While the majority of the hard work, labor, and responsibility that goes into a commercial construction job is left to the general contractor, there is one key player that should never be forgotten: the building owner. The building owner has a set of responsibilities all their own that help contribute to a successful project and the building owner has more at stake in the project than anyone else.
In the beginning, before the foundation is even laid, a building owner must determine the scope of the project including the purpose of the building, the site, the size, and the budget. A building owner is the main decision maker. They will meet with an architect and make decision after decision based on their needs and how much they are willing to spend. The general contractor, the architect, and the subcontractors won’t know what to do if these decisions aren’t made correctly in the beginning.
It is important that a building owner listens to the expertise of the architect during this time while at the same time giving valuable feedback so the architect can do their job right.
Once the building is designed, a building owner must find a reputable general contractor to lead the project. This can be a tricky process but these questions to ask prospective contractors might be of help.
Next, a building owner will need to sign a contract with the general contractor. A good commercial construction contract will include the scope of the project, cost, start and completion dates, and how change orders will be addressed. Speaking of change orders, during a large scale construction project, it is inevitable that some things will change and there needs to be a process in place to handle this.
When change orders do occur, all parties need to sign off on them in writing, whether these changes are big or small. All changes affect the bottom line and will have a great effect on the owner’s budget.
During the construction project, a building owner should be available to discuss issues with the general contractor so things can run smoothly and the project can finish on time. Here are some tips for maintaining a good relationship with a general contractor. It’s a good idea to meet regularly, in person and at the job site if possible.
If these tips are followed, a construction process has a much higher chance of success without the headaches.