ roles and some of their differences from general contractors. This blog will also explore why you need insurance for utility contractor workers. 

What Is a Utility Contractor and What Do They Do? 

When asking, “What does a utility contractor do?” there can be many answers. Essentially, a utility contractor (sometimes called an underground utility contractor) supports the overall construction and maintenance of society’s infrastructure. 

A utility contractor’s main responsibilities include troubleshooting issues, repairing broken gas, electrical, or water lines, and installing new lines. 

The role of a utility contractor isn’t one-size-fits-all. Many industries and jobs need utility contractors, including: 

  • Shipping and transportation industries 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Agriculture 
  • Safety observations
  • Electricians 
  • Plumbers
  • Operating heavy equipment 
  • Traffic control
  • Managing vegetation 

How Do Utility Contractors Obtain Work? 

Some utility contractors will specialize in one industry or job type. General utility contractors might be more flexible in the work they accept. If a utility contractor doesn’t already have a specific contract from a job, they will usually bid for work. 

Generally speaking, contractors bid for work from a specific utility company. Once they secure employment from this company, the contractor will start obtaining work orders or crew requests. 

From start to completion, utility contractors or their employers will account for the following: 

  • Specific work schedules 
  • All the necessary permits
  • Compiling all the essential documents 
  • Notifying the necessary parties 
  • Gathering all the required materials 

The utility contractor will bill the company for work completed at the end of the project or by adhering to specific timelines. Businesses can use utility contractors to ramp up their infrastructure when needed or on an emergency basis. 

Why Are Qualified Utility Contractors So Essential? 

Utility contractors encompass a broad field, but people commonly link them to industrial and commercial projects. For example, underground work involves pipes, powerlines, and cables—areas a utility contractor can handle.

When searching for a utility contractor for your business or project, hiring someone with the necessary qualifications is crucial. You should hire a qualified utility contractor or contracting team for three main reasons: 

The Work Is Dangerous

We have better safety standards regarding areas like gas pipelines. However, 1,087 severe pipeline accidents have happened in the last two decades. Of those accidents, 91% were directly tied to gas pipelines

The bottom line is that utility work is dangerous. A qualified team will know what they’re doing and will comply with the latest safety standards. 

You Can Avoid Property Damage 

Besides qualified utility contractors protecting themselves and those around them, they’ll also avoid damaging your property or nearby utilities. Of course, accidents still happen, but qualified contractors have insurance to protect against property damage. 

This insurance can help you offset property damage with monetary compensation should an issue arise. 

You Can Save Time and Money

It’s tempting to hire an unqualified utility contractor to save time and money, especially if you only have a small project. However, an unqualified contractor may cost you more time and money and leave you with an unfinished project. 

Is There a Difference Between General Contractors? 

Depending on your area, there can be different general contractor licenses and requirements. In New York, only crane operators and contractors handling asbestos may receive a permit at the state level. 

A home improvement license applies to most New York contractors. For this sector, workers must obtain specific licenses to work in Buffalo, New York, and counties like Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester. 

Call Our Insurance Team Today 

Whether your business is repairing service lines, operating cranes, or handling asbestos, you’ll want the right insurance plan. TCE Insurance Services Inc. can pair you with a customized service plan to meet your needs and budget. 

Staten Island, NY, residents can discover “What does a utility contractor do” and different insurance types in construction by calling (718) 571-8385 during business days.