Top 5 Qualification Questions to Ask Your General Contractor
So you have a great construction project ready to get out of the ground, investors are on board, location is primed, and now your next step; hiring the General Contractor (GC). How do you know which GC is the right fit for your project? There are several factors to consider.
Let’s start with these top 5 qualification questions to ask the GC or better yet to include in your Request for Qualifications.
Experience is a no brainer, you want a GC that has performed the same kind of work multiple times. No need to re-invent the wheel. If the company is a well-oiled machine it will be reflected in the projects they have completed. Their completed projects will showcase their skills. Align the skills of the GC with the work that needs to be completed and you have your first box checked.
2. Means and Resources
Does the GC have the relationships in place for the performance? Do the local subcontractors work well with the GC? Do they have a large pool of subs to pull from? Do they work well with the permitting agencies? Are they capable of self-performing any of the work involved on the project? Are they financially stable? What is their bonding capability? A successful project depends on a lot of moving parts; make sure they have the proper systems and people in place to achieve results.
3. Value Engineering (VE)
A good GC will improve the value of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. A great GC will know how to deliver this VE to the architects and engineers in a way that keeps everyone on good terms. The GC can offer clients a different perspective from a construction standpoint because their vantage is from constructing things, over and over again. If a GC can bring specific recommendations to the table on how to construct something differently that is more effective for the project and will save a considerable amount of money, then they are doing their due diligence for the client.
Asking for references from the GC’s previous project owners and the subcontractors that work directly with the GC on projects is perfectly reasonable. However, if there is dirty laundry aired, it is also appropriate to get both sides of the story. A minor issue can fester and become a big deal over time. When money is involved everyone likes to point a finger, but no one likes to admit when they are wrong. We all have heard that saying never “assume”…Which is why number 5 is so important.
Every business operates differently and every human communicates in their own way. Making sure the GC can communication will keep projects on time and on budget. The GC is there to be the leader of the project with the amount of moving parts, products, paperwork, and people in a project pipeline; you should never underestimate the value of effective communication.