Finding the right general contractor for a new project doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or challenging process. Of course, you need a combination of reliable teamwork, strategic onsite management and straightforward budgeting to ensure your project is successful. But to streamline your decision-making process, ask the following questions when you’re researching firms:
1. WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DOES THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR HAVE?
This is typically the first thing that springs to mind when choosing a construction firm. A firm that has decades of experience must be doing something right to thrive in such a competitive industry.
While the length of time that a company has been tackling construction projects is important, there is another factor that also needs to be considered. Experienced general contractors have also made numerous connections with businesses, contractors and suppliers that are able to support the smooth execution of your latest project.
2. WHAT PROJECT EXPERIENCE DOES THE FIRM HAVE?
The Bay Area is a vibrant, diverse and rapidly-growing community that encompasses multiple types of projects, from complex concrete tilt-ups to sprawling commercial spaces. In one of the tech capitals of the world, buildings are expected to be models of innovation. Commercial clients want to be able to demonstrate to their tenants that they are creative and forward-thinking, and their facilities are a great place to start. The ideal firm is able to work closely with their clients and expand their initial conception to a final project that meets the client vision and goals. They’ll be willing and able to try innovative techniques to deliver a better experience, and ultimately a better end result.
3. WHAT IS THE FIRM’S PHILOSOPHY ABOUT WORKING IN TANDEM WITH CLIENTS?
Gone are the days when a construction firm laid out the plans for executing a project and that was the final word on the matter. Obviously, good general contractors require plenty of expertise, and top firms will know all about the codes and regulations they need to follow. But they should also view you as a full partner in the project.
Today’s consumers know a lot more about the real estate and construction industry than they used to. As such, you have definitive opinions about the finished project. The right construction firm is one who works well with you as part of a team to achieve your goals. Do they find a way to say “yes” when others might say “no”? That’s a sign of a team that will strive to deliver satisfaction to you every step of the way.
4. HOW DOES THE FIRM STAY ON BUDGET?
While cost shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision, it’s naive to think that staying within a pre-set budget isn’t critical to your success. When it comes to bidding, a more experienced general contractor may provide you with a higher initial estimate. However, they are more likely to have the expertise to estimate accurately and stay on budget than a less established company that has a lower bid.
5. HOW DOES THE FIRM HANDLE COMMUNICATION AND DECISION MAKING?
Communication is a vital aspect of any construction project. Too often, though, it’s not handled efficiently—which can bog down the progress of your build. Forming a strong, cohesive construction team whose sole purpose is to oversee your project is crucial to maintaining communication, facilitating decision making and ensuring that things keep moving forward.