Everyone who reads our blog knows how dedicated we are to teaching people about our industry. For us, building relationships is just as important as all the other building we do—and teaching you what we know is a part of that. In the past, we’ve talked a little bit about how to hire the right commercial contractor. You can find that article here. But in today’s blog post, we’re not just going to talk about the right questions to ask before you hire a general contractor. We’re going to give you some questions you should ask during a project as well. It’s important to us that you understand the industry as much as possible. It makes things easier for us, and it saves you a lot of headache, too. That’s why we’re going to take some time to give you a few important questions to ask your commercial general contractor.
Important Questions about Experience and Timelines
One of the most important questions to ask your commercial general contractor is, “How long have you been in the construction industry?” In construction, experience is everything. General contractors that don’t have the right experience for your project won’t be able to get your project done right. It’s that simple. But if they’ve been around for a while and have a lot of experience completing projects in your area, it’s a good sign. It’s not just about the things they’ve seen and dealt with on the job. It’s about the systems that they’ve put in place. Good commercial general contractors have controls in place to make sure they get their projects done on time and on budget. And often, they’ve had enough time to make important connections. It’s safer to go with a general contractor who knows good subcontractors in the area than one with no connections at all.
When you hire your commercial general contractor, you should also be asking them, “What is our timeline for project completion?” If the answer is “I don’t know,” that’s an immediate red flag. It’s important for general contractors and project owners to have a good working relationship. And part of that relationship is establishing a clear project timeline. So if your commercial general contractor has an idea of the project timeline and they hesitate to show it to you, that should raise some eyebrows as well. You should know what to expect when you’re getting into a project. It’s the general contractor’s job to make sure that’s the case. And in addition to asking about the project timeline, it’s a good idea to ask about any potential delays. The more you know about what’s going on and what might slow the project down, the happier you’ll be with your finished project.
Questions to Ask Your Commercial General Contractor about Getting in Touch and the Working Day
Another important thing to ask is, “How do you want me to get in touch with you?” This is such an important question, and so many people either forget or never knew to ask. You need to be able to get in touch with your commercial general contractor. It’s as simple as that. They may not give you their personal cell number—or they might, depending on the contractor—but you need a point of contact. This could be the business owner or a construction manager; either way, you need to have someone to speak with who can keep you updated. Ask your contractor what times and mediums work best for them. Would they rather you called or texted? Will they respond more frequently during the morning or in the evening? These are all good things to know so you can keep in touch.
You should also consider asking your general contractor, “What will your working day be like?” If you plan on being home when construction starts every day, it’s a good idea to find out when to expect the construction team. And even if you won’t be there during construction, it’s still a good idea to keep yourself informed about your project. It’s helpful to know how much noise to expect from construction and how long they will be there each day. And your contractor might ask you some questions, too. They may want to know things like when you’ll be home (in case they need something) or where to find power outlets that their team can use. It’s an important conversation to have. Good commercial general contractors will do everything in their power to make sure everyone, including their team, is up to speed.
Questions to Ask about Resolving Disputes
Lastly, it’s incredibly important that you ask your commercial general contractor about how to resolve any disputes that might arise. In this article about design-build project delivery, we talked a little bit about some of the negative impacts that unresolved disputes can have on a project. Hopefully, it will never come to that. But in an industry where unexpected delays happen, it’s important to have a plan in case things go wrong. Just asking the question is a good way of figuring out whether a general contractor is right for you. If they have a ready answer, it means that they’ve already established a system for resolving issues. Ask them about issues that they’ve had come up before with other clients. Having issues isn’t necessarily a problem—not knowing how to handle them is.
Good commercial general contractors have all the right answers to these questions. And at Western Constructors, we’re confident that we can answer any of these questions to your satisfaction. We have the experience necessary to make the right decisions, and we’ve been around long enough to know that we can take on projects of any size. And we take the time to make sure our clients know everything they want to know about their projects. We don’t want to keep you in the dark—we want you to ask questions to make the process easy. If you’re interested in looking at some more important questions to ask your commercial general contractor, be sure to check out this article. It can be difficult to ask questions when you’re not sure what to ask. We wanted to give you these questions so you can be prepared for anything.
*This post was written by Third Loft Marketing.