In the first part of this three part blog, we discussed that a general contractor should be brought onto a job earlier rather than later. We discussed how being a good GC means that in order for a project to be successful, it should be completed on time and on budget. In order to do this, it needs to know its place as simply another team member who needs to work well with everyone involved to achieve these preconceived goals. So, what exactly is the benefit of bringing on the GC so early in the project? What can a good one help do that you yourself wouldn’t be able to, or even think of doing?
Well, there is actually a good amount of things a good contractor can assist a client with, but let’s just go through a few of the major ones. First, a good GC will be well connected in the industry. They would have a lot of reliable contacts that they can pick up the phone and call to get quotes and pricing regarding different facets of the project, so it takes out a lot of the guess work and research that needs to be done about different companies and services on the client’s part. Also, these companies would most likely have worked with the contractor before, so a strong working relationship can be beneficial to everyone. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a company prior to working with them can give them a good indication of how the project will run, and therefore be able to properly prepare the timeline and budget accordingly.
Further, the pre-construction planning, construction, and close-out process is something that GCs deal with on a daily basis. This is their job, and as such, should come as almost second nature to them. While it’s impossible to use one set outline to run each project, a general guideline of steps that must be taken can be stratified from each process. Therefore, each project is an experience and a good GC will learn many different things from each experience as they happen. For example, many clients have requested the employment of green services in order to help cut certain costs on utilities and energy. By simply retrofitting certain appliances, fixtures, and hardware, you can save a great deal of money in the long-term. The key, however, is knowing how to do it correctly. An experienced and trained GC will know how to do this, or at least know who to talk to in order to get the job done right.
Further, depending on the project that must be completed, there may be permits that must be pulled from the local government. Unless you know exactly the work that needs to be done, you most likely won’t know which kinds of permits need to be applied for and purchased, if any at all. Also, the lead time on permit approval can be weeks or even months (for example, getting permits in some larger cities can take longer). Further, general contractors can save you money in the long run. Cicero’s Development employs a method called Renovationomix, which utilizes systems such as cost segregation. The Cost Segregation Initiative works by bringing in a tax analyst to the project in order delve deeper into the assets of a building and utilize tax benefits that can be extrapolated from factors such as the age of the building, what it is made of, what materials and skills are going to—and should—be used in the project, and much, much more. Further, Cicero’s uses the Disruption Avoidance Management (DAM) system to minimize the impact on owner’s revenue through the inconvenience of current and potential clients, by taking into account peak hours and meeting with management regularly to construct a weekly timeline. Renovationomix also includes a Surprise Management Program, $ensible Green, and the Renovation Roadmap, all of which can be researched further by referring to the navigation bar at the top of this page.
Also, Employing a General Contractor early on in a project, and utilizing them for all the services they can provide will make for a very successful and seamless project. What is even more beneficial is if you can find a contractor with a good reputation who also has in house designers and/or architects. Therefore, if you have few to no plans, and still need shop drawings or other services in the early stages of the pre-construction process you can seek out the seamless assistance of these services that will flow directly into the general contractor’s duties.