> I have about one million questions. :-)
Mark, the whole idea of a general contractor is that he should be in charge
of all the 'specific' contractors that do the actual work. You can get
involved as much or as little as you want.
> Am I correct is assuming that person should be able to handle
> everything from slab plans to plumbing to electrical to how to tie into
> the existing sewer, working with the steel building supplier, etc?
If that's what you want them to do, they should be able to do it. But all
the things you mention will most likely actually be done by subcontractors.
> 1) permits all get approved (ideally this would be prior to us actually
> closing on the house, as not being able to build the shop would make us
> not want the house...) (me? Someone else?)
Your general should be able to do all this. You can, if you want, write the
permit approval into your offer to buy the house. (Of course, the seller
may decide they don't want to take the risk and sell to someone else, so
this isn't always the best idea.)
> Is this sounding like something a general contractor would help with or
> would I need to be my own general contractor?
You can be your own if you want, but it's a lot of work and usually a lot to
learn. And it's not uncommon for local people to steer you wrong as
punishment for not hiring someone to do it.
Find someone who is willing to work with you on the topic of how much work
you'd like to do yourself; some don't like doing this because of the
potential for misunderstandings.
> If I was the general
> contractor, how does the permit stuff work? A very brief check with the
> Mahoning county website related to new buildings
> (http://www.mahoning-health.org/building/home.htm) indicates that
> you need
> licensed folks to do plumbing & electrical permits for instance...
Note that that page is talking about new homes, the rules may not be as
strict for buildings without sleeping quarters. You probably do need
licensed people to get the permits, but that doesn't necessarily mean they
have to do the work. Generally there is some method where you can do the
work yourself and have a licensed electrician, plumber, etc. inspect it.
You might also want to check a little more carefully into whether a permit
is absolutely required for what you plan to do. Most of the items on that
web page don't seem to apply to your case.