If you’ve ever been to St. Louis, Missouri, you are familiar with the awe-inspiring skyline, and the iconic centerpiece that is the famous Gateway Arch. This marvel of engineering is impressive even today, so we can only imagine the technical prowess that it must have taken to design in the late 1940s. What makes this monument even more impressive is the fact that when finished in 1965, it was the tallest memorial in the nation.

Gateway Arch Gateway Arch Old Gateway Arch New

Constructed in just 4 years, the graceful 603 foot arch designed by architect Eero Saarinen was a masterpiece of engineering, contracting and skillful subcontractors working together effectively, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right people to work with.

Whether you are a homeowner looking to renovate your backyard, or a large contractor who needs to bring subcontractors onto a project, choosing the right contractors and subcontractors can be the difference between being on-budget and on-schedule, and the unnecessary headaches that come with being over-budget and endlessly delayed.

The first step in choosing the right contractor is to understand the roles and responsibilities of each:

High-Level Contractors

Unless you are planning to build a skyscraper, or work for a major government agency, chances are you won’t need a high-level contractor. High-level contractors typically take on major projects, such as bridges and high-rise buildings. These contractors usually have large staffs, and will hire general contractors and subcontractors to complete many of the smaller aspects of the project.

General Contractors

General contractors are the most versatile types of contractors. They can take on essentially any project that isn’t a bridge or a skyscraper, and they are an essential part of any home or business construction project. General contractors will almost always hire sub-contractors, and they also serve as the point of contact for and between sub-contractors and the client.


Sub-contractors are typically the most specialized types of contractors, which is why general contractors will hire them onto projects. The different types of sub-contractors includes:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Fire
  • Demolition
  • Janitorial

Keeping all of those contractors on-schedule is an important task, and it requires not only a proficient general contractor, but effective and ethical subcontractors as well. In addition to providing burglar and fire alarm systems, Mijac Alarm is an accredited fire contractor, and we have worked on thousands of projects during our 43 years in business. We understand firsthand how important it is to keep all of the pieces of a project organized and moving forward, and we will be discussing what to look for in a contractor in future articles.

Imagine what would have happened if the Gateway Arch’s contractors were disorganized and ill-equipped for the job. One thing’s for sure, they would have had a very difficult job lining up the pieces!

For more information about Mijac Alarm’s fire alarm contracting services, or for general information about the services we offer, please call us during regular business hours at (909)985-4524, or visit our main website by clicking here.

Photos Credit: GatewayArch.com, StorageLocations.com/St. Louis

Written and edited by Ian Eckstein and Steve Sopkin

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