Selecting a Design & Construction Partner
Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Selecting an Experienced Company
Any new construction project for your business will require a significant investment. Whether you’re building your first facility, remodeling an older building, or expanding your office or production area, selecting the right design and construction partner for the job will save you money, hassle, and time in the long run.
Here are some key questions you’ll want to ask a potential design and construction partner as you begin your search.
What kind of experience do you have?
By selecting an established and proven design and construction company, you’ll not only be buying their services but also their accumulated years of experience, training, and business processes that can make your overall project run smoothly and efficiently.
Do you have references?
Just like any other service, you should get a few references from your potential design and construction company before signing the final paperwork. Talking with other clients about how their projects went, how problems were addressed and resolved, the quality and frequency of communication, and any issues that they were unhappy with can go a long way in helping you select a quality partner.
Who will be working on the project?
Important for you to consider is how the design and construction company staffs their projects. Some businesses will have in-house architects, designers, and engineers and will create a project team from those employees. These types of organizations frequently have more control over the projects, and their references will reflect how well these employees work together.
Other organizations, however, may rely on a network of subcontractors or outsource parts of each project. If this is the case, you’ll want to perform some due diligence on those subcontractors and outside organizations as well.
Can I get copies of your license and insurance documents?
The capital you will be investing for a design and construction project is likely to be significant. It’s critical that you ask for and carefully review the design and construction company’s licensure and insurance documentation to make sure you are not putting your organization at risk by hiring them. Ask for:
- Contracting License. Reputable companies should provide you with their contracting license number, which should cover the services you want them to perform. Be sure to spend the time tracing the number to ensure that there are no legal judgments or court cases against the business. In addition, you can see if the organization has used different company names as well, which can be a red flag about its past.
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Design and construction work can be dangerous, so you should make sure the company you hire has adequate insurance for any accidents or injuries that may occur. If the company does not have insurance, you may be responsible for these accident or injury bills.
- General Liability Insurance. In addition to insurance related to the contractor’s employees, check the policy for coverage of property damage as well. Structural failures, construction equipment failures, and employee negligence can all result in significant costs.
How will we agree on project schedules, material costs, and unexpected problems that arise?
Whenever you embark on a major design and construction project, you need to establish with the contractor ahead of time a clear understanding of the overall project timeline, material and labor costs, and what happens when delays or additional problems arise.
When you work with an experienced design and construction company, it’s more likely that they will have hammered out common issues in past projects. They may be more realistic in the timing of projects, the typical delays and problems that occur, and how to come up with more accurate estimates at the beginning of the project.
Factors such as inclement weather, new compliance or regulatory issues, or supply chain problems may not be the fault of any involved party. However, these disruptions can have a significant impact on a design and construction project. Be sure you clearly outline how the extra costs, any damages, and any unexpected delays will be handled.
How does communication work?
Reputable design and construction companies should provide a clear communication process for you as the client. You will typically have an on-site project manager who will be your key contact person. Be sure you have an email address and cellphone number for this contact.
You also need to establish expectations for updates and how problems will be communicated and resolved. Perhaps the project manager will provide updates at the end of each day or week in writing. Or, you may set up regular status check meetings with key individuals to address any issues or problems that arise.
You may want to discuss how frequently the project manager will be physically on-site, as well as the number of contractors and employees working in any given period.
What about safety and claim records and guarantees?
Reputable companies should be honest and aboveboard about any safety or claim records. Ideally, they have no or few claims. If any exist, they should be willing to discuss the situation and its resolution.
Along the same lines, quality companies stand behind their work. Be sure to get any guarantees or warranty information in writing.
At the end of the day, it’s important to select an experienced design and construction company for your project. New construction, a major renovation, or any other expansion will be challenging in and of itself. Having a reliable, trustworthy, experienced partner will help you reduce your overall downtime, control your expenses, operate within established workflows, and generate the best, most creative solutions for your needs.
For more information, contact Kroeschell, a full-scale general contracting, building maintenance, and operations leader with an eye on the future.