QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK BEFORE STARTING A COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
According to at least two recent surveys, less than 30% of North American construction projects are completed on time and within budget. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising given that contractors need to coordinate numerous disparate elements to move projects forward, including:
- Materials acquisition
- Job site management
Interruptions or disruptions that arise among any of them—like a supply chain issue that delays the arrival of crucial building materials—inevitably affect the smooth and timely coordination of the others. Skilled general contractors are adept at weathering such disruptions, developing workarounds, and keeping the project moving forward. For those investing in a commercial construction project, how does one find such contractors?
Start by asking prospective commercial contractors the right questions. The answers they provide can go a long way in helping you assess their ability to deliver high-quality work on time and within budget. You can begin by asking prospects to detail the history of their company. Naples, Florida-based Carlson Harris Commercial Contractors, for example, would describe how the fourth-generation company has significantly grown since 1927. The company is powered by each generation’s detail-oriented focus on delivering the highest quality construction. Once you’ve learned the history, you can ask us, or other prospective commercial contractors, the following questions:
HOW BIG IS YOUR COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION TEAM?
Depending on the size of your build, this question provides quick insight into whether prospective commercial contractors can handle the job. In general, you probably want to hire a commercial contractor who does not outsource most of their work to subcontractors. At a minimum, your commercial contractor should have dedicated project managers, engineers, and administrative support personnel.
WHAT PROJECT HAVE YOU SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED SIMILAR TO THIS ONE?
The answer to this question will go a long way in informing you whether a prospective commercial contractor can successfully handle your project. If the prospective contractor has done similar projects, you can assess the quality of work. A competent contractor will encourage you to query their clients about the quality of their work.
ARE YOU LICENSED AND INSURED?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” walk away, walk away. From a legal and potential litigation standpoint, commercial contractors who cut these corners should be avoided.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
If your prospective commercial construction contractor is “between jobs” or otherwise idle, we suggest you move on. Business is booming in Southwest Florida, and demand for commercial construction is so great that no reputable contractor could possibly be lacking in work. On the other hand, if your prospective commercial contractor is currently working on multiple projects, ask follow-up questions to assess whether they can truly handle adding your project to the mix. Any response to this question should clearly articulate the resources they can devote to your project, with pertinent details highlighting project timelines.
HOW LONG WILL THE BUILD TAKE?
This question puts your prospective contractor on the spot, which can put the project on a solid footing from the get-go. Whatever answer you receive should be honest with a clear explanation of the different factors that may influence all timing elements. Be wary of answers that are too vague, as well as those too definitive.
HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
The response to this question should indicate that your contractor will strive to keep in touch and regularly update you on the project’s progress. The contractor should also emphasize that you can contact them and/or his project managers should any concerns arise.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE TIMELY AND BUDGET-WISE PROJECTS?
After you’ve run through the other questions, we suggest that you ask this one point blank. Given the myriad issues that can trip a project up, it’s a tricky question for contractors to answer, but their answer should give you confidence in their ability to rise to whatever challenges might emerge. When potential clients ask this question, we describe our six-step plan to keep our Naples-area commercial construction projects on time and within budget.
CARLSON HARRIS AWAITS YOUR COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT QUESTIONS
If you’re looking for an experienced commercial contractor in Southwest Florida, Naples-based Carlson Harris stands ready to answer any questions you might have. We’re dedicated to delivering the highest quality workmanship on time and within budget, whatever the project. To learn more, contact Carlson Harris today at 239-352-2460.