Why hire a builder or general contractor? Being in the commercial construction industry, most of our clients are fairly experienced and knowledgeable on the steps and processes in construction. In fact, several of our clients are professional developers and were previously in the construction trades either as a general contractor or specialty trade and familiar with the design-bid-build delivery method.
However, fewer of our clients are fully acquainted with the advantages of design-build construction. So why would semi-experienced owners need to hire commercial building contractors?
Here are the the Top 3 reasons to hire commercial building contractors:
No. 1 — Network of contacts
Almost all commercial building contractors have a vast network of contacts, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers they continually work with on a day-to-day basis. As a result, building contractors have the ability to procure services and products more efficiently.
Logically if a builder calls his framing crew to begin a project in a week, they would have better success than an owner who only hires a framing crew two to three times year. It all comes down to relationships and leverage.
No. 2 — Project management
Whether it is for construction of a new parking lot, erection of a new building, or performing a tenant finish project, project management is paramount for its success. Building contractors are more versed and experienced in the complexities of construction project management. This includes what I feel is the most important part of project management – critical path.
My definition of critical path is identifying a task or activity that will impact the success of a succeeding task or activity. An example is how making the selection of tile for a restroom will affect the ship date, delivery and install of grouting, restroom accessories and plumbing fixtures. Consequently, the selection of the color of the tile can affect numerous subsequent tasks.
No. 3 — Construction costs
Owners may have average or generalized construction data. They may use RS Means or other national cost databases to derive overall construction costs. However, most of the time those average costs are inaccurate. Construction costs vary based on the regions of the country, readiness of the subcontractor and availability of products.
A project in urban Kansas City will have more access to resources and thus costs will sometimes be lower. If a project is located in a rural setting, competition may be less and as a result, the costs may be higher.
Most importantly, commercial building contractors typically have access to better pricing than the average client and owner. A builder should be able to buy paint at a lower cost than someone on the street. A plumber typically offers better pricing to a repeat building contractor customer than someone hiring them once a year.
Commercial building contractors offer these three distinct advantages in assisting owners with their construction projects—network of resources, knowledgeable project management and lower costs. Most importantly, the owner doesn’t have to coordinate the multitude of vendors, suppliers, subcontractors, architects, engineers and inspectors while overseeing the financial and safety concerns for the venture.
Scott Hamele, DBIA, is president and founder of Construction DesignWorks LLC and Nationwide Commercial Inspections LLC.