For the most part, a commercial construction firm’s job is pretty straightforward. But because we have such a broad range of expertise and the know-how to weigh in or provide services for so many aspects of the construction process, there are times our clients don’t even realize they could and should be calling us for assistance. Here are three examples of when you should reach out to your commercial construction general contractor.
Before You Select A Site
Often a commercial general contractor isn’t tapped for a project until the specific site is already locked in. But by not calling in their construction partner earlier in the process, clients miss out on the opportunity to get valuable input from their GC on the pros and cons of different locations. Whether the client is looking at a vacant site for new-construction or a second- or third-generation space that will be repurposed, a GC is a great resource to bring along on site visits to examine existing conditions at locations under consideration.
In the case of an existing property, this exercise could include anything from identifying infrastructure that can be reused for cost savings, to spotting potential structural concerns or issues that might involve costly remediation – both of which could have big impact on a construction budget and schedule. For ground-up projects, a GC can visit the site to look beyond what is shown on the plat of survey – including surroundings that will need to be considered in construction logistics. For example, if the property has a zero-lot-line, or if it is part of a commercial strip next to a residential area, that will impact everything from deliveries to scheduling – all of which will factor into planning and overall cost.
If You Need Rough Budgeting Across Multiple Cities
A few years back, we had an initial meeting with a potential retail client that wanted rough budgeting for a new store concept they planned to roll out in multiple cities, including Chicago. Our first question to them was “which cities do you want pricing for?” They were surprised because they assumed we could only give them a budget for Chicago, our local market. We explained to the client that as a national contractor that manages projects across the country, we have a wealth of historical pricing data we can use to create market-specific order of magnitude budgets – top-level rough estimates of costs that are typically used to determine a project’s feasibility in the early planning stages.
For this client, we were actually able to look at our data for their target cities and come up with a multiplier to help them estimate their approximate cost per square foot by location. This type of exercise – and the historical data a national contractor has access too – doesn’t get into nitty gritty details like exact pricing for a specific tile, but it is extremely helpful for any construction client that will be replicating the same concept in multiple markets and wants a rough idea of costs early-on.
When Facility Maintenance Is Required
Many clients assume their relationship with their commercial constructor will end at the completion of the project. But we have found that a natural way to extend that relationship is through our Facilities Management group, which provides preventative, planned and emergency maintenance services.
It’s not typical for a commercial contractor to also be a facility maintenance provider, so our clients don’t always think to call us for these needs. But the reality is it makes all the sense in the world for the company that originally built a space to be the one that maintains it. Not only do we have inside knowledge of the building or space in question and access to its most recent plans, but we also know all the subcontractors and manufacturers used for different building systems that require upkeep.
Likewise, for those issues that seem like a maintenance concern at first glance but may actually be pointing to a larger problem, we bring a contractor’s problem-solving know-how and construction expertise to the situation. And finally, many of our construction-clients-turned-maintenance-clients simply appreciate the ease of having a single trusted company to call for any facility needs, whether it’s standard HVAC maintenance, an emergency repair stemming from severe weather, or a renovation of the space.
The bottom line is a commercial construction firm can be a valuable resource and a wealth of knowledge before, during and after a project’s construction. So, if you’re ever wondering if your GC might be able to help or provide advice with any construction-related question or problem, just pick up the phone – it never hurts to ask.