When your latest construction project is ready to move from the “drawing board” to the real world, there is a lot that has to be done. Many firms might tell you that they can provide construction management services, but not every firm has the right knowledge and skills to ensure that every detail of the project is covered, the contractors and subcontractors are interpreting the plans the right way, and it’s completed on time and on budget. Before hiring just any construction management company, ask these questions.
What kind of experience do you have with these types of projects?
Every commercial structure is different, and just because you have consulted on one project doesn’t mean you can do any commercial building. Before you hire, check the management company’s portfolio to make sure they have worked on projects similar in size and scope to the one you are planning and have the necessary qualifications to make yours a success.
Who will be working on our construction project?
If your construction manager is bringing in a “team” of people to your initial meetings who are not the actual people that will be working on the project, this might be a red flag. Management companies should be proud to introduce the team that you will be in direct contact with, showcasing their expertise and experience. What you don’t want is to meet a team of seemingly competent professionals and hire the company only to find out that the actual team you’re working with are far less professional and less competent.
What do you handle, and what do you expect us to handle?
The job description of a “construction management company” can be different depending on whom you talk to, so make sure that your expectations are in line with what they are offering from the very beginning. That way when something does come up (and in complex, multi faceted construction projects something will always come up), you have a clear process outlined for how it will be handled.
How do you manage schedules?
Perhaps the biggest complaint after a commercial construction project is that it was not completed in time. Your construction manager is in charge of scheduling and sequencing everything so it happens as quickly as possible and you can get your building done sooner. When you ask this question, make sure they give you a precise and specific answer and show examples of how they create and oversee scheduling.
What about cost controls?
Part of the job of a construction manager is to ensure that you get what you want, and that the builders and subcontractors keep everything in budget. If there are cost overruns—sometimes it happens and it can be out of your control—make sure you have an outline of the process for approval before anyone moves forward.
Construction managers can be a valuable addition to your team, and have the experience and expertise to keep everything running smoothly. Just make sure you hire the right one by asking the right questions in advance.