What it Means
While you will be responsible for the design process, a main contractor will be responsible for getting the house built. In most cases this means they will arrange a team of subcontractors in the various trades to undertake different stages of the project, although some main contractors take on most of their own building work (particularly bricklaying); they will also arrange delivery of materials to the site, although you will be expected to choose (and pay for) the big-ticket items.
Because you’re outsourcing more of the involvement in the work to someone else, this route places much more emphasis on finding the right main contractor. It goes without saying that you will need to be able to maintain a good working relationship with them. You will still need to be in touch with the main contractor on a daily basis, although you could get away with only visiting the site twice a week. You’ll need to be able to make decisions on products and also pay large chunks of money to them at regular intervals (usually either on a monthly invoice or at agreed stages).
This is a way of still being involved in a building project that is ideal for those with time constraints or a lack of experience. You won’t have to worry about lining up all the individual trades, checking deliveries and so on, but you will still be able to influence the big picture.
Is it for Me?
This is a sensible route for people who want an involvement with a building project but don’t have the time to handle all the finer details. You’ll still get a certain amount of stress but, assuming you have a reliable main contractor, then you should have someone who can absorb most of it. You don’t need to have any experience of building for this route and it’s a good way for a first-timer to learn the ropes.