What We Look for in a General Contractor (Part 01)

As designers both our residential and commercial clients often seek our advice when a project enters the construction bidding phase.  
1) We review bids to ensure the full scope of work is represented in the proposal
2) We review the qualifications of General Contractors
3) Answer contractor’s questions during the bidding phase

We sat down as a team and reviewed the key information we look at, as designers, before recommending a General Contractor to one of clients. Here’s our list:

Check the GC’s previous work for projects of similar size and scale. General contracting requires excellent management, communication and organizational skills. These fundamentals are not easily scaled up without the proper experience or training. For example, a contractor who has only installed kitchens may not have the skills needed to build an addition to a home. The work for the latter carries more risk; requires more coordination between the subcontractors; involves structural work such as roof and and foundation that affect life safety; and demands and a more thorough understanding of trade sequencing and scheduling.

Request References and check them. We call the references of prospective GCs. Talking to a satisfied customer allows you to ask important questions about the his/her previous work and gives you insight into how effective they were in resolving problems. Every project encounters setbacks; the key is how the contractor handled the issue.

Visit Completed Projects. We prefer to visit the previous work of GCs. There is no substitute for seeing the completed project. By doing so you get to evaluate whether the project “withstood the test of time.” Craftsmanship and attention to detail are on full display if you have an opportunity to see the finished product. Naturally, when we are invited to see a completed work we expect the project to reflect the best of the contractor’s abilities. 


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