One of the questions we get a lot at Propel Studio, whether for a large project or small project, is “Who should we hire to build our project?” It is an important question and an vital decision to get a high-quality end result.
Our team likes it when our clients ask us to recommend a contractor for their project because we understand how important a good relationship between the design and construction team is. We always have a recommendation at the ready for a wide variety of project types to help find the right fit for each unique situation. We find it is important to find contractors with experience and expertise in the project type we are designing.
The most common follow up question after the recommendation is: “Why do you recommend them?” We always recommend someone we know we can have a good working relationship with. Open communication and trust are the most important things to consider when selecting a team to construct your project.
That’s usually the factor that determines whether or not a construction project follows a smooth process and has a positive outcome. Because of this, we’ll always suggest that you ask your architect first when you start looking for a contractor. Find out who they’d recommend, who they have worked with before - and who would have the experience needed to deliver a great result - while working well with the owner and architect along the way.
Our recommended process is for you to bring your architect and contractor together at the beginning of the project. The contractor can be a great resource for the design team as we work through concepts, layouts, details and other important design decisions. This strategy can help set workable budgets and even expedite portions of the design process. This also allows the contractor to build an intimate knowledge of the design before construction begins which can prevent errors or missed information.
As with every important decision, we recommend you reach out to a few contractors and interview them to understand how they work and to get different perspectives on how they would approach the project. During this process ask for the contact information from previous clients so you can hear first hand, what it is like to work with them and how they manage the job site and communicate with the owner and design team. Also visit their website and social media pages to get a sense of their work style, quality and values.
If you are struggling to find a contractor that is right for your project, you can always reach out to friends, neighbors, community groups or your architect for additional recommendations. It’s possible that none of the people that fall into these categories are experts in the design and construction fields, but word-of-mouth is powerful and incredibly valuable.
What do you do once you’ve assembled a list of potential contractors? What are you looking for in order to narrow that list down?
Talk to the contractors you’re considering. Ask them direct questions like:
- Who are a few past clients I can talk to?
- Have you worked with architects before?
- What types of projects do you like to work on the most?
- Are there any projects you have recently completed that I can visit?
When you follow up with their past clients, ask them:
- What type of project did they build for you?
- Did you enjoy the process?
- Would you hire them / work with them again?
- Was the construction on budget?
- Was the construction on schedule?
- How did they contractor communicate with the project team?
- Were there any issues along the way? And did the contractor do a good job at responding to and addressing any concerns?
- Did they keep your project site clean, organized and safe?
- Were they reliable?
The answers to these questions should help you narrow your list down and ultimately decide who to hire. However, we recommend you take your time and make sure you are comfortable with them. Construction can take a long time and it is important that you trust and have a great working relationship with the Contractor you hire.
It’s probably obvious by now, that this is a question that we really care about and believe is important for our clients. We care about it because a good project team (your architect, your contractor, and other consultants involved) is the key to a successful project.
A good project team will anticipate and head off issues that may come up during the process.
A good project team will work well together and be responsible to each other.
A good project team will make your life easier and the process more enjoyable for you … and to us.
A good project team will have open communication, be transparent on how decisions are made, and be honest when inevitable issues arise.
If you’re wondering who you should hire to build your project, give us a call. We’d love to talk and make a recommendation. We’d love to help you assemble a great project team that is tailored to your specific needs.