When it comes to any construction project, choosing the right general contractor can mean the difference between a smooth, successful operation and a stressful, sub-par outcome. The right GC ensures that your construction project is carried out with utmost professionalism, from initial plans to the final brick. Here's a detailed roadmap to help you make this critical decision.
Check All Resources First
Before diving into specifics, it’s crucial to compile a comprehensive list of potential GCs. Many reliable resources can provide information and contacts for GCs.
Associations like the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Associated General Contractors of America are rich resources. Industry forums like the Construction Users Roundtable and Building Owners and Managers Association International also offer abundant insights.
The goal here isn't just to find a GC; it's about curating a solid list of potential partners that you can further scrutinize to find the perfect fit for your project.
Values to Look At
When vetting potential GCs, licensing should be your primary concern. Any GC under consideration must be fully licensed in the state and city where your project is located. Ignoring this aspect can be disastrous. Unlicensed GCs pose significant risks, from non-compliance with codes to financial liabilities when selling the property.
Be detail-oriented when requesting proof of licensing, as many licenses are specific to certain domains or specialties.
Referrals and References
Word-of-mouth referrals and references are powerful tools when evaluating potential GCs. First-hand experiences provide valuable insights into what you can expect in terms of work quality, reliability, and professionalism.
Previous and Current Work
A potential GC’s previous and current work offers a snapshot of their competence. Scrutinize their portfolio and assess whether their expertise aligns with your project's requirements. This can be further broken down into the quality of their work quality, portfolio diversity, previous client satisfaction, and their adherence to budgets and timelines.
Their attention to detail going to be the main factor to look at when assessing their work quality. Evaluate their precision and adherence to designs and plans. Did they maintain aesthetic appeal without compromising on structural integrity?
A versatile GC will have experience in various types of projects, from commercial to industrial, and even specialized facilities such as those for healthcare or education. When assessing the range of their work, you will also want to look for their experience with scale. You will need to find a GC that has a record of working on projects that are similar in size and complexity to the project you are working on, as this will indicate a higher level of capability and resources.
From positive reviews by previous clients to repeat business and continued projects with a single developer, this can often be one of the strongest indicators to look for when evaluating a GC.
Timelines and Budgets
Adherence to an established timeline and budget is essential in every development. You will want a GC who has a strong track record of staying within the budget that they are given at the start of the project and who is able to meet the deadlines that they are given.
While competitive pricing is important, making a decision based solely on cost can be counterproductive. After all, quality work often comes at a price.
Business relationships hinge on communication, trust, and professional compatibility. When meeting potential GCs, evaluate the ease of communication and their willingness to understand your vision. Given the diverse range of people involved in a construction project – from architects to engineers – your chosen GC should be able to coordinate efficiently and harmoniously with all.
Keep the Project Particulars in Mind
Each construction project has its unique needs, scale, and challenges. Discuss the specifics of your project with the potential GCs to ensure they're capable of handling your project's specific requirements. This includes realistic and achievable timelines that meet your schedule.
Choosing the right GC is not a decision to take lightly. It requires careful research, meticulous vetting, and thoughtful consideration.
bRENT ATKISSON >
Director of Construction
Brent Atkisson is highly experienced with a strong background in development, remodeling, property management, IT infrastructures, facility management, and maintenance. He has managed projects for 75 ground up and restaurant conversions, and more than 130 restaurant remodels. Since joining SimonCRE, Brent has overseen 120+ build to suit projects including The Steelyard in Chandler, AZ, Simon Medical Center in Laveen, AZ, the Village at Prasada in Surprise, AZ, and Jackrabbit Ranch Marketplace in Buckeye, AZ.