When searching for a commercial general contractor in Pennsylvania, it’s wise to schedule interviews with the contractors you’re considering. Let’s assume the information on the website is correct and each general contractor who wants your business is as awesome as they say they are. Asking a few pertinent questions can provide you with invaluable insight. What questions should you ask?
1. How Long Have You Been in Business?
While enthusiasm is great, the experience is often better. An established Pennsylvania commercial contractor will have a successful track record that inspires confidence in their ability to get the job done properly. With each year a commercial general contractor is in business, they will establish relationships with other professionals in the community, and a good understanding of all the relevant rules and regulations that might impact your project.
2. Are You Licensed, Bonded and Insured?
If the answer to this question is no, walk away. Even though the state of Pennsylvania does not require commercial contractors to be licensed, it’s still a good idea. As far as the bond and insurance, commercial contractors who are properly bonded and insured have coverage that protects their company, their employees and you if something goes wrong. Without this coverage, you may be liable if someone working on the property is injured or find yourself stuck with the bill for property damage that occurs during construction.
3. Do You Have Experience With Projects Like Mine?
Facilities intended for different industries often have industry-specific requirements. Ideally, you want a commercial PA general contractor who has experience working on projects that are similar in size, scope and design to yours. Ask for specific examples of completed projects that were similar to what you’re planning. Drive by the finished product if you can or ask for references.
4. What Types of Construction Services Do You Offer?
Some commercial general contractors only tackle the actual construction. Others can handle both the design and the construction of a project. Some go a step further and offer construction management services, which means that they deal with everything from preplanning, design and construction to engineering and project management. Understanding what services a commercial general contractor can provide and how they might benefit you allows you to make the best choice for your project.
5. Who Will Be My Main Contact?
If you have questions or concerns, you don’t want to waste time tracking down the person in charge. Ask who will be in charge of your project. If it’s someone other than the person you’re speaking with, inquire about meeting them. Talking to this person will give you a sense of the potential working relationship that you’d have with them. What are their qualifications? Do they seem reliable, open and honest? Can you communicate effectively with them? Will they be spending a good amount of time on the project site? What will be their method of communication? Depending on the size of the project, you will be communicating with this project manager for quite some time. Be sure that your communication styles and personalities are compatible.
Additional Reading: Why It’s Important To Build a Relationship with Your General Contractor
6. What Changes or Problems Could Impact My Project?
In a perfect world, everything would go as planned. In the real world, stuff happens, so it makes sense to be aware of the possibilities so that you can prepare for them. What problems might arise? Discuss these options with your contractor. How might they impact the timing and cost of the project? Contingency plans are quite normal when discussing how to complete a project. Depending on the time of the year, materials and weather might be an issue.
Additional Reading: Wants vs. Needs in New Commercial Construction
7. What Sets Your Company Apart From Other Commercial Construction Companies? This question gives the commercial construction contractor an opportunity to shine. You also gain some insight into the contractor, their viewpoint and their priorities. It may also raise issues that you hadn’t considered, which can be incredibly helpful.
Additional Reading: Best Practices for Commercial Construction Projects
CBF Contracting, Inc. is a Pennsylvania construction company outside the Pittsburgh area offering services such as a commercial general contractor and design-build services. We service clients throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Let our experience, skills and resources make your next commercial construction project a success. Contact us today at 814-745-3000 to explore our services or request a quote.