How to Choose a General Contractor for Your Next Project
You may already have a vision for your next commercial construction project. But before you can start sourcing materials, laying out the plans, or finalizing your budget, you need to select the appropriate contractor.
What makes a general commercial construction contractor worth engaging? And how should you go about choosing the best one for your next project? Keep reading to find out.
What Commercial General Contractors Do
General construction contractors are responsible for managing the entirety of your construction project. They facilitate communication, coordinate logistics, and help you achieve your goals in all the following areas:
- Design and planning: The pre-construction process is just as critical as the construction stage. Your general contractor will help you finalize your designs, make plans, and set timelines, among other services.
- Construction site preparation: Your contractor will help you prepare the construction site and secure any permits the project will require.
- Material sourcing: Your construction project would be much more challenging if you were responsible for sourcing all of the materials yourself. Commercial general contractors accept responsibility for choosing the right materials, sourcing them appropriately, and staying under budget.
- Equipment management: Excavators, cranes, and other equipment will likely be necessary to complete your project. Your general contractor will source these so they’re available when needed.
- Vendor, contractor, and subcontractor management: General contractors are also responsible for finding vendors, contractors, and subcontractors for the job. They oversee these people to make sure the work is done correctly.
- General oversight: General contractors perform general oversight for your entire construction project. They can keep the project within your allotted timeline and budget, adhere to regulations and codes, and report on progress.
Design-build construction is revolutionizing the way projects are completed.
How to Choose a General Contractor
How do you choose a general contractor that best suits your needs? These are some of the most crucial things to weigh:
- Location and area of coverage: First, verify the location of the contractor and their area of coverage. Most general construction contractors are willing to take on projects within a wide radius, but there are clear benefits to working with someone local. Local contractors are more likely to be fully aware of applicable laws and regulations. If a contractor isn’t available in your desired area, you should probably rule them out immediately.
- Licensing and insurance: Most construction jobs require licenses and permits. You should only work with general contractors who have the necessary paperwork to complete your project legitimately. You should also check the insurance of the prospective contractor; if something goes wrong on the jobsite, how would it be covered?
- Areas of specialty: Does the contractor you’re considering have specific areas they specialize in? You’ll want to consider factors like building materials, construction types, and commercial applications. For example, does this contractor have experience with prefabricated steel? Do they have experience building auto garages or manufacturing facilities? The more closely aligned with your project needs, the better.
- Previous work experience: Which projects has this general contractor handled in the past? How long have they been in business? Do they have a portfolio of buildings and construction projects they’ve completed recently? Past work is one of your best indications of quality work; a good commercial contractor will be more than happy to show off their projects. You might even get an opportunity to talk to the owners of those buildings and see whether they’re satisfied with the results.
- Ratings, reviews, and referrals: Similarly, you should pay close attention to ratings and reviews. How do people feel about working with this contractor? Are there any complaints or points of praise that come up repeatedly? Can anyone you know confidently recommend this general contractor?
- Initial communications: Pay close attention to how your initial communications unfold. Is it easy to get in touch with this firm? Do they readily answer all of your questions? Do they seem easy to get along with? You’ll be communicating frequently throughout the job, so it’s vital to set a good standard up front.
- Availability and timeline: Can they begin and/or finish work according to your timeline and needs? If you need a commercial building completed by the end of next year, does this general contractor feel confident about hitting that target? This is an easy way to rule out some prospects.
- Costs: Finally, you’ll need to look seriously at costs. Two general contractors might be equally capable of creating the building you envision in the timeline you’ve allotted, but they may have very different pricing. Always compare your quotes as apples to apples, because pricing discrepancies could be attributable to subtle differences, like slightly different raw materials for the project.
Additionally, when choosing a general contractor you should:
- Educate yourself: If you’re completely new to commercial construction or unfamiliar with how general contractors operate, you’ll be at a disadvantage when shopping for a service provider. You should take the time to educate yourself about the commercial contracting arena and how your project might progress.
- Get multiple bids: It’s a smart idea to obtain multiple bids from general contractors in your region. Then, you can compare services and select the package that makes the most sense to you.
- Meet the whole team: If you can, try to meet the entire team, including the subcontractors who will work on your project. This will give you a better feel for how the construction process might transpire.
Commercial General Contractors in Denver, Colorado
Looking for general commercial contractors near you? Calahan Construction Services is available for your next project in or near Denver, Colorado. If you want to learn more about what we do or you’re ready to talk about your commercial construction project, contact us today!