The builder you choose for your commercial building construction may be the most crucial decision you make throughout the project. That is because the builder coordinates all the different pieces that make up the construction project.
The builder is the bridge that links your vision for the project, the designer’s conception of it, and the actualization of the building plans. A good builder connects you to all the resources you need to make your dream building into a reality.
He or she is your partner for success. Every decision and action of the builder will cost you in time, money, and energy. And if the builder makes a wrong decision, that choice can reverberate throughout the lifetime of the building, warns Mike Dunfee Group Team.
A good builder can make or break your commercial building project. Or, at the very least, he or she can make the construction a challenging process. This is why you should be very careful when choosing a builder for your commercial building project.
Here are the essential questions you should ask a builder before you hire them for your project.
1. What is the history of your business?
The longer they have been in business, the more experience they will have. A new company may simply be a bad builder that has rebranded and is operating under a new name.
2. Do you have project managers?
The site supervisor and subcontractors are your direct point of contact on the site. If a company does not have project managers and site supervisors, it could affect the project quality and schedule.
3. Have you worked on similar projects in the past?
This question helps determine if the project is within the builder’s scope. An experienced builder, who has not worked on similar projects, cannot be the right fit.
4. Are you bonded, licensed, and insured?
The builder must be licensed by the appropriate state and municipal authorities. Hiring a bonded builder ensures you get a quality job. Proper insurance protects you from liabilities.
5. What sets your business apart from your competitors?
Do they have unique processes they have developed through the years? Or maybe it is the quality of their project managers and subcontractors that sets them apart?
6. Can you supply relevant references?
These are references to past projects that are similar to your own. Recommendations don’t amount to much if they don’t demonstrate the builder’s ability to handle your project.
7. Do you have a claims record?
Claim records show how often past clients have been unhappy with a contractor’s work. The details of the case show if the client had reasonable grounds for making a claim and if you have anything to fear.
8. Where are your suppliers located?
Local suppliers mean that the contractor will have more control over how and when materials are delivered. Out-of-state contractors can be problematic.
9. What is your timeline for this project?
Having a fixed delivery date for the project commits the contractor and forces them to work harder to avoid delays. But this only works if there are penalties for not meeting the deadline.
10. Were you on time with your last three similar projects?
The answer to this question establishes whether the contractor consistently delivers projects on time or not. Verify all answers by cross-checking the references provided for the projects.
11. Do you guarantee your work?
What kind of guarantees do they provide? Is there a warranty on the materials used for the work? All guarantees and warranties on the project must be in writing.
12. Is this bid an estimate or a fixed price?
Establishing the costs of the project at the outset will help you avoid unpleasant surprises during the build-out. Without this step, your costs may spiral out of control.
13. Who is your designer?
The contractor may have an in-house designer or outsource the design to others. You could also have your own designer work with contractor’s designers.
14. What is your payment schedule?
It is vital to know beforehand when payments will be due. The schedule should include details for a down payment, progress payments, and the final payment.
15. When can construction begin?
The date for the commencement of the project depends on several events. Only after the contractor has received the building plans and necessary permits can they schedule the project takeoff.
16. How do you contain project costs?
Contractors usually estimate their bids based on what subcontractors bid for different parts of the project. This means that the project cost is only valid within a specific timeframe.
17. What is your safety record like?
A strong safety record reveals a contractor who pays attention to details and makes on-site safety a primary concern. A good safety record means the contractor will do a thorough job.
18. What does your schedule look like at the moment?
The contractor has to be able to fit your project into their schedule. If there is no room in the schedule, your project will not be done.