Gary Thomas

Commercial Construction

8 Things to Ask a Reference when Selecting a Commercial Construction Company

Are you looking to hire a commercial contractor to build your dream office, restaurant or retail space? It can be difficult to identify a contractor you can trust. There are a lot of steps involved with pulling off the perfect construction project so you need to be sure you are hiring an organized and reliable business that can get the job done RIGHT. The best place to start when dealing with a commercial contractor is to obtain a list of past clients and references that can be contacted. There is no better way to get the scoop on a contractor then speaking directly with clients that have been through the process with them before.

We’ve come up with a short list of questions that you should ask references when making your final decisions on a commercial contractor.

  1. History of Completing the Project in a Timely Manner- Does this company have a history of completing projects on time? In the end, more time = more money and resources. It is essential for your wallet and sanity to hit deadlines. Ask references about their experience with deadlines. Were timelines realistic? Were deadlines met?
  1. How did they handle challenges? There are often unforeseen circumstances that arise when dealing with a construction project. How did the company handle these challenges? How did they communicate? Were they diligent about solving them?
  1. Quality of Construction– When checking references, make sure to find out if the customers were happy with the end product. Was the quality of materials and workmanship what the customer expected? Do they feel the project came out as they had envisioned?
  1. Budget – Did the contractor stay on budget? Were the budget parameters realistic at the start or did he lowball the bid to get the project? When checking references, ask the client if the contractor stayed within the allocated budget. If not, why?
  1. Subcontractors – Another key question to ask references is about subcontractors. It is important to know that if subcontractors were used, did the contractor make sure that each subcontractor showed up on time and did their job effectively. Former customers will know which pieces of a project slipped due to subcontractors.  Which parts suffered? Can you hire someone to perform this task separately? Subcontractors can be great, IF they are managed correctly.  They are experts in their craft and are hired to focus on what they do best.
  1. Professionalism – Ask the references if the supervisor, managers and crews all behaved professionally throughout the construction process. At the end of the day your name is going to be on the building and you need to make sure that the crew hired treats you and everyone around with respect and professionalism.
  1. Communication – There will always be challenges during a construction project. It’s how those challenges are handled that really defines the type of contractor you want to hire. Ask if the company was quick to identify design issues. Did they communicate that information quickly? Were they quick to correct those challenges along the way? How did they communicate the challenges and resolutions? Phone, email, in person? Was there a point of contact to bring any questions to during the process?
  1. Would you hire them again? With anything it all comes down to whether you would do it all over again. Clients that are willing to go through the stress and challenges of a construction project AGAIN with a company, speaks volumes! You want to do business with contractors that can retain clients and keeping them coming back for more.

Taking the time to ask good questions to former clients may be the difference between a successful project or not. With anything, good planning and communication are key. Setting realistic expectations and communication parameters are key to making your project successful. If you can work out the details in advance, it is more likely that everyone will be satisfied with the end results.  Consider Northpoint Construction for your next commercial construction projects. We’d be happy to provide a list of past customers so that you can see for yourself how we operate. Set up a consultation today!