Finding a General Contractor for Your Commercial Construction Project
Depending on the general contractor you choose, a commercial renovation or construction project can be smooth sailing or a massive headache. Things can turn south quickly if you select a contractor who has poor communication or fails to understand the particulars of your business.
Often, the lowest bid may not be the best value, and going with the lowest bidder could potentially cost more in the long run if you have to go back and fix something that was built incorrectly the first time.
Tip 1: Find Reputable Candidates
A general contractor’s role includes supervising the construction of the project. Therefore, you need someone who is knowledgeable, responsive and professional.
You can start by finding reputable candidates by asking friends or family. Print advertising and the Internet are also great places to go for information. When screening candidates, find out how long the company has been in business and what type of projects they have experience with. If you’re a doctor looking to expand his practice, you definitely don’t want a general contractor who doesn’t have any experience working on a medical construction project.
If you are planning a renovation for a location that will need to remain open, ask if the contractor has experience working in occupied spaces to ensure minimal disruption. And if your project doesn’t have plans yet, you may want to look for one who provides design-build services.
Tip 2: Ask for References
When screening a general contractor, an important place to start is by asking for references of past projects and clients that are similar to yours that you can follow up on.
Obviously, the next step is to follow up with those references and ask if they were happy with the contractors work. Also, be sure to ask if there was open communication throughout the project.
You’ll also want to ask the general contractor for their license and check to see if they have been involved in any lawsuits or any disciplinary action taken against them.
Tip 3: Interview the Contractor
This is the first step in the communication process. You’ll want to know how your project will be supervised and if there will always be a foreman or superintendent on site. This is also a time to discuss project timelines and issues in advance because obtaining the proper permits can fluctuate widely.
Find out how the contractor will inform you on project updates, and now is a good time to determine how frequently you want updates. For example, you might want weekly updates via email and a meeting once a month on-site.
Tip 4: Don’t Be Misled by the Lowest Price
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s now time to ask your final candidates for an estimate on your project plans. In this economy, most commercial construction companies have reduced their profits to remain competitive.
The one company with the much lower estimate could be using substandard materials. Or even worse, they could be omitting requirements only to add them on later with change orders, so make sure all bids are covering the same materials and requirements.
By following these four tips through your interview process, you will be well on your way to having a successful, stress-free construction or renovation project for your new space.