When Should You Engage a General Contractor?

When you’re in the early stages of a commercial development project, you know that at some point you’re going to need a general contractor. The question is, at what stage should you hire one?

You might think that waiting until later in the project will save you money and give you a chance to oversee your project first-hand. But commercial builds are filled with unexpected pitfalls. Think about the problems you could run into if you don’t have a good general contractor to walk you through the construction minefield. You’ll probably conclude that the best answer to that question is, “the sooner the better.”

Single Contact Point

Hiring a general contractor means hiring one person to keep you updated on the project’s process. It also means one person who will take accountability for any problems or delays that occur during the building phase. Instead of spending your days calling suppliers, looking for workers or wondering about the budget, you’ll have one person you can ask about all those details.

A general contractor is answerable to you at every step of the build, and your final payment is contingent on the job being completed properly. This gives you leverage and gives the contractor an incentive to keep you fully informed.

Contracting and Subcontracting

Being your own contractor means hiring a team of subcontractors for every aspect of the build: the foundation, electrical wiring, drywall, paint, flooring, plumbing, roofing, HVAC systems and more. You’ll have to stop whatever you’re doing to find, hire and oversee a crew for each part of the job. Are you qualified to do that? Do you even have the time to do it?

A good general contractor will have teams of employees and subcontractors on call who are reliable, experienced and skilled. The general contractor will handle the hiring, firing, and scheduling of all work crews. Since most good contractors stay busy, the earlier you can get those teams on your project, the better.

Safety First

Dealing with construction means dealing with electrical wiring, heating and plumbing systems, natural gas lines, roof heights and other dangerous situations. An experienced general contractor is well aware of these dangers and well-versed in minimizing them. This is especially important when you’re dealing with an older building.

There’s another aspect to safety, namely, your liability. What will you do if a worker gets hurt on your job site? A general contractor will have workers’ compensation for all employees and subcontractors.

Knowledge of Codes and Regulations

One of the most complicated elements of a commercial build is dealing with local codes and regulations. They can be a headache to deal with, often requiring reams of paperwork, payment of fees and procuring of special licenses.

Are you familiar with your state’s codes and regulations? Do you know what permits you need to pull to start a build or remodel? If you’re working on an old building, does the local historical society have a say in its rehabilitation? Environmental codes and regulations are changing rapidly and a commercial developer needs to stay on top of all of them. A general contractor has experience and knowledge in all these areas.

Your Time is Money

A general contractor can save you money in a number of ways. Usually, contractors have solid, longstanding relationships with suppliers and subcontractors and can leverage those relationships to get lower prices on materials, labor, and supplies. A general contractor will know when to save, when to spend, and how to be efficient without cutting corners.

Meanwhile, you can spend your time doing things that are more productive for your business.

Finding the Right Partner

If you’re planning a commercial development build or remodel, the right general contractor can be a true partner in your business. A good general contractor understands your vision for your business. The right contractor will bring your project to life, on time and on a budget, and operate on the basis of honesty, integrity and a commitment to your goals.

If you’re in the market for that kind of general contractor, call CaseCo and discover what sets us apart.